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How to Write a Graduation Speech: Quotations, Outline and Tips

Created: June 20th, 2017 (12:46)
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How to Write a Graduation Speech: Quotations, Outline and Tips

It is a great honor and responsibility to deliver an end of the year speech at a graduation ceremony. That is why you are most likely to go deep into searching for inspiring speech ideas. Naturally, a person who is chosen to speak in front of their peers, parents, and teachers would experience a mixture of feelings – excitement, thrill, agitation, doubt, anxiety, pride – you name it, it’s all there in a young graduate.

Any student hopes to create a powerful and lasting graduation speech wow effect on the audience. For this reason, you will browse through multiple how to speech ideas to simplify the writing process. No matter what you find online, you will still have to make it personal.

Since you will discover many sample motivational speeches and funny graduation speech ideas in your pursuit of perfection, you should make sure to keep the balance between jokes and serious stuff. Sad speeches are also not very popular on graduation day, so try not overwhelming your audience with heavy thoughts.

To brighten up your speech, it is always a good idea to use various sayings such as the end of school quotes, highschool quotes, and graduation quotes from parents. You will find some nice examples further in the article.

Despite the vast number of recipes for a perfect speech, many graduates keep making the same mistakes. To avoid stepping in the same shoes, read on and learn how to write a good motivational graduation speech.

Graduation Speech Outline

A clear and comprehensive outline is a guarantee of success. Having created an efficient point-by-point plan, you will be able to structure your graduation speech clearly and include all necessary ideas. As Heinrich Heine once said: “True eloquence consists in saying all that is necessary, and nothing but what is necessary.”

Like any other piece of writing, a speech should be well thought-out and neatly organized. Since only a thorough preparation brings fruitful results, you will have to create a list of things you want to discuss. The more detailed your outline is, the easier it will be to craft an eloquently impassioned speech.

To ensure you have enough time to proofread your draft and make necessary corrections, it is better not to extend the process of creating an outline. How long before your speech performance should you finish drafting your speech outline? The sooner the better, but not less than two days before the event.

How to Start a Graduation Speech

So how to start off a speech? A good speech should begin with an enticing opening. A catchy introduction captures the attention of the audience and puts everybody in the right mood.

A brilliant speaker should be familiar with the following good ways to start a speech:

  1. Hook: A sentence or question that immediately connects your listener to you on the emotional level.
  2. Thesis: One to three sentences stating your intention. It can either be sharing your life story or someone else’s experience that offers a valuable lesson.
  3. Role model: Introduce the person you look up to and briefly explain why he or she inspires you.
  4. Theme: Announce the topic of your speech and mention how you connect to it personally. If you choose to talk about a few topics (like confidence, failure, and endurance), name all of them at the beginning.

Whichever option you choose, it is crucial to make your introduction brief and to the point. It will show the listeners your intention to keep the speech short and informative. The audience will appreciate it and lend an attentive ear to your message more willingly.

How to End a Speech

The way your speech ends defines how the audience will remember it. Since we tend to cherish most memorable and important things, the conclusive statement should be strong and impressive. To compose such conclusion, you can try the following methods:

  • Leave an inspirational message for student audience
  • Make an encouraging call to keep the spirits high
  • Use an appealing slogan or catch phrase to end on a positive note
  • Include one or two funny graduation messages to lighten the mood after serious conclusions

How to Make a Speech Longer

If a question “how long is my speech?” popped into your head, it means the moment has come to time yourself. In case your speech came out shorter than expected, you can make it longer while keeping it relevant in one of these ways:

  1. Check whether the speech has an introduction and conclusion.
    A traditional speech formatting requires a speaker to structure their speech so that it consists of an introduction, body, and conclusion. So you can add a few sentences to either an opening or closing part of your message to strengthen your argument.
  2. Add an anecdote or story from personal experience to relate to the subject.
    Even if you have already included a personal example, don’t be shy sharing a few to make a point. The crucial thing here is to ensure the stories you choose to tell are relevant to your main argument.
  3. Use motivational quotes.
    You can cite one quote and then repeat it at the end of your speech highlighting its relevance and topicality. Before you settle down on a quote to use, make sure to check its origin in multiple sources.
  4. Remind your classmates of the good times you had at school.
    Warm memories evoke pleasant feelings, and this is what graduates need to have on their graduation day – tons of positive emotions. Remember not to embarrass teachers and parents present
  5. Use graduation slogans.
    Dream it, believe it, become it.
    To infinity and beyond.
    Party hard, Rock and Roll, we’re the class you can’t control!

You can search the web for more examples of popular catch phrases, mottos, slogans, etc., but you can also come up with your own!

8th Grade Graduation Speech

Middle school graduation speeches signify one’s transition to the top level - high school. It is a significant and thrilling moment for a student. To write a fine speech, you don’t have to drag yourself through multiple sample graduation speeches. Just take a moment and think of those three years spent in middle school.

Here is a brief outline for an 8th grade graduation speech to get you going:

  • Introduce yourself.
  • Share your first memories and impressions at the school.
  • Reflect on your experience and tell what you enjoyed about it.
  • Talk about your teachers and other students.
  • Discuss your prospects for the future.
  • Thank your parents, teachers, classmates, administration, and staff for making your middle-school years worthwhile.
  • Conclude with one of the best middle school graduation quotes you can find or coin one yourself.

Check out an amazing Jack Aiello’s graduation speech to find some inspiration.

High School Graduation Speech

The second important speech you will either listen to or deliver is usually scheduled for high school graduation. Finishing high school is one of the first greatest achievements of a young person. That is why high school graduation speech ideas revolve around personal accomplishments, funny stories, bright memories, and hopes for successful future.

Even though the end of studying is a happy event, some speakers chose to give rather sad high school graduation speeches. Surely, there are many things to miss about school, but the graduation ceremony should give more positive and aspiring feelings.

In their senior night speeches, high school graduates need to focus on reminding their peers about:

  • their achievements at school to boost students’ self-esteem and create a positive image of themselves
  • future possibilities to encourage taking a suitable career path and continue grow both personally and professionally

Here are the quotes you can use in your graduation speech:

End of School Quotes

  • “If a man neglects education, he walks lame to the end of his life.” - Plato
  • “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” — Arthur Ashe
  • “Change is the end result of all true learning.” - Leo Buscaglia
  • “Your life is your story, and the adventure ahead of you is the journey to fulfill your own purpose and potential.” —Kerry Washington
  • “A great accomplishment shouldn't be the end of the road, just the starting point for the next leap forward.” - Harvey Mackay

Highschool Quotes

  • “In school, you're taught a lesson and then given a test. In life, you're given a test that teaches you a lesson.” - Tom Bodett
  • “It doesn't matter that your dream came true if you spent your whole life sleeping.” - Jerry Zucker
  • “True terror is to wake up one morning and discover that your high school class is running the country.” Kurt Vonnegut
  • “High school is about finding who you are, because that's more important than trying to be someone else.” - Nick Jonas
  • “What makes a child gifted and talented may not always be good grades in school, but a different way of looking at the world and learning.” - Chuck Grassley

Graduation Quotes from Parents

  • Congratulations on your graduation, son! We are proud to see you paving your own way to adult life. We wish you every success in all your future endeavors. Your loving and supportive parents.
  • I am sure today is one of your many accomplishments to come. It warms my heart to look back at all the work you have done at school and see your bright future. No matter which path you choose, you can always rely on my complete support and understanding.
  • Today is the day to praise your hard work and reflect on the amount of effort put into becoming a graduate. I am a very proud parent of a responsible and smart kid who is now ready to choose his/her own path. I will always be there for you whenever you need me.
  • I am both happy and sad to see my little girl graduating. You have become an intelligent young woman so quickly. I am thankful for everything your teachers did to help you grow and become a wonderful person you are.
  • You have made this day a very special occasion to all our family. We are all proud to see you graduating and planning your life as a smart and independent adult. We love you and will always support your choices and decisions.

When looking for high school graduation speech examples, you are most likely to find texts that have already been used numerous times. Such speeches are no longer unique or topical. You can use parts of them, but it won’t be enough to construct a speech to remember.

A good high school valedictorian speech example can only offer a few wise thoughts or quotes. However, it will not make your speech as personal as it should be. For a first-time speaker, the best you can take from a sample high school graduation speech is a structure and possible themes. However, you are also at risk of copying clichés and truisms from a sample that will diminish the importance of your message.

Since writing a good speech by yourself can be a time-consuming and exhausting challenge, it is safer to seek professional help. Having found a reliable writing service, you can have a qualified writer compose a speech to remember. While your writer will be working on your message, you carry on with choosing your graduation outfit.

College Graduation Speech

Most college graduation messages tend to look alike and repeat themselves. Naturally, it is not easy to find new words of encouragement for college students every year. Since finishing school is an annual event, college graduation speeches by students are rarely as exciting and memorable as you would expect.

If you consider turning a college graduation speech sample found online into a worthy message, you should realize the risk of getting a second-quality piece of writing. As a rule, sample speeches include numerous sayings and quotes such as cheesy quotes on colleges, pompous college motivation quotes, over-enthusiastic quotes about college life, and tons of overwhelmingly positive quotations on college experiences.

It is utterly up to you what kind of quotes to incorporate into your speech, but here is one of the best how to speech ideas for college students you can find – DO NOT try to stuff your message with as many wise phrases as possible. It is unnatural and rather pretentious, and no one likes it. Using one motivational quote for college students will be enough. You can make it two if they are not too lengthy and add value to your narration.

Here are a few motivational speech topics for college students you can consider to mention in your message to make it worthy and special:

  • Personal Growth
  • Valuable Contributions
  • Humanity and Compassion
  • Professional vs. Personal Priorities
  • Love and Respect

Graduation Speech Quotes

Here are some quotes from famous people you can use in your speech:

Short Graduation Quotes

  • “Take pride in how far you’ve come. Have faith in how far you can go. But don’t forget to enjoy the journey.” —Michael Josephson
  • “Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success.” - Napoleon Hill
  • “Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.” - Albert Einstein
  • “Keep in mind that neither success nor failure is ever final.” - Roger Babson
  • “Hitch your wagon to a star.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Funny Quotes about Graduation

  • “Even if you are on the right track, you will get run over if you just sit there.” - Will Rogers
  • “It is clear the future holds great opportunities. It also holds pitfalls. The trick will be to avoid the pitfalls, seize the opportunities, and get back home by six o’clock.” - Woody Allen
  • “If you feel that you have both feet planted on level ground, then the university has failed you.” - Robert Goheen
  • “Thankfully dreams can change. If we’d all stuck with our first dream, the world would be overrun with cowboys and princesses. So whatever your dream is right now, if you don’t achieve it, you haven’t failed, and you’re not some loser. But just as importantly—and this is the part I may not get right, and you may not listen to—if you do get your dream, you are not a winner.” - Stephen Colbert
  • “Graduates: you will never have more energy or enthusiasm, hair, or brain cells than you have today.” – Tom and Ray, The Car Talk Guys

Quotes about Endings (Finishing)

  • “It is always important to know when something has reached its end. Closing circles, shutting doors, finishing chapters, it doesn't matter what we call it; what matters is to leave in the past those moments in life that are over.” ― Paulo Coelho
  • “Life is not so much about beginnings and endings as it is about going on and on and on. It is about muddling through the middle.” - Anna Quindlen
  • “In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.” - Eleanor Roosevelt
  • “There's a trick to the 'graceful exit.' It begins with the vision to recognize when a job, a life stage, or a relationship is over - and let it go. It means leaving what's over without denying its validity or its past importance to our lives. It involves a sense of future, a belief that every exit line is an entry, that we are moving up, rather than out.” - Ellen Goodman
  • “I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity.” - Gilda Radner

“Oh the Places You’ll Go” Quotes for Graduation

  • “Oh the places you'll go! There is fun to be done! There are points to be scored. There are games to be won. And the magical things you can do with that ball will make you the winning-est winner of all.”
  • “Congratulations! Today is your day. You’re off to Great Places! You’re off and away! You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. You are the guy who’ll decide where to go.”
  • “Kid, you’ll move mountains.”
  • “You're off to Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, So... get on your way!”
  • “You'll get mixed up, of course, as you already know. You'll get mixed up with many strange birds as you go. So be sure when you step. Step with care and great tact and remember that Life's a Great Balancing Act. Just never forget to be dexterous and deft. And never mix up your right foot with your left.”

Spiritual Graduation Quotes

  • “What we are is God's gift to us. What we become is our gift to God.” - Eleanor Powell
  • “You get to consciously decide what has meaning and what doesn’t. You get to decide what to worship.” - David Foster Wallace
  • “Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.” - Robert Louis Stevenson
  • “God wants us to know that life is a series of beginnings, not endings. Just as graduations are not terminations, but commencements. Creation is an ongoing process, and when we create a perfect world where love and compassion are shared by all, suffering will cease.” - Bernie Siegel
  • “You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. You can’t get there by bus, only by hard work and risk and by not quite knowing what you’re doing, but what you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover will be yourself.” – Alan Alda

By now, you should realize that writing senior class president graduation speeches or simple thank you speech for graduation is not that simple at all. To save your time and ensure your farewell message to peers, teachers, and parents is both valuable and entertaining, consider getting a part of speech help from reputable speech writing services. So don’t hold off the joy of getting a speech to remember and order one from a professional writer.

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