You thought earning the highest grades to become the valedictorian in your high school graduating class was tough. But, writing a memorable valedictorian speech will be the real challenge. After all, as a high point of your class commencement ceremony, this once-in-a-lifetime moment honors not only four years of high school but must encourage everyone to look forward to the future. It's a tall order but follow our five tips below to write a valedictorian speech that your audience hears, remembers, and draws inspiration from.
1. Start writing with a goal or theme in mind.
A helpful way to start is by understanding the unique goal of your valedictorian speech. Of course, you want to deliver a fitting send-off message to your graduating class. Still, to be memorable, you must also get them excited about the future as if an epic adventure starts soon. If you watch the winners in our , you'll find a recurring idea or central theme cementing each speech.
Examples of themes suited for high school graduation include:
- People at school who've inspired you
- Significant changes between freshman year and now
- Tips for moving forward after graduation
By establishing a personal theme, you'll produce a unique valedictorian speech that only you could write.
2. Make your valedictorian speech about everybody but you.
Don't turn your valedictorian speech into a mini-biography of your high school accomplishments. While you're welcome to add personal anecdotes for flavor, it would be best to talk about everyone else in your class. It might take extra work to find out what the four years have been like for them. However, it will provide you with memories and insights (based on your theme) that their family and friends are eager to hear. That will guarantee your valedictorian speech achieves stellar status.
3. Recount the highlights of four years in high school.
To make your valedictorian speech genuinely unforgettable, you can tap graduation's unavoidable nostalgia by recounting the highlights of the past four years in high school. Sure, four years may not be a lifetime, but everyone in your class takes away lifelong memories from such a short period. The most captivating valedictorian speech writer knows which treasured memories to choose resonates with everybody. In addition, you can include global events of importance through your high school years. As the person representing your class, your reminiscing is a privilege afforded to the valedictorian.
4. See your high school years with a sense of humor.
Reading your greatest hits of high school memories like a shopping list will quickly bore your crowd. Why don't you write your valedictorian speech with a fusion of humor, no matter how tiny? We suggest making a big splash with something funny to open your address then doling it out in smaller doses for the rest. The best kind of joke to charm your listeners is self-deprecating humor, such as something you (the valedictorian) failed at in high school. Funny memories about quirky teachers and favorite classes can likewise immerse your audience. It's a fun way to liven up your valedictorian speech.
5. Leave your audience inspired!
You've honored the past four years with many cherished memories recalled in a celebratory way. The other half of your valedictorian speech should inspire your fellow students. We suggest writing a clear call to action to end your address. You're not at your commencement to pick up your diploma. You're there to see everyone off to all the places they'll go after graduating. To leave everyone feeling inspired to face their next challenge, you can end your valedictorian speech with an inspirational quote. Since you and your fellow graduates should try to live by this quote going forwards, choose one that's tied to your theme and leaves everyone motivated.
Examples of quotes suited for high school graduation include:
- "There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind." - C. S. Lewis
- "Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself." - John Dewey
- "There are no regrets in life. Just lessons." - Jennifer Aniston
There's no perfect valedictorian speech but follow these five tips to write a memorable one. While your address is vital to the ceremony, remember to keep it short and sweet. Unless otherwise instructed, cut it to ten minutes maximum, so people stay attentive. Finally, imagine yourself twenty years from now watching your valedictorian speech on YouTube. Will you regret anything you've written?