By Dennis Minich
Last year I felt honored to provide what I thought was a great template for a graduation speech which could be altered to fit any commencement ceremony. Maybe it was because the graduations fell so late in summer because of COVID, or maybe my words got lost in the shuffle, but I attended every area graduation and never heard anyone use my sage advice, so I thought it appropriate to again offer some advice to help some senior speakers get through the chore of writing their special speech to their class.
Sometimes these speeches are presented by the Valedictorian, sometimes by the Class President and sometimes by some random student, but regardless there are themes these speeches should contain, and I’ve taken the time to jot these down for you. Feel free to use as you need:
Dear Friends, we stand here today as the graduating class of (insert name of school) of 2021. The road to this point has been an adventure for all of us. I am sure most of us who started kindergarten here can remember those first days with (insert name of kindergarten teacher) who taught us about (insert things he/she taught.) We remember seeing the older kids and imagined what it would be like to be them. We have lived through a lot; we have had great moments like (insert great moment) and some tribulations (name tribulation). We’ve seen the good (name something good) and bad (name something bad). But through it all, we have always braced ourselves with (insert school mascot name)’s pride and persevered.
I think it was (name of someone famous) who said: (insert famous quote). We, the class of 2021 of (insert school name) maybe now can understand what (name of someone famous used earlier) was saying.
Remember when (name of teacher) said (what they said), but then (name something that happened) happened and we all thought it was so funny. Or the day during the announcements that (name of person doing announcements) said (something they said): we knew that was something we would always remember. Maybe one of the greatest accomplishments we can all take pride in is the day we (name of something you all can take some pride in). It was fantastic and we got to share it. Walking the halls of (name of school) we never knew how we would feel when this special day happened. But here we are on (insert date), the final day we will all ever assemble as friends and classmates of (insert name of school here). Some of us will be leaving for college, others are going into trades, some will enter the military while others will work. But then there will be (insert name of random student) who will spend the next few weeks just deciding what color socks he wants to wear. Just kidding (insert first name of used random student.) That is one of the great things about being a (insert name of school mascot) is we know how to tease one another, but still know we are there to help, support and love each and every one of our classmates.
There are so many things we shared while here at (insert name of school.) Remember how we all hated when the cafeteria was serving (insert any food you want because all cafeteria food is bad). Remember when Coach (insert a coach’s name here) made all of us (insert unpopular activity.) We hated it at the time, but it drew us closer together and we learned what it really meant to be a (insert name of school mascot.) We will always remember Coach (insert name of coach mentioned earlier) and what that day meant, whether we want to or not.
So, this is it. We are done, unless you have a note from (insert name of school librarian) saying you still have book fines to pay. After I am finished, we will walk up front, one at a time and (insert name of person reading names) will read our name and tell us we are graduates of (insert name of school). There will be tears, there will be smiles, there will be high fives, there will be parents simply glad we will be getting out of the house.
There will come a time, I don’t know when and I don’t know where, but we will see something, or hear something, or maybe smell something, and our mind will wander back to (insert name of school here) and it will bring a smile to our face. So now it is on the next chapter of our lives.