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Graduation Speeches

How to make a high school graduation speech

If you're the high school valedictorian, you're probably nervous -- studies show that public speaking is as fearsome as death for the average person. The good news is that you'll certainly survive your high school graduation speech, but you want to do more than just survive; you want to inspire your classmates with one of the most memorable graduation speeches you school has ever seen. So where do your turn for ideas, and how do you avoid nervousness on the fateful day?

Sources of Graduation Quotes

Incorporating quotes from well-known authors and cultural luminaries is a long-standing tradition when it comes to graduation speeches. Here are a few famous examples:

  • "The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet." --Aristotle
  • "After climbing a great hill, one only realizes there are more hills to climb." --Nelson Mandela
  • "Education is what remains long after one has forgotten what one learned in school." --Albert Einstein

You can also turn to libraries of graduation poems and graduation songs for inspiration and ways to add to the overall effect of your speech.

Stay Poised During Your High School Graduation Speech

You've probably heard that one way to avoid nervousness when making a speech is to imagine all the members of the audience in their underwear. But that is only one of many such tricks you can use to battle back against the butterflies when you're giving your speech; here are some others:

  • Speak to individuals in the audience, not the whole crowd. Shift your focus around regularly so that you don't talk directly to the same person the entire time.
  • Visualize the audience applauding you after a rousing speech. It will help you succeed.
  • Remember that the whole crowd is on your side and wants you to make a great speech. They'll forgive small mistakes and likely won't even notice them in the first place.
  • Relax and keep calm. Buy yourself some time before launching into the speech by counting to three after you reach the podium; then, address the audience and begin your speech.

Above all, rehearse and practice, make additions and omissions, and craft your speech so it becomes the best it can truly be.

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