EDIT: Today was the day of farewell. There were nearly 6-7 performances, and based on the audience' reactions, mine definitely makes in top 2, maybe even best. Most others were copied from internet, and that's why mine was completely different from rest! Thank you all guys. The speech did make the event memorable for me.


Currently I am in my last year of school life (junior high school). My school is organising a farewell ceremony in the next month. I have been studying in this school since 8 years (this is my 8th year - from grade 3 till 10). So, I genuinely want to end my journey in this school on a high note, doing something that I'll remember for my lifetime. I have decided to give a farewell speech during the farewell event.

There's good time for the event, and I am pretty sure I'll come up with a unique speech that all the listeners, which include my friends, classmates and teachers, would remember for the time to come!

The problem is I have never wrote a speech myself before. So I am not sure how to proceed. Once I have an idea on what things to include and what not to in the speech, i.e. the content I can come up with something on my own. I'll be really grateful if I am helped with the following:

  1. The beginning:

I don't want the beginning to be boring and predictable, and want something unique. By predictable beginning I mean something like this:

Good morning/noon, my dear friends, and teachers. Myself XYZ and today I'll be giving a farewell speech!

I want that the audience should connect with me from the very beginning, and not get bored.

  1. The main content:

I am confused on what all things to mention and what not. I sure should include my 8-year long experience in the school. But should this be done by telling some incidents that took place? Something silly I did with my friends that caught us off guard in front of the teachers? Or should only the good stuff (incidents) be mentioned?

Should the speech revolve a lot around me, if yes then till what extent?

Also, what else should be included, that will make the audience go roar, whistle, and not just those complementary clapping.


What would be the appropriate way to use humour in my speech? Sure I can't curse in front of all the teachers and the school principal! Also, how much of humour is sufficient?

  1. Conclusion

I want the ending to be as good as, if not better, the beginning. Should I quote a poem at the end? Or some sort of couplet?

Once I know about the above mentioned criteria, I'll present the draft of the speech here, for further improvements and corrections, if any.

Edit: Even if someone provides a link to the kind of speech I am seeking, that would be helpful.

  • 4
    I think this question is too broad for the Q&A format of this website. People have written whole books about how to write public speeches. We can't teach you everything there is about speech writing in a single Stack Exchange answer.
    – Philipp
    Jan 27 at 15:13
  • 1
    From the help center we learn that the following types of questions are off-topic here (whether you've received answers below or not): Proofreading requests, requests to critique or reword anything, idea generation, specific word/grammar use, and help finding a professional. Unfortunately, this question is clearly in that list of off-topic issues. It's a thin differentiation, but this Stack's purpose is to help you understand how to write, not to help you to write anything.
    – JBH
    Jan 27 at 22:52
  • 3
    On the other hand, you could receive some excellent advice from your school's language instructors, counselors, administration, and your parents/guardians. Have you asked them for their insights?
    – JBH
    Jan 27 at 22:53
  • 2
    It's I'm XYZ, not 'myself'. And humour doesn't have to involve swearing! Jan 28 at 17:23
  • 1
    Is it just me, or is this just a terrible idea in the first place? Unless this is a declared speech day/event, then this is going to fix everyone's recollection to 'uncomfortable'. I'm thinking Gervais-level uncomfortable. "Eeech… do you remember the kid who wanted to do a speech in front of the whole class/school?" Unless you are already notably erudite, convincingly louche or a known comedian, or if the school is noted for people doing this on occasion, I wouldn't even dream of attempting this.
    – Tetsujin
    Jan 28 at 18:29

4 Answers 4


General advice. As noted in the comments, speech-writing is a very broad topic but there are a few relatively concrete things that can be said about a speech at this sort of occasion. Firstly:

  • Keep it short.
  • Write out at least the introduction, headings and conclusion – a good method is to write the whole thing out but use notes that just contain the introduction, headings and conclusion, which forces you to think about what you will say in detail.
  • Practice giving the entire speech out loud, not just in your head.

I don't want the beginning to be boring and predictable, and want something unique.

Introductions. Being unique is overrated; much better speechwriters than you have spent much more time writing speeches, and there's no reason to think that you'll do better because you do something different. Here are three standard, and therefore great, ways to start a speech:

  • "Good evening everybody. As we come to the end of our time here at this school I want to..." followed by whatever you will be talking about.
  • A nice quotation that relates to some sort of theme for the speech.
  • Start directly with an anecdote, e.g. "I will never forget the time Dr Jones came into our history classroom wearing a toga".

Should the speech revolve a lot around me, if yes then till what extent?

The overall structure. With respect, nobody wants to listen to a speech about you. Almost nobody is so wonderful, respected and charismatic that they can stand up and deliver a speech about themselves and have it go well. In this context, where you are imposing on your friends' time to listen to you talk, the focus should not be you.

Instead, the speech should have an explicit goal which is centred around others. The two typical ways to do this are:

  • A speech that thanks certain key individuals/groups. It may take a roundabout route to get to the actual 'thank you', but the speech is set up at the start with the intention of saying thank you and it eventually reaches that conclusion.
  • A speech that provides a message, generally some kind of wisdom. This has the formal structure of an argument but the time is spent with anecdotes and humour rather than serious argumentation. The message might be something anodyne like 'you can do anything if you work together' or something funny like 'for next year's graduating class, here are a few things you need to know'.

In both cases you have lots of space to talk about your experiences, but you are not the guiding structure so people don't feel like you're forcing them to listen to you talk about yourself.

what else should be included, that will make the audience go roar, whistle, and not just those complementary clapping.

What people like hearing. People love to hear about themselves; try to think about the content so that most people in the audience hear something they can relate to regularly. The more niche a mention is, the briefer it should be (so you can spend a while on something that relates to a whole year group, but an in-joke from the fencing team should be very short).

What would be the appropriate way to use humour in my speech?

Humour. Humour is difficult to write well, and difficult to give advice about. You should think carefully about what your audience (every part of it) will appreciate, not try to be significantly more or less funny than you normally would be in conversation, and not be mean. Get a trusted friend to listen to your speech and listen to them if they tell you a joke doesn't work, even if it makes you sad to remove it.

I want the ending to be as good as, if not better, the beginning.

Endings. The conclusion should flow naturally from the structure of the speech. In a 'thank you' speech, you reach a natural conclusion where you thank the final person/group and get everyone to clap for them. In a 'message' speech, you say your conclusion and finish. Say what you want to say, say something brief like 'thank you' or 'good night' and then stop.

I genuinely want to end my journey in this school on a high note, doing something that I'll remember for my lifetime.

A final point. If you're not experienced speaking in front of an audience, give serious thought to whether you want to do this. Nerves before public speaking can be very unpleasant, and you don't want to tarnish your memory of this event with a horrible time if you don't have to. If you do decide to go ahead, I hope it goes well for you.

  • I wanted to ask, say for example, what if at the moment of giving the speech, I don't recall the details of one of the incident that I've included in the notes? Is it advisable to have it written down somewhere, or better just skip to the next one?
    – AbVk1718
    Jan 28 at 9:48
  • +1 Thank you for your efforts. I have delivered ready made speeches before, which was basically just by-hearting and reciting, and also once took part in a debate competition, so I am sure I'll deal with the audience, and pull it out! I'll sure give it a chance!
    – AbVk1718
    Jan 28 at 9:51

Hard to tell in general. At the bottom of it all, there's this:

If you want your speech to be unique in a good way, be sincere. Say things that you, yourself, actually want to say. Use your own words and include personal details, not just generalised proclamations.

About humour, feel free to go to town, but don't force it. You can be as funny, or as little funny, even not at all, as feels right in the context of the content and to your personality.

And one thing, inexperienced speakers often tend to make their speeches too long. If you don't want to be boring, you should keep it on the brief side. It's good practice to check the length of your speech with a stopwatch when rehearsing it.

For the technical side of things, I strongly suggest you don't write down your speech word for word. Yes, you hear that right, I said don't. Write down a list of bullet points instead, just short prompts to lead you through the topics you want to cover, in a detailed enough tree that you don't get lost or run out on a tangent, and rehearse until you can perform a coherent speech out of that. Your speech will sound much more natural and engaging if you're, you know, speaking, not reading or reciting.

  • Thanks for the insights! I'll start working on my speech.
    – AbVk1718
    Jan 27 at 16:35
  • I disagree with the advice to go to town with humor. Humor is good in a talk in moderation, but can really backfire if overdone or not done carefully, especially in cross-generational settings like this where the possibility for misunderstanding is greatly increased.
    – bob
    Jan 27 at 21:21
  • 1
    I partially disagree about the last paragraph: especially for novice speechwriters, I would recommend writing the speech out fully but not using that full version during the speech. The writing process forces you to think about how to phrase each section and what you might say. When giving the speech, have a written-out introduction and conclusion (to get a confident start and end) and bullet-point body.
    – dbmag9
    Jan 27 at 21:55
  • @dbmag9 I think that would be counterproductive because a speech requires a very different style from a written text. Writing it down would very likely (especially for someone who isn't an experienced speech writer) end up in a style that's good for written text, but abysmal for speech. I think it's really much better to put it together in spoken form only, during the rehearsals. That way there's little risk of producing an audio version of an article instead of a speech.
    – Divizna
    Jan 27 at 22:18
  • 1
    @bob That's true about everything. Too much drama, too much gratitude, too much reminiscing... The student is in Junior High. From his perspective (and it's completely valid!) it's an important moment in his life. 20 years from now he'll look back on this moment and roll his eyes. As we become more experienced with the complexities of life, the actions in our history that seemed complex are seen in new light. The best advice he can receive is Divizna's 3rd paragraph. Keep it short. Really short. Especially if the student's not the only presenter.
    – JBH
    Jan 27 at 23:31

Keep it brief

As the other answer mentioned, the best way to keep it from being boring is to keep it short.

Keep it appropriate

This isn’t the time to air grievances against teachers or the principal unless you know for 100% certain this event is a roast (it almost certainly isn’t). Every year some student tries to turn a commencement address into a chance to air grievances, and it never ends well: the student looks bad, embarrasses themselves, often doesn’t even get to end their talk (their mic gets turned off), and sometimes even gets in trouble (up to not getting to graduate). The appropriate thing to use this type of speech for is to express gratitude to your teachers and administrators who have worked hard to help you learn. If you can’t express gratitude, don’t give a talk.

Be careful with humor

Humor is risky in any talk. A joke can bomb, leaving you sweating bullets as you get confused looks and no one laughs. Or worse it can cause offense if people misunderstand it or you are being a little to edgy for the occasion. So if you do use humor, keep it light and craft it so that everyone in the audience (including the adults in the room) will find it funny or at least give a light chuckle. When in doubt test it on representative audience members (including adults!). If it doesn’t work, omit it. And this isn’t likely the right time for you to do a standup routine. It’s fundamentally a chance for you to thank your teachers and administrators for their hard work contributing to your education. Don’t forget that.


You're thinking about you. You should be thinking about your audience.

One of the most common mistakes of writers and authors (even practiced writers and authors) is that they spend more time thinking about themselves and not enough time thinking about their audience. This is not the simplest skill to learn! It requires thinking through both what you want to say and why you want to say it, and evaluating how people will react to what you're saying — all with brutal honesty.

There's nothing wrong (at all!) with the desire to write a memorable and meaningful speech. Frankly, I'm a fan of the idea that if you don't have something memorable and/or meaningful to say, then not saying anything at all is often better. I can't speak for others, but a great portion of my life has been spent quietly chanting the phrase "keep your mouth shut!" in my head. Anyway, back to the point.

You should not be writing this for yourself. You should be writing this for others. Those others are your audience. Who are they? At the least, they are:

  • Your peers: These are students your age and younger. You know many of them. Select a handful and ask yourself things like, "what are they expecting to hear?" and "what would help them remember this moment?" Remember to include people you don't like and people who don't like you. That's an odd request, but their potential reactions are just as important as those of your friends.

  • Your instructors: These are adults who have 15-50 more years experience than you do. This moment is incredibly important to you! But from their perspective, graduating Junior High paled compared to graduating High School and College, or when compared to starting their first career, getting married, joining the military, or even buying their first home. You're at the beginning of an amazing journey that they're half-way through or more. How will they react to your speech? How many times have they heard Junior High graduation speeches? What would make yours different from all the others when, from their perspective, everything that's new to you is old hat to them? This group will be the most difficult to evaluate.

  • Your parents/guardians: I'm making an assumption that your parent(s)/guardian(s) will be attending. I could be wrong about that, but let's assume they are. Their reactions to your speech will differ quite a bit compared to those of your peers and instructors. They're already listening to you with pride and they'll be the most forgiving of any group.

Finally, one last important piece of advice: what those three groups (and others) expect, hope, wish or need to hear will not be identical. Each will have its own motivations and desires. They won't always be compatible. As a writer, your job is to weigh the pros and cons of addressing each groups needs as you strive to meet your goals for the speech.

This isn't as impossible as it may seem. Like most of your classes, getting taught is often more complicated than practical application. Think about who you're talking to, what you hope they'll take from you, what you suspect they'll want to hear from you... and then worry about how to say it.

Cheers, mate. Life is good. It gets harder from this moment forward. But it also gets better. Keep your hands and feet inside the ride at all times, but never forget to enjoy the ride.

  • +1 I'll definitely remember to think about the audience while writing the script, and not just myself!
    – AbVk1718
    Jan 28 at 9:35

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.