What Should a Principal Say in Graduation Speeches?

In a graduation speech, a principal should offer a welcome to all guests at the ceremony, introduce teachers and administrators to the audience, offer examples of accomplishments by the student body, provide advice for the students’ college or work life after graduation, and offer a sentiment about the significance of graduation. The principal may also choose to share stories or anecdotes about his own experiences in education.

One of the primary goals of a principal’s speech at graduation is to connect to the graduates. Use examples that resonate with the students in attendance, and avoid vague references to previous classes to keep the focus of the ceremony on the present class of graduates. Use popular references and, if possible, draw on the experiences these specific students have had at the school.

Focus not only on their academic accomplishments, but also on examples of goodwill and positive influence students have demonstrated. When speaking about their future, detail what qualities they need to succeed in college and their careers, such as honesty, kindness, motivation, determination and respect. Use personal anecdotes to validate the importance of education, mark the milestone of graduating, and remind them of the hard work they have done already.