Some of the most exciting and anticipated moments of finishing school are the ceremonies and the student graduation speeches. These speeches allow students to reflect on their experiences, express gratitude, and offer advice to their fellow graduates as they embark on the next phase of their lives.
However, the question of who gets to give these speeches can be a source of confusion and even controversy. In this article, we will explore the factors that determine which students get to give speeches at graduation and the reasons behind these decisions.
Criteria To Select Students
Schools typically use a range of criteria to select student speakers for graduation ceremonies. The specific criteria may vary from school to school, but some common factors can be noted.
Academic achievement is often a primary factor when selecting student speakers. Schools may require candidates to have a minimum GPA or be in the top percentage of their graduating class.
Most student graduation speeches are performed by the class valedictorian. This is because academic achievement is often seen as an indicator of the student’s ability to represent the school and their fellow graduates.
Leadership abilities are also an important consideration when selecting student speakers. Schools may look for candidates who have demonstrated leadership skills through involvement in student organizations, community service, or other activities.
Students who have been involved in a range of extracurricular activities may be seen as well-rounded. Thus, are capable of speaking to various experiences and perspectives.
Public speaking skills are also an essential factor when selecting student speakers. Schools may require candidates to have prior experience with public speaking, such as through debate or speech classes, or have demonstrated an ability to speak confidently and effectively in front of an audience.
Personal qualities such as maturity, responsibility, and character are important considerations when selecting student speakers. Schools may look for candidates who exhibit integrity, empathy, and resilience. These qualities are essential because student speakers are expected to represent their fellow graduates positively and meaningfully.
In addition to these factors, schools may also consider other criteria. This includes the diversity of the student body, the relevance of the student’s message to the graduation ceremony, or the student’s personal story or background.
Common Themes Among Student Graduation Speeches
One of the most significant roles of a student speaker at a graduation ceremony is to offer reflections and insights on the collective experiences of their fellow graduates. As such, student speeches often touch on personal and universal themes.
One common theme that student speakers address in their speeches is gratitude. Student speakers often express their appreciation for the opportunities and support they have received throughout their academic journey. They may thank family, friends, teachers, or mentors who have helped them.
This theme of gratitude acknowledges those who have supported the speaker and highlights the importance of community and support in achieving one’s goals.
Another common theme in student speeches is reflection. Graduation is a time for reflection, and student speakers often take this opportunity to reflect on their personal growth, achievements, and challenges.
They may also reflect on the collective experiences of their fellow graduates and offer insights into what they have learned. This theme of reflection allows student speakers to share their experiences and insights with their peers, creating a sense of connection and shared experience among the graduating class.
Student speakers also frequently offer advice and wisdom to their fellow graduates as they prepare to embark on the next phase of their lives.
They may share insights on navigating the challenges and uncertainties of the future or offer tips on succeeding in their chosen paths. It provides a valuable perspective to graduates entering a new and unknown phase of their lives.
Graduation is a time of new beginnings; student speakers often express hope and optimism for the future. They may offer words of encouragement to their fellow graduates and remind them of the potential they hold.
In recent years, student speakers have increasingly used their platform to address significant social and political issues for them and their generation. They may discuss topics such as diversity, equity, inclusion, climate change, etc.
Number Of Speakers
The number of student speakers chosen for graduation ceremonies can vary depending on the school and the specific ceremony. Most schools typically select one or two student speakers to deliver speeches at the graduation ceremony.
If a school chooses to have multiple speakers, they may choose to have one speaker represent the academic achievements of the class, while the other speaker may represent the extracurricular or community service achievements of the class.
Alternatively, the school may choose to have one student speaker from the undergraduate level and another from the graduate level.
Sometimes, a school may choose to have more than two student speakers if they have a particularly large graduating class or want to represent a diverse range of voices and perspectives.
However, having too many student speakers can also extend the length of the graduation ceremony, so schools typically try to balance the desire for diversity with the practical considerations of time and logistics. If you want to find out if you should attend your high school graduation, read my other article!
Restrictions And Guidelines
There are no specific legal restrictions or guidelines that schools must follow when choosing student speakers for graduation ceremonies. However, some schools may have internal policies or guidelines that dictate the selection process, criteria, or other factors.
Schools have broad discretion in selecting student speakers, and they may consider a range of factors. They may also consider the student body’s diversity. Plus, the relevance of the student’s message to the graduation ceremony, or the student’s personal story or background.
However, schools must be careful not to discriminate against students based on protected characteristics! Race, gender, religion, or sexual orientation should not take
For example, a school cannot choose a student speaker solely based on race or gender. Nor can they exclude a student from consideration based on their religion or sexual orientation.
In addition, schools must ensure that the student speakers are not using their platform to promote illegal or inappropriate content or behavior.
Schools may have policies in place to review and approve student speeches before they are delivered at the graduation ceremony. This will ensure that they are appropriate and aligned with the values and objectives of the school.
In conclusion, the selection process for student graduation speeches can vary widely depending on the school and the specific graduation ceremony. Schools may consider a range of factors when selecting student speakers, including academic achievement, leadership abilities, etc.
While there are no specific legal restrictions or guidelines that schools must follow, they must be mindful of their responsibilities to ensure that the selection process is fair, inclusive, and consistent with the values and priorities of the school community.
Ultimately, student graduation speeches are an important tradition that allows graduating students to reflect on their accomplishments, share their experiences, and inspire their peers.
Whether a school chooses to have one or multiple student speakers, the goal is to select individuals who can represent their fellow graduates in a meaningful and inspiring way. Through their speeches, student speakers can leave a lasting impression on their classmates, school community, and beyond.