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Template for a Valedictory Speech
Template for a Valedictory Speech
My fellow graduates. Over the last four years here at [Insert name of high school.], we
have learned a lot. Mr.[Insert name of math teacher.] taught us how to [Insert a
complicated sounding math thing.]. Ms. [Insert name of English teacher.] taught
us [Insert interesting tidbit from a favorite piece of literature.]. And Mr. [Insert name
of widely known funny, popular teacher.] taught us [Insert something odd that
parents might be surprised to learn. For example maybe he taught you how to
swear in Portuguese. Or maybe he taught you the best way to approach a girl at a
dance. Make it funny but revealing about a beloved teacher.].
And all of this knowledge will no doubt be valuable as we go forward in life. But I think that
the most important thing that we have learned over the last four years is [Insert major
theme. Keep the theme simple. Good themes include “How to build relationships
and rely on each other,” “How to Work Together as a Community,” “How to respect
each others differences,” and “How much we need each other to succeed.” Don’t
worry if it’s corny. If it’s from the heart, go for it.].
Over the next few minutes, I’d like to talk about what we’ve learned, the people we have to
thank, and the people we have to remember. [Notice that you’re setting up a little
three-part structure, letting your listeners know where the speech is going.]
I told you that the most important thing that we learned was [Restate the theme.].
Let me give you just a couple of examples of what I’m talking about. [Give three or four
quick and fun examples that bring in as many of your classmates’ names as
possible. People love hearing their names. One of the examples might sound like
this. “In ninth grade with our first pizza drive, we raised a lot of money for
homecoming. It was a true team success. John Smith was our pizza baker. Cindy
Jones showed us how to track and spend the money. Fred Williams played a critical
role in getting people to turn out for the event with his creative posters. And Garth
taught us that indeed one person can eat three entire pies in one sitting.” Give one
longer example that is personal. For example, you might tell about how one of your
teachers took an interest in your writing and encouraged you to submit your stories
for publication. Be sure to tell about how you thought the story was really stupid
but your teacher disagreed. Be sure to thank the teacher by calling her out from the
audience, asking her to stand and asking the audience to give her a round of
applause. Finish the story by telling how this teacher taught you that “Nothing we
accomplish is done alone. Rather, we need each other for support and coaching.”]
Next, I’d like to take a moment on behalf of myself and my fellow graduates to thank the
people that have brought us here.
[Pick five or six people to thank. But don’t just give their names. Tell why you’re
grateful to them. And in telling why, give anecdotal context. For example, “I’d like
to thank my mother Wendy Johnson, who taught me that if I want to make it to the
bus stop on time, I can’t spend 20 minutes checking Facebook.” Or “I’d like to thank
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