The right graduation speech theme can make you a local or viral video celebrity. Choose a theme that matches your personality and what you want others to take away from your high school experience. Find inspirational ideas that will captivate your audience and help you to get started creating a memorable graduation speech.
Inspirational High School Graduation Speech Themes
There are many themes that can be used for high school graduation speeches. Inspirational speech ideas can be simple, profound, or even humorous. Remember, the speech will be heard by teachers and parents, so include elements they will enjoy too. The following are some speech topics that will have your audience ready to give a standing ovation.
- Following your dreams
- Changing the world
- The importance of being yourself
- Sharing your best memories
- Discussing popular events
- Looking ahead to the future
- Setting goals
- Remembering where you came from
- Overcoming obstacles
- School spirit and pride
- Never stop learning
- Stories from the classroom
- Advice for the real world
- Inspirational people
- Things you’ll never forget
- Life is about the journey, not the destination
- Never give up
- The most important things in life
- Things that unite the senior class
- Taking a leap of faith
- How high school has prepared you for the challenges ahead
- How difficult times during school have made students stronger
- Discovering who you are to achieve your dreams
- Thinking outside to box to succeed
- Facing the future with confidence
- Small things that have made a difference
- Preparing for the college journey
- Making the most of every day
Funny Commencement Speech Ideas
If you’re already known as the class clown or want to surprise the whole school, plan your speech around something hilarious. Using something funny is also a unique way to start a graduation speech.
- How high school is like an inspirational cat poster
- Everything I need to know I learned from the Kardashians
- 15 reasons high school is better in ROBLOX
- 10 things cafeteria food taught me about life
- Everything I need to know I learned from (specific teacher’s) classroom decorations
- 20 reasons I never want to be a High School principal
- What comes after Generation Z?
- 5 ways high school prepared me for the zombie apocalypse
- 7 life lessons I learned from viral videos
- 5 stupid things teens did this year and why you should be proud we didn’t copy them
- 8 reasons virtual reality looks more appealing than the real world
- Why high school prepared me to live in my parents’ basement forever
- Looking up from the screen to discover a whole new world
- High school mistakes I won’t make at college
- Why high school is like being trapped in a bubble
- Refusing to graduate: I don’t want to move on
- The dumbest reasons I’ll never forget this place
- Ridiculous ways I left my mark on school/classmates
- The only thing from high school I’m taking into the future is my backpack
- Top ten lessons I learned while sleeping in class
You can also look at other funny graduation speeches inspire you.
Modern Graduation Speech Themes
In modern times, graduation speeches have become a place to address current events and delve deeper into the teenage high school experience.
- Privilege of graduating
- Individuality shapes the world
- Being part of the “do something” generation
- Difference between teens or high school now and in your parents’ generation
- Impact of technology
- Taking teens more seriously
- Being a global citizen
- Why college isn’t the best/only option after high school graduation
- Being kind
- Importance of mental health in addition to intellectual growth
- 5 classes that should have been offered in high school
- Life is like a video game
- How high school is a microcosm of the political world
- Advice for adults from this generation
- Questioning people in power
- Challenging the status quo
- What the world can learn from history
- Examples of successful people who didn’t go to college or finish high school
- Why high school might be scarier than the real world today
- Fears about college/future
Additional Ideas for Valedictorian Speech Topics
While any of the above topics could be perfectly appropriate for commencement speech ideas for anyone, class valedictorians may be looking for a particular angle. If you are at the top of your class and have been selected to give a speech at the ceremony, one of these additional senior speech ideas could give you the inspiration you’re looking for.
Don’t be afraid to put your own unique spin on the topic and sprinkle in colorful examples from your high school experience, too.
- Plan ahead, but don’t be afraid to take risks
- Being a leader by taking action and being humble
- How a can-do attitude can help students succeed
- Being real in a world that’s more virtual than ever
- Using failure as a path to growth and success
- Top lessons you learned in high school, outside the classroom
- The seeds of education that helped you grow
Speech Writing 101
Once you have thought about all the graduation speech themes to choose from, pick one. Having a theme will give you a good basis for a speech that will captivate your audience and keep it organized. As you work on your speech, here are some powerful elements to incorporate:
- Personal stories. These stories could be about yourself or about other members of your graduating class, or stories from famous people who have overcome obstacles. Starting or ending with a story will help engage the audience.
- Emotion. Elements of strong emotion are important for speeches. Don’t just tell a story, but put emotion into a story so that the audience goes for a rollercoaster ride. Humorous moments will cut the tension while sad stories will keep your audience on their toes.
- Wisdom. Giving advice or seeking the advice from those before you can be an important part of a graduation speech. See what you can do to teach something important to your graduating class and faculty.
More Tips for Preparing Your Speech
Don’t let procrastination keep you from having enough time to create a top-notch speech.
- Organize. Write out the main points on notecards even if you don’t end up needing them. You’ll be much more organized and less nervous.
- Rehearse. No matter how many speeches you’ve given in high school, it’s important to prepare in advance. Rehearse in front of family or a few friends, but don’t show too many people or you might ruin the surprise elements of your speech. Another option is to set up a video camera or a webcam on a computer screen and give your speech a try.
- Revise. If any part of your speech is not working, think about other elements that could be used, such as song lyrics, poetry, or memorable graduation quotes.
Step up to the Podium
Giving a high school graduation speech is an honor that you’ll remember for years to come. Whether you’re the valedictorian or a senior who has been chosen to give a speech at graduation, it’s a big moment on graduation day.
Use these graduation speech ideas as inspiration to come up with the perfect topic for your school and situation. With the right start, you can tie the whole speech together with a theme that’s relevant to you and the entire audience.