How to write a graduation speech

By Jessie Johnson

Guest Columnist

When I first started to work on my speech, I watched a countless number of videos on the internet that more often than not, were titled “Best Graduation Speech Ever!!!” in some form or another. I’m not exactly certain how much these have helped me to generate ideas, but they did give me ideas on how to present myself.

I struggled for a long time to pick a topic, mainly because I was trying to avoid most of the cliches that were present in all of those videos I watched. I did my best to avoid writing the typical speech that only addresses the physical portion of the future that my classmates and I are about to experience. Hopefully by avoiding that I won’t put everyone in the audience to sleep, maybe just half.

In the end, most of my ideas came from the teachers at Rockford. I chose one of the most meaningful quotes that I remembered, and worked off of that. I hope that from that quote my classmates will be able to see the connection between the years that we have spent in high school and the years to come. Hopefully, it will bring back a few funny memories as well.

However, the closer I get to graduation day I can’t help but become more concerned about my speech. While I did my best to represent my entire class, I can’t help but worry that I am only speaking for one demographic, rather than the class as a whole. That is really the only portion that I am truly nervous about.

Public speaking isn’t very frightening to me, my only worry is that I might speak too fast. I’ve been working on that though by reciting it in front of my family, friends and teachers. I am more excited than nervous.

To be able to speak at graduation is an honor unlike any other, and I still can’t believe that it will be me that gets to make a speech. Luckily, I don’t have to arrive earlier than anyone else as it gives me more time to practice. The commencement ceremony is a stressful thing to prepare for, but it is equally as exciting.

After high school I will attend Gustavus Adolphus College, where I believe I will major in Sociology and Anthropology.


Jessie Johnson is the Rockford Class of 2017 Valedictorian.