Writing your salutatorian speech is your chance to be remembered. You can look back on the memories you have shared with your classmates, and you can give them encouragement for the road ahead. If you’re not sure what you want to talk about, you can get help brainstorming salutatorian speech ideas. After you know what you want to say, you can start composing your graduation speech outline. But if all else fails, a salutatorian speech template can spark your creativity.

Salutatorian Speech Ideas

Salutatorian speech ideas can be as diverse as the people giving the speeches. Many focus on the future, but they don’t have to. A few speech ideas you might consider are:

  • Using a powerful learning moment to illuminate a larger truth.
  • Learning to be yourself through creativity.
  • The power of perseverance in accomplishing goals.
  • How you and your classmates will make the world better.

Steps to Writing Your Graduation Speech Outline

When planning your salutatorian speech outline, first pick a topic. Next, determine how you can illustrate that topic by telling a story. The use of visual language and storytelling techniques is key to creating a speech that is both engrossing and memorable. After you've brainstormed, sketch a graduation speech outline that includes the key points of your story. Make sure you end with a clear message.

Once you finish your outline, write the first draft of your speech. When you revise, make sure the speech isn’t too long, and cut out extraneous material. After you've finished this draft, read your speech out loud. Is it funny? Sincere? Exciting? Is it still too long? Edit and revise your salutatorian speech until it sounds just right. Don’t forget to practice in front of your friends.

Salutatorian Speech Template

If you’re still stumped, you can try using a salutatorian speech template, which breaks down your speech into three key parts: the introduction, the narrative arc and the residual message. The introduction makes the audience start thinking about your main idea. The narrative arc is the story you want to tell, and the residual message is the idea or moral you want your audience thinking about as they leave.

Tips for Nailing Your Salutatorian Speech

  • Be funny: Try to tell a joke or two, but know your audience. Blue humor probably won’t go over well in this rarified setting.
  • Quote the greats: You can find many positive or enlightening quotes that fit the situation of a graduation. Starting or ending on one of these may help if you’re stuck.
  • Avoid clichés: You may truly want to “be the change,” but figure out a better way to say it that isn’t quite so stale.
  • Be yourself: You’re standing up on that stage because of a big achievement. Many of your classmates may already know who you are. Be sincere. Relax and don’t try to become someone different to impress them. You’ll come off as stiff rather than prepared.