We’ve all heard those classic school ‘leavers’ stories. The one about the sixth formers who dismantled the headteacher’s VW and reassembled it on the school roof. Or the 1st XI football team who sprayed indelible messages in weedkiller on the school football pitch.
Leaving pranks are all about ending school or college with a bang. If you’re a student, you’re caught in that no-mans land, those blissful few weeks when you’ve finished your exams but are still in school uniform. You’re part of school, but the consquences of your actions don’t matter as much. In other words, this is your moment. And if you’re going to go down in school history, you’ve got to start planning now.
But while pranks might get you instant fame, there are far better – and cleverer – ways to make sure people remember you. At Great Speech Writing, we think words have a more lasting impact. And, judging by the amount of requests we have to write school leaving speeches for students and their teachers, we’re not the only ones.
Schools and colleges now place far more emphasis on leavers than they used to. The traditional Speech Day is being hustled by high school proms, leavers’ days out, award ceremonies and concerts. While there used to be just a smattering of prizes for the more traditional academic subjects, there are now awards for EVERYTHING – from basketball to beatboxing.
So whether you’re a head master giving a prize, or a student receiving one, chances are you’re going to be asked to say a few words at the end of term. This is why we strongly suggest you have a think about what you want to say well in advance. Get your school leaving speech right and you’ll be remembered by staff and students – for all the right reasons.
How to give a school leaving speech:
Don’t assume you’ll be able to pull off a last-minute speech. Very few get away with it. Your speech will end up sounding scrappy and dull – and your peers will be waiting to have a laugh at your expense.
Keep it short
Yours is going to be one of many speeches – and your audience is mainly young. In other words they’re not going to wait patiently while you narrate an essay. A short, witty speech is what you’re aiming for. Try not to speak for more than five minutes.
Laugh at yourself
We’re not suggesting you morph into Michael McIntyre, but a few funny anecdotes will go a long way. You have an audience of people excited about leaving school for good, which means they’re in the mood for a laugh. But use laughter wisely. The best way to win over the audience is to be self-deprecating – and funny – at the same time.
Say thank you
This is really important. Your teachers have endured your chat back and classroom antics for years – and you owe them. Now is the time to tell them how much. Make sure you sound humble and sincere and they’ll love you for it, long after you leave.
Stick to the positives
This is not the time to offend your friends, teachers and colleagues. So don’t mention that time in Year 10 when a member of staff was off sick with stress. Talk about all the good stuff that has happened over the past few years. Refer to the sports matches, school plays and concerts, as well as the academic achievements. This way everybody will feel included – and confident about moving on to the next thing.
If you’re still struggling, let us take a look. We can edit, structure and write your leaving speech or your valedictorian speech. And if you are a member of teaching staff, we can help you too.