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6 Word Graduation Speech

June 2nd, 2011 · 15 Brilliant Opinions · Random Things That Make Me Smile

Wow, I am really excited. I just received an official invitation to speak at my alma mater’s graduation this month.  Before you break out those Ivy League colors – I’m not speaking at Brown or Yale.  I’m going to be the commencement speaker at my former elementary school in Brooklyn. Yep, 35+ years later they have tracked me down!  (I’ll share that  great story in a future post.)

Kids Need a Lot of Love

To be honest, I’m a little nervous about taking this on.  I have no clue what advice I need to give to  10 year olds  (other than wash your hands and use deodorant).  This is where you come in. I am a big fan of Smith Magazine’s six word memoirs.   Please tell me what to say – but in six words only!  I’m calling it the six word graduation speech. Use the comments section below. Hugs and thank you in advance.


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15 Comments so far ↓

  • Leslie D

    Do not make Richard’s same mistake.

    See: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/02/richard-jones-commencement-umuc-_n_870301.html.

    Congrats and good luck with your speech!

  • Nicole

    1. My name is Dr. Ann _____
    2. I’m a graduate of PS ____
    3. You too can be Oprah Winfrey
    4. You too can be President Obama
    5. You too can be Michelle Obama
    6. Science is fun, become a doctor
    7. Play hard, work (study) hard, be successful

  • Courtney Francis

    integrity, industry, intellect, kindness, competitiveness.

  • Ann

    Courtney – You’re missing a word! 🙂

  • Stacerella

    Pull up your pants, future plumbers!


  • Ann

    Stacerella – Big P is going to love your comment!

  • Arminda

    Always tell yourself, “Yes, you can!”

  • Ann

    My teachers always told me that!

  • Caralyn Percy

    Recall what it was like to be 10 yrs old. Put a few questions for your audience in the speech so they can respond. (That would be different.) Speak to each individual person (they might be 10 but they’re people). Watch their faces to see if they are getting your communication or just sitting there.

    And if you want a cool book with a ton of common sense, just ask me and I’ll send it to you.

    I used it to raise my kids with and they turned out pretty cool – just like you!!!

    Oh, one more thing. try your speech out on a 10 yr old and see how that person receives what you say.


  • Ann

    Caralyn – thanks for stopping by my blog. I want my readers to know that you were one of those really great elementary school teachers who inspired me. I will email you my address, I need to see that book. Thanks for the great tips.

  • Ann

    (I received the following comment from my former 4th grade teacher, Bernard Percy, via email – I just had to share it with you. Bernard recommended me for this opportunity and has had a powerful influence on my life.)

    I have delivered a couple of graduation talks, at one talk I gave everyone in the graduation class a symbolic gift, a tape measure, and spoke about how you can “measure” your success, and spoke about ways to do that; another time I gave everyone a compass, and spoke about how to find the right direction to take with your life, at another graduation, I advised the speaker to do the same thing, and she gave every child a small art brush to stress the importance of creating your life as an art form. Perhaps there is some symbolic gift or object you can build your talk around – it may be too expensive to give everyone a gift, but at least having an object to symbolize your theme could be very helpful. My six words – KNOW YOUR DREAMS – PURSUE YOUR DREAMS.

    I hope you will have someone record your talk, I would love to see it.

    With admiration and love, as always,


    Bernard Percy

  • Ann

    Nicole – I have one “You to can be a gem!”

  • Ann

    Leslie, Yikes … just clicked on that link. I definitely will be writing my speech down. Thanks for your comment!

  • calvin

    What inspired you when you were ten? Today everyone wants to be a rap star or basketball player. Check the odd. Might be a moment for a joke,i.e.more likely to be hit by lightening than to become a successful Bball player or rap artist. Anyway enjoy the moment. I am sure you will be inspiring.

  • Ann

    I was inspired by sheer poverty. Brooklyn in the ’70s was hip but it was also dangerous, deadly and in some ways demoralizing. Sounds simple, but I just wanted a better life than my parents had.

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