A-Z Guide on Writing a Breathtaking Graduation Speech

A graduation speech is delivered with the intent to honour past successes and failures, as well as future hopes. The style of this type of speech should be brief and entertaining. 

A graduation speech or a graduation address is delivered by a graduating student from high school, college or university. A student speaker may talk in place of or in cooperation with a prominent outside figure. Student commencement speakers are frequently valedictorians or are otherwise elected to represent the student body by their peers.

It is quite a difficult job to speak confidently in front of a large crowd, especially on such an important event, like graduation day. However, if you want to become an effective speaker in from of your peers, you have selected the right article. So, READ ON. 

Major constituents of a graduation speech

The primary components of crafting an effective graduation speech are to express gratitude for the opportunities and successes received, as well as future expectations. 

1. Time 

Make sure that the speech stays on schedule. It should not exceed the set time duration which could cause boredom and exasperation amongst the audience.

“Be truthful, be brief, be seated”

Franklin D. Roosevelt
time in a graduation speech

2. Short and sweet

Avoid boring your audience by giving a lengthy and monotonous speech. It should be to the point and contain relevant incidents. 

“Always be shorter than anyone dared to hope!”

Lord Reading

3. Memories

A graduation speech should be a blend of laughter, tears and triumphs. 

4. Achievements

Highlight your achievements while also jokingly mentioning your failures. 

Include achievements in a graduation speech

5. Reflection

Consider current events which provide an opportunity to express your serious viewpoints to an adult. 

6. The Aftermath

Acquired abilities and skills that will help you succeed in the future. 

What to say in a graduation speech?

A graduation speech has a standard outline that a speaker must follow to become an effective orator in front of their peers and teachers. It is not necessary to adhere to all the steps, however, the speaker could modify the outline as per his or her style. 

1. Start by expressing gratitude

When you are invited to the podium for delivering your speech, always remember to commence it by giving a note of gratitude to the previous speaker who introduced you, for the introduction as well as for the work they perform at the school or university. 

2. Make an introduction 

Do not take it for granted that everyone in the audience knows you. Hence, it is significant to introduce yourself briefly to the audience and inform them of the purpose of you giving the speech. However, usually, the host or the anchor introduces you before inviting you to speak. In this case, you can ignore introducing yourself again.

make an introduction

3. Remember the beautiful memories

The whole purpose of a graduation speech is to recall and reminisce the memories which you have created in your school or university days. Hence, you should create an atmosphere that forces your peers to remember the good times they have spent with each other and they cherish them forever.

For example,

  • Memorable event in which you all participated together
  • Your discussions about the teachers who supported you
  • The mischievous actions and punishments during your time in the institution
  • Your actions to fulfil your ambitions
  • The joyful and sorrowful moments with your friends

4. Encourage your peers to action

Inspire your classmates to take action as well as encourage them by sharing your experiences to step up and go change the world. Demonstrate how, as a result, it relates to your class’s educational experiences. This will make a chance of creating a strong bond between you and your peers and make them enthusiastic about the future. You should also tell your peers that they have the skills and abilities that are required to be successful in the future with an optimistic tone. 

Reminiscing memories

5. End the speech

The last important aspect of a graduation speech is to thank the audience for their valuable time. On the other hand, in the end, you should also thank your classmates or peers for the wonderful memories you had created with them. 

Go through this article for more useful insights: Your guide to writing the perfect valedictorian speech with sample speech

How to start a graduating speech?

The opening statement of your graduation speech offers the audience a decent indication of the whole content of your speech. Consequently, it is significant to choose a memorable opening for your speech which could be useful in conveying your message. Some beneficial and effective ways to start your graduating speech are:

1. Ask rhetorical questions

A rhetorical question is a figure of speech or literary device which is posed to create an emphasis or potency without anticipating a response or answer. Though, it is sometimes possible for the questioner to state the answer immediately. Moreover, t is used to convince the audience and determine the way they perceive a particular subject.

For example, 

  • What if I didn’t like high school or college?
  • Where would life take me?
  • What kind of person would I be in 5, 10, or 15 years?

2. Begin with a story

As I have stated, any speech should include stories and experiences. Furthermore, it is a better way to incorporate them into your speech right at the start. Stories will hook your audience from the start, increasing the likelihood that they will stay with you until the finish.

For instance, in Grade 12, one of my classmates pranked me by connecting my computer to the projector…

Several other examples include:

  • Describe a strong relationship
  • Narrate a lousy experience
  • Talk about the notorious activities

3. Make Use Of Objects

Another excellent technique to begin your speech is by using certain objects or props. They are alluring, and when used appropriately, they can tell your audience a whole tale. However, one thing to bear in mind when employing props is that they must be related to the issue at hand. Do not merely use a prop because it is present but not required.

Several examples of props are:

  • A yearbook from school or college
  • Photographs
  • An account of a well-known school incident
  • A meal to remember

Read this article for more useful insights: 10 of the best things to say in opening remarks

How to end a graduating speech?

As your closing words have a lasting impact, hence, you must leave an impression on the audience. The conclusion of your speech is your last chance to restate the main point, excite the audience, encourage a group to act, shift someone’s perspective, or leave a lasting impression.

The audience tends to remember what a speaker just said due to the “Recency effect” in learning. As a result, the ending of your speech makes the audience aware that it is approaching the end, aiding them in recalling the main elements of the entire issue. 

1. Restate the central idea

To begin with, it is important to restate the major point of your speech at the starting of your conclusion. You should make it unique and interesting for the listeners. Moreover, you do not give them the impression that you’re just doing it again.

2. Encapsulate the points

In the conclusion, it is always a good idea to summarise the main points. Instead of simply repeating the points, you should explain to the audience how those points strengthened your assertion or statement. In addition, draw them all into an exceptional force to support your main idea.

significance of ideas

3. End by creating an impact

Your conclusion should be such that it makes the audience happy and contented as well as inquisitive to hear more. Consider ending on a captivating note when writing your conclusion. You might end your speech with a rhetorical question, a quotation or a noteworthy statement or phrase. Connecting your main point to a more detailed situation is another way to give your audience a good ending. Also, keep in mind that the last sentence of your speech requires extra effort.

Go through this article for more information: 10 of the best things to say in closing remarks

Themes for a graduation speech

Sometimes, it becomes an arduous job to select or choose a topic for the speech. Nevertheless, the following are a few ideas for a graduation speech which would help in attracting the audience and impressing them. 

1. Events of school/college

Investing several years in an institution creates a strong relationship between the student and the organisation. You can take this time to reflect on earlier events at school, such as a win over a competitor, a minor accident in one of the scientific laboratories, or a prank on a senior or junior. It will undoubtedly be a hit with the students.

2. Step up from unconventional methods

Break out from the standard format of a graduation speech. Attempt employing distinctive methods and metaphors in your speech, or experiment with spoken word poetry. Some other unconventional methods could also include singing a few lines, narrating a story, doing mimicry etc.

theme for a graduation speech

3. Storytelling

We are always open to hearing new and fascinating stories. What distinguishes your experience from others? What have you learned from it? You can convey it to the audience for their constant attention. 

4. Showing gratitude

Use the opportunity to give the graduation address to express your gratitude to your peers, friends, parents and teachers in the audience who helped and supported you and made your graduation possible.

5. Setting high goals

“If your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough”


Choosing this topic for your graduation speech is a good idea to keep reminding yourself of your goals and dreams as you prepare to enter a crucial new period of your life. Moreover, you can also discuss your inspiration for dreaming big, such as a teacher, a book you read, a movie you saw, or a life turning point.

Examples of graduation speeches

Some speeches are good however some are excellent. Let’s take a look at some of the excellent graduation speeches by students and also by some famous personalities at the graduation ceremonies.

1. Chase Dahl

Chase Dahl was the student speaker at the Weber High School graduation for the class of 2015. 

Takeaway – This speech is a perfect example of blending confidence, humour, and motivation in a graduation speech. Furthermore, the way of its delivery should be noted.

2. Henry Goddard

Henry Goddard delivered his valedictorian speech at the Prince Edward Collegiate Institute in 2010.

Takeaway – This speech summed up the speaker’s high school experiences in a great way using humour, wherever required, as well as ending it on an inspiring note.

3. Kyle Martin

Kyle Martin delivered his valedictorian speech at The King’s Academy in 2019.

Takeaway – This speech is an excellent example of organising your graduation speech around a key theme which makes it more enticing and eye-catching. In addition, it allows you to choose and organise your own speech.

How long should be the graduation speech?

A graduation speech ought to be concise so that they do not become monotonous and boring for the audience. Furthermore, it should cover only the relevant points related to the theme or subject matter with brief examples. 

A graduation speech delivered by a student, like a valedictorian, should not last more than 5 – 12 minutes. Consequently, the speech should contain 600 – 1450 words.

On the other hand, a graduation speech delivered by the principal or a guest, such as a famous personality, should not be of more than 15 – 20 minutes. Consequently, it should contain 1800 – 2400 words

length of a graduation speech

Sample Graduation Speech

​​My fellow graduates and friends, it is an honor to speak to all of you today. We’ve just been here for (number) years and it’s already time to depart. How did everything happen so quickly? Many individuals believe that today is the first day of our journey. I don’t agree. It all started a long time ago. Today happens to be the day when the road we’ve been on breaks into (number of students) different roads. Until now, we’ve been a team that has walked as one. We’ve done everything, and we’ve done everything together.

Many of us have been members of our school system since kindergarten, thirteen years ago, and I’d want to take us all back to (date). This was our first day of school and the start of our adventure. Parents and grandparents escorted us to the bus stop, where we took over a thousand photographs.

We are now at the point where four highways are merging into one, and four schools are merging into one. Middle School -­-­ I believe I can speak for all of us when I say that these were the most awkward three years of our lives. I’m sure every student had the same idea when we stepped into freshman orientation “Oh my goodness! Those lockers are monstrous!” In the end, we didn’t use them at all.

And now, we have arrived. Everyone should be proud of their accomplishments. These past few years have been nothing short of a triumph. However, it was not a simple task. Take a peek at the previous year. Because of a record-breaking snowstorm that made February break last forever, and not to mention Covid 19, I honestly didn’t believe we’d graduate this year. We’ve arrived. It was a success! Our guidance through high school was the tradition of adulthood.

As a result of our journey, we have arrived at today, (date). This is the point in our journey where we take a break to rest and reflect on everything we’ve accomplished. What we’ve accomplished together over the last few years is simply amazing. We stayed together and matured together, and I couldn’t have asked for a better class to be in. I believe in each and every one of you, that no matter which path you pick, you will make it your own and achieve your goals.

As I look out at all of you, I know I’ll be measuring my time here in a different way. I’ll gauge it by the friendships I’ve developed over the last four years. Some were casual, while others were more intimate, but I’ll remember them all warmly, as I’m sure you will. And as many of our high school memories fade, that’ll be how we’ll remember our time here, not in terms of periods, semesters, or years, but in terms of the friendships we formed and the moments we spent together.

Congratulations to my classmates from the class of (year). May we always be friends when we meet again, no matter where we go or what we do.

Final words

A graduation speech delivered by a student is only a one time opportunity. Hence, it is important to take this chance worthwhile and become an effective public speaker. Consequently, it is significant to deliver the graduation speech in such a way that it does not look monotonous and boring to the audience. Moreover, it should grab the audience’s attention and should be thought-provoking and inspirational. 

In addition, the selection of the speech topic should be done meticulously. It is the theme that either makes or breaks the impression of the speaker. Furthermore, a graduation speech should be a blend of humour and intellectuality in which past experiences and future hopes are discussed.

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