Public Speaking Essay Assignment Available

Public Speaking
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Public Speaking

Graduation Speech Assignment

3-5 minutes: Gold Grade

Take into consideration body language, pacing, volume, pronunciation, eye contact and everything else we have discussed and practiced this year.

This should be your best speech and I will be grading rather prudently. Make me proud!

Objective: Sooner than later, you will be a high school graduate, and eventually a college graduate.

Your Assignment: You are going to write a graduation speech and present it to your peers. Your speech should be comprised of a hook, a quote analysis, a personal experience, and a lesson learned from that experience.

Graduation Speech/Narrative Rubric


Opening of speech contains a strong hook filled with sensory details and a clear thesis that shows the transformation of an experience.

Opening of speech contains a quote and analysis that applies to the speaker’s reflection on their high school career. (See provided list for suggestions.)

Body of Speech

Tell a story or give examples for your audience to better visualize.

Includes plenty of relevant details that show the listener what happened.

Author explores the immediate impact of the experience and helps the listener see his or her thought process after the fact.

Author shows how, not only state of mind, but also actions have changed as a result of the experience.

Author develops the universal truth to be learned from the experience, connecting it to the future.


Conclusion of speech restates universal truth and ends with a brief poem, quote, advice, or some other strong final statement.

Many graduation speakers quote famous or historical people in their speeches. Using a quotation in a commencement speech can help the speaker appeal to his/her audience using ethos, pathos, or logos.

These sample quotations may help inspire the directions or theme of your speech. Feel free to use one of quotations below or find your own. Remember that who you quote can impact how your audience will react.

  • Everybody can be great because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love. –Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
  • Never separate the life you live from the words you speak. –Paul Wellstone
  • You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. You are the guy who’ll decide where to go. — Dr. Seuss
  • The future depends upon what we do in the present. –Mahatma Gandhi
  • Sooner or later we all discover that the important moments in life are not the advertised ones, not the birthdays, the graduations, the weddings, not the great goals achieved. The real milestones are less prepossessing. They come to the door of memory unannounced, stray dogs that amble in, sniff around a bit and simply never leave. Our lives are measured by these. –Susan B. Anthony
  • Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.—Nelson Mandela
  • Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence. — Robert Frost
  • Graduation day is tough for adults. They go to the ceremony as parents. They come home as contemporaries. After twenty-two years of child-raising, they are unemployed.–Erma Bombeck
  • The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. –Eleanor Roosevelt
  • I am always ready to learn, but I do not always like being taught. — Sir Winston Churchill
  • People will frighten you about a graduation. They use words you don’t hear often. ‘And we wish you Godspeed.’ It is a warning, Godspeed. It means you are no longer welcome here at these prices.–Bill Cosby
  • When you come to a roadblock, take a detour. –Barbara Bush
  • There are two types of education. One should teach us how to make a living, and the other how to live. — John Adams
  • At my graduation, I thought we had to marry what we wished to become. Now you are becoming the men you once would have wished to marry. –Gloria Steinem
  • When our memories outweigh our dreams, we have become old. –Bill Clinton
  • Commencement speeches were invented largely in the belief that outgoing college students should never be released into the world until they have been properly sedated.–Garry Trudeau
  • The horizon leans forward, offering you space to place new steps of change.–Maya Angelou
  • A man who has never gone to school may steal from a freight car; but if he has a university education, he may steal the whole railroad. –Theodore Roosevelt
  • Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else. –Judy Garland
  • It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. –Aristotle
  • Try not. Do or do not. There is no try. – Yoda

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