The Best Graduation Toasts

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Toasting with glasses of wine.
Toasting with glasses of wine. (Image: .shock/iStock/Getty Images)

Graduation is an important milestone for any student. It signifies an end to one journey and the start of another. A toast can be a couple sentences long or a more lengthy tribute. They can be original or include quotes from famous writers. Ultimately, the best graduation toasts take just a little planning and come from the heart.

Personalize Your Toast

Since toasts typically happen at events highlighting one person, take the time to personalize your speech. When toasting, talk directly to the subject. Pay her personal compliments on her recent achievement. The best graduation toasts are specific. Use your personal knowledge of that person and fill your toast with positive words. Think of qualities or characteristics that set your graduate apart and use those to start your speech.

Mention Accomplishments

Use the toast as a moment to recognize your graduate's accomplishments. For example, when toasting a high school student, talk about her involvement in sports teams, clubs or other programs. Mention any recent awards or achievements in grades or outstanding test performance. Announce scholarships or college plans. For college graduates, focus on their studies, research or other degree specific compliments. Use this opportunity to recognize the work and dedication required of your graduate.

Use Anecdotes

Take the time to think of a story or experience you know about your graduate. The story can be serious or humorous. Pick one that focuses on the positive qualities of the subject of your toast. Make sure it is not too long or an inside joke because you don’t want to bore your audience with a story that never ends or that won't be understood. Pick something simple, but fitting for your graduate. It can be a firsthand experience or from a fellow student or teacher.

Give Advice for the Future

Last of all, the best graduation toasts conclude with your advice about the next step the graduate faces. Sayings like “Your schooling may be over, but remember to open your mind to new opportunities to learn” work well as ending statements. You can also quote music lyrics that pertain to your graduate, find a famous quotation that applies and use it to end your speech.

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