Last Updated on March 23, 2022 by azamqasim
How do you get life changing opportunities?
You prepare for them.
Take, for instance, the honor of being your high school’s valedictorian. No one accidentally reaches the top of their class. It’s an opportunity that comes after years of strategic planning, studying, and hard work.
Are you planning on paving the way to speak at your high school graduation? Then this article is for you. We’ll go over some of the best valedictorian speech ideas, and we’ll even cover what not to do.
Whether you want to give a passionate speech, a formal one, or a mixture of both, we can help. Read on to learn how to deliver the best valedictorian speech!
1. Inspiring Memory Lane
First, on our list of valedictorian speech ideas, let’s talk about taking a trip down memory lane. The end of your senior year is the perfect moment to notice all of the special events throughout your high school career.
However, for your speech to be effective, you’ll need to think of moments everyone can relate to. Instead of discussing the obvious experiences, try thinking outside of the box.
Dig deep to look at the small things in high school that made the days memorable. A great example would be talking about what it’s like to have a teacher call on you when you’re not paying attention!
Parents and classmates will expect you to bring up a heart-touching moment, not a comical one. You’ll be able to throw them off in the most enjoyable way.
Give details about what it’s like to be sitting in class, deep in your thoughts. Then suddenly, you hear your name in a questioning tone. You’ve been called on, and the whole class is staring at you! This simple moment is something that the parents, teachers, and fellow students will relate to!
Once you have the memory in mind, you can start structuring your speech around it. If it’s going to be a list of small memories, use a lot of variety.
2. Accepting Change and New Beginnings
Do you want to create a magical valedictorian speech? Then it would help if you talked about the power of accepting change.
Acceptance is a beautiful speech topic for graduation. Graduating students will soon be facing all sorts of joys and letdowns. To live successfully, you have to learn how to accept the things out of your control, however, not in a defeating way.
For instance, let’s say a student applied to their dream college and didn’t get in. This can be a major letdown, and in some cases, even soul-crushing!
However, it doesn’t have to mean failure or defeat. Instead, not getting accepted into one college can pave the way for acceptance into the right college. The one you were meant to attend.
To avoid sounding like your lecturing students, focus on keeping an upbeat tone. You can be motivational and firm, but don’t speak as if you’re a disciplinary figure. Instead, you want to come across as humble yet strong.
You know you can’t change everything in life, but you have power over the most important thing; your mindset. When you set your mind to accepting the curveballs life throws your way, anything is possible.
3. A Look Towards the Future
Moving on, you need to keep your audience in mind when you’re delivering your speech. It might seem easy to know your audience when you’re speaking to fellow students.
However, remember, graduation day is a time for everyone to come together. You’re not simply talking to your high school’s student body.
Instead, you’re addressing an entire community. Be sure to include everyone in your audience so that your speech can touch the hearts of many.
One of the best ways to keep every audience member engaged is by painting bright, vivid pictures! Next, use active voice rather than passive voice as you speak.
Clearly describe events, characters, and the feelings behind them. The more expressive you can be, the better.
Having the proper delivery isn’t everything though. You also have to have the right words to deliver in the first place! Before you start giving advice in your speech, double-check to make sure it holds up.
Rather than finding wise quotes online and rattling them off, look for words of wisdom that hit home. Ask yourself, is this a piece of advice I would follow? If yes, use it in your speech.
4. Gratitude Valedictorian Speech Template
Moving on, you can create a powerful mood by sticking with the theme of gratitude! Some people think that gratitude is a cheesy speech theme, but this couldn’t be further than the truth! Gratitude is a powerful feeling, and when used correctly, it can be a life-changing tool.
Since your audience members will know if you’re speaking from the heart, we suggest keeping a gratitude journal for a few weeks before your speech. If you’re not sure what to be thankful for, you can use a free gratitude app for inspiration. Once you start noticing things to be grateful for, it’s hard to stop!
You can be thankful for the air you’re breathing. You can be thankful for the teachers that taught you the subjects you’re going to build your career off of.
You can be grateful for bus drivers who always help you get to school safely. You can be thankful for so many things!
In the realm of self-help and personal development, sometimes gratitude turns into a mystical theme. Setting powers of intention, and manifesting goals, are big gratitude themes. However, they might not mesh well with your graduation theme.
There’s nothing wrong with applying a sense of wonder and mystery to your speech. However, choose your words carefully if you want the address to have a more educational and professional tone.
Want to steer clear of mysticism? Avoid using stereotypical words like universe, manifestation, and intention. Instead, stick to everyday words like happiness, joy, and attitude.
5. What Positive Thinking Can Do
Next, positivity is perfect for valedictorian speech ideas and themes. You can grab your audience with a question right from the beginning. For example, ask them when the last time they smiled was.
Research shows that smiling isn’t just fun; it can actually have direct impacts on your overall health! Keeping a hopeful mindset, and feeding your mind positive things, can also help keep you strong and healthy.
Give the audience all sorts of positivity tools, like the ability to reframe. Reframing is a tremendous life-building tool. When you reframe a situation or memory, you’re giving yourself a new way of looking at it.
For instance, let’s say a high school graduate is hoping to live off-campus rather than in the dorms. However, after looking at their options, it’s clear they’ll have to live in the dorms for the first semester.
Without the power of positivity, this could be seen as a major letdown. However, when you reframe the situation, it can turn into a great opportunity.
Staying in the dorms isn’t an inconvenience that’ll make success harder. Instead, the dorms could become a significant resource for networking and creativity! Not to mention all of the lifelong memories students can make there.
6. Focus On the Celebration
Do you like to think of yourself as the life of the party? Then your speech should be all about celebration! Don’t worry about giving a stuffy, formal delivery.
Instead, let your fun personality shine. How can you glow while still keeping things professional? It’s all about the energy you bring to the table.
When you walk out onto the stage to give a celebration speech, your body needs to be moving. Your hands should be up in the air, and you should practically dance your way to the podium. Start off with a loud exclamation. Yelling, “Woo!”, Or “We did it!” will work perfectly.
Next, break down the 4 years of high school into hours, minutes, or even seconds. This will help really emphasize the milestone everyone is achieving. It wasn’t 4 short years; it was hours and hours of dedication. It was morning after morning of getting up early. Taking test after test, and applying to college after college.
High school is anything but easy. Making it to graduation is something worth celebrating. It’s a lifetime achievement that many people around the world will never have the honor of accomplishing. Be humbled and proud, and ready to party!
Celebration speeches are all about staying pumped and focused on what’s good. Now would be a great time to quote some of your favorite musicians that help you get pumped up.
7. Uplifting Quotes to Live By
What’s one of the best ways to be successful? Standing on the shoulders of giants! Instead of building your speech from scratch, use some of the most uplifting and inspirational quotes around. You won’t be stealing their material, as long as you give credit where due.
For the most significant impact, you’ll want to avoid using confusing quotes. Instead, stick to selections that hit home and are easy to remember.
For instance, perhaps Shakespeare is one of your favorite people to quote. However, you realize that the poetic pros might not touch every audience member’s heart. Instead, you find a simplified Aesop quote that delivers the same sentiment.
Of course, if you’re a person of many words, you could always create your own quote too. You can begin the speech by listing famous quotes and what they mean to you.
Then let the audience members know that you have one great selection to leave them with.
Read the quote you’ve authored, and let it sit with the audience for a moment. This would be a great chance to practice a pregnant pause. A pregnant pauses when you’re giving a speech, and you pause for dramatic effect. After breaking, reveal yourself as the author of the quote.
For instance, let’s say it’s the very end of your speech. Looking at the audience sincerely, you say, “I have one last quote I’d like to leave you with. Make today the day you decide to become an unstoppable force, paving the way to your future. (Long pause) Author? Me, Myself, and I.”
What Not to Do
Now you know how to model some of the best valedictorian speech examples. Lastly, it’s time to talk about what not to do.
For starters, never try to wing it. You might be great at giving impromptu speeches, but graduation isn’t the time to try.
If you try to wing it at your high school graduation, the audience members will know. Even if you’re able to deliver an excellent speech, imagine how much better it could have been if you had only practiced.
Next, avoid giving a cookie-cutter speech. Don’t print a valedictorian speech template, and fill in the blanks.
If your speech sounds impersonal and overly formal, it won’t hit home. Instead, look for ways to tie your personal experiences into the speech’s theme and structure.
Speaking of structure, your speech needs to be the right length. If it’s too long, you’ll wind up boring the audience. If the speech is too short, it’ll come across as rushed and informal.
Instead, you need to find the sweet spot. Talk to your school officials about how much time you’re allotted for the speech, and get their recommendations.
Lastly, don’t forget to honor the school officials too! Your speech should include shout-outs to special teachers, administrators, security personnel, and more. The more shout-outs, the better.
Choosing Between Valedictorian Speech Ideas
And there you have it! The best valedictorian speech ideas around. What idea speaks to you the most?
Are you leaning towards giving a heart-touching speech that takes students down memory lane? Were you hoping to bring the energy with the pumped-up celebration speech? Consider your personality and speaking style, and then pick a speech idea to match it.
Once you have your theme, you can start your rough draft today.
You’ll feel so much better once you start writing the speech. For more tips like these, look at the rest of our blog.
Read also: Gift ideas for a fashionista mum