Ok, I added some more stuff to the speech, namely stuff about things my parents' generation invented. Still needs some work though, especially with cutting out any fluff and adding in more humor. Again, suggestions welcome.
I'd like to thank Mr. Russell, BW staff and teachers, board members, parents, and my fellow classmates for allowing me the opportunity to represent the class of 2011.
"The greatest way to predict the future is to invent it." This quote by the famous computer scientist Alan Kay reminds us that not only can we be content with wondering about the future, we ourselves must create it. It is up to us individually to work to create our own future. Simply thinking about it and worrying what it holds is not good enough. Furthermore, we graduates as a generation must invent a future for our country. As you all well know, we are entrenched in a time of increasing uncertainty, and it is our responsibility to understand history well enough to ensure that past mistakes are not repeated. Our nation needs all the help it can get, and this is right where we come in. Just as people in the past have been labeled as the "Greatest Generation" or the "Silent Generation," what we do as a whole determines how people will remember us.
So what should we do? Maybe you could start with a quick glance of your surroundings. Take note of every piece of technology around you. (Kind of difficult in a high-school gym, but you get my point.) Take special note of your phone, iPod, flat-screen TV, hybrid car, computer, and even your graphing calculator. Chances are, a lot of those items were developed by the previous generation. In other words, your parents. You may have heard that we are right in the middle of the so-called "Technology Age," and it doesn't look like it's going to end any time soon. Just think back to what life would've been like just 40 years ago. Most of the things you take for granted, especially your cell phone and iPod, did not exist. (Some of you may be thinking, How would I live?) Yet, in just a short time, the things that I just mentioned were developed. Think of what the future would bring; in just 40 more years, life today would seem equally, if not more, prehistoric than in the 70's! Sounds exciting if you ask me. And guess who would be responsible for this? That's right: us.
Finally, how exactly do we plan to invent our future? The answer, at least the one I came up with, is simple. We must strive for greatness in whatever we do; good enough is never good enough. We certainly are the leaders of tomorrow, and no matter how trite that sounds, it is nevertheless true. Some of us will go on to college, others will enter straight into the workforce, and still other courageous individuals will serve our country, whether it be in the Army, Air Force, Navy, or Marines. Regardless of how we start our careers, it is imperative to be aware of the implications of everything we do. With that in mind, take initiative. Don't just predict the future. Invent it.
I like the motif of inventing the future. Perhaps you could bring some humor in with that.
Think about the things that were invented within your parents' lifetime ... personal computers, digital clocks, eight tracks/cassettes/ CDS, cordless phones, cable tv, video games, and microwave ovens. Today's teens have all of those things (with the exception of microwave ovens) within their smartphones. What will the future bring? Use your imagination.
You say that you tried to avoid cliches, but this version of your speech is full of platitudes. Perhaps you could focus on cliches as part of your humor. I'd love to write a graduation speech that was all cliches, including a few (barking up the wrong tree, mistakes were made) that have nothing to do with graduation. I'd end it with, "the ball's in your court."
Try to focus the speech on one topic and bring it around again at the end. Have you seen any of Ellen's graduation speeches? She's a riot, but one of the things that make her speeches successful is the way she wraps them up and brings them full circle. Watch a few graduation speeches on YouTube and decide what you like about them and what turns you off.
Wishing you the best!
Omit everything you can... everything that seems like "typical" speech stuff.
irst of all, I'd like to thank o Our principal, Mr. Russell, BW staff and teachers, board members, parents, classmates -- thank you for for allowing me the opportunity to represent the class of 2011. --------see? BREVITY. Brevity is most important.
...and still other courageous individuals will serve our country.
whether it be in the Army, Air Force, Navy, or Marines. Do not include anything that is unnecessary. The reader/listener will know without needing to be told. That is what makes "good" writing. Let the reader do some of the --
You have a great style. I like Noto's idea of adding humor. It'll make the whole thing more credible. BTW it is a little similar to President Obama's "winning the future" theme.
I also plan to add how my senior class was very successful in a variety of areas, like sports, art, band, etc.
Does this contribute to your purpose? What is the main purpose you want to achieve with this speech? Always ask yourself that...
I would emphasize this word to get everyone's attention:
"The greatestway to predict ...
and I know this does not matter in the speech, but i want to tell you that in written English this spot requires a semi-colon or period:
...us that not only can we be content with wondering about the future; we
ourselves must create it.
and it is not good to say "I myself" or "we ourselves"
We must strive for greatness in whatever we do; good enough is never good enough. ------Hmmmm... I don't think this explanation for inventing the future is "good enough." To invent the future seems to require more than having high standards. Dig deeper here!! :-)
...will serve our country,
whether it be in the Army, Air Force, Navy, or Marines. Again, this is a waste of words... plus, you left out the coast guard and a number of other entities that involve service to the country.
I like 90% of this!! I just have those small criticisms...