Student Graduation Speeches
Excerpts from the Valedictorian graduation speech
From day one, I noticed that there was no popularity scale at Balboa School. Everyone was much more willing to speak their minds. I was still intimidated, when I first started, but then one girl approached me and opened the doors to many of my friendships today. Thanks to her I was able to overcome my shyness….
At this school, the teachers aren’t just adults who play the role of your absolute superiors. The teachers are both your mentors and your friends. I will be in debt forever for your kindness and for all you’ve done for me. From Miss Buffy’s ability to both counsel, and efficiently teach to Mr. Swiss’ delightful dry sense of humor and wonderful lecturing skills.
Mr. Tran would always carry around a bamboo stick that had one side labeled “inspiration” and the other labeled “idea”. He was one of the only teachers I’ve ever met to perfectly balance both strictness and friendliness. …. He said, the “trick to teaching is to be funny. “People will be waiting for the punch line and in the process, they learn something.”
Day after day we’ve toiled through what seems like an endless barrage of homework. Day after day, we’ve all sat there, scheming new ways to trick the teacher into forgetting our assignments. We’ve shared many laughs….I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t miss those times….
In fact I’d be lying if I said I won’t miss Balboa School. I’ve met many of my closest friends here, and learned so much from this senior class. To my fellow graduates I just want to thank you. Thank you all for being there, for never showing gratuitous hostility towards each other…for being a family of sorts. Around my fellow graduates, I don’t feel like I need to wear a blank mask to hide my feelings. I can truly speak my mind. I don’t need to pretend to be cool when I’m with this group. All I have to do is be myself.
To everyone I have met at this school, thank you. Thank you for helping me grow as a person. For putting me on the right path to success. And as Dr. Seuss once said, “be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”
From the salutatorian (second highest grades on graduation):
Balboa School is special. Over the course of the years I’ve learned much more than to just read. I’ve learned camaraderie, betrayal, disappointment, and happiness and a whole bunch of words to describe those feelings in a million different ways, as all of my peers have learned. I think this month I had an epiphany of the meaning of gratitude. It frankly overwhelmed me when I realized for the work that I had done, the amount my teachers had to do in the first place exceeded by far, mine.
My mind was and still is blown by that amount of work, dedication, effort and so much more. And yet here I am beyond feeling powerless and humbled for I can only offer just the phrase, “thank you”…..I think this school makes people feel safe and it’ll be remembered for that…..
Graduation speech from international student
This is my third year here, and every time I look back, I find that I am so different from who I was three years ago. When I first came here, I didn’t speak a word of English. I remember sitting in class trying to listen but couldn’t understand a thing. That was really a hard time for me….The ESL teacher gave me a lot of help to get over the language barrier….
Personally, I had a hard time enjoying writing, both in English and Chinese. It’s just not my thing. But Mr. Tran really made writing entertaining for me. I enjoyed writing stories and screenplays. I found myself loving writing reviews of movies and stuff….My English teacher brought out my sense of humor that I did not know I had.
My second year here I went into regular English class. That was another big challenge for me. As an international student whose first language is not English, I read really slowly and could not understand what was going on in the book. My brain was just simply not used to processing English. ….It was also really difficult for me to remember new vocabulary and I always had a hard time taking the vocab quizzes. My teacher always let me retake the quiz when I couldn’t pass it. Not now. Now, none of these things is really a problem for me anymore, but I am still retaking some of my vocab quizzes because I want a perfect score.
Another teacher I have to talk about is Mr. Swiss. If anyone were to ask me which class I enjoyed the most it would be Mr. Swiss’ class. I loved to sit and listen to him teaching. As much as I like history, not all history teachers can make history interesting to me. I remember having to keep myself awake in my old teacher’s class back in China. I don’t know how Mr Swiss did it, whatever he did, he made history enjoyable. I really like how he lectured …I learned a lot from him every time I talked to him. …Before I finish I want to thank all the teachers for their hard work.