It isn't easy to give a good graduation speech. It's hot. The kids just want to get their diplomas. And you've got to keep a huge crowd of kids, parents, and grandparents from falling asleep on you. But if you don't believe it can be done, maybe it's just because you've never heard a REALLY good speaker take to the podium at commencement. Fortunately for the Class of 2013, there have been some good ones!
From Avengers (and Buffy) director Joss Whedon telling Wesleyan grads like it is to a gay high schooler's heart-rending comments about equality, this has been the year for speeches that should be studied by future commencement speakers as a guide of what TO do in front of a class full of new grads.
Behold the best of the best (well, so far):
Joss Whedon at Wesleyan University -- the Class of '87 alum tells his soon-to-be fellow alumni that they're all going to die. But it works:
Stephen Colbert was predictably hilarious in schooling the University of Virginia on its prestigious Playboy ranking and their gift of independence:
He's not famous, but 18-year-old Theodore Chalfen's speech at Boulder, Colorado's Fairview High School was nonetheless inspiring. The openly gay student thanked his classmates for supporting him, sending a message to the world that acceptance for people who are "different" is gaining ground with today's young people:
Balaal Hollings almost didn't make it to his high school graduation. The honor student and senior class president was shot in the head while trying to break up a fight earlier this spring. He wasn't able to finish his senior year, but he managed to make it to graduation ... and walk onstage to give a speech:
TV writer Jon Lovett told Pitzer College grads the hard truth. They're smart, but they're also annoying:
Which is YOUR favorite speech this year? What's the most moving graduation speech you've ever heard?
Image by Jeanne Sager