<p>I know a lot of you are valedictorians or salutatorians. What do you say in the speech? I'm not asking for a complete copy or anything, but we have three vals this year, including me, and I imagine it will get pretty boring. The truth is, I've never exactly fit in with my classmates, and most of my friends from school are in different grades. Ever since kindergarten when I was the hippie kid and they were all cousins and weren't allowed to play at my house because my family didn't go to church, I've been just a touch different than everyone else. More recently, we get along fine...but we don't connect on a level other than "no, I won't do your homework and you can't copy my test" or "do you know what time we are supposed to go to _________?"
So...I don't have a lot to say to these people. Every year, the speech/es center on what good friends everyone was and how the val will miss everyone, isn't it sad that we won't see each other every day, but of course we will get together all the time. I'm sort of glad I will be with people I (hopefully) will have more in common with. What should I say to a group of people who are so much on different wavelengths than I am?</p>

<p>Focus on what's wrong with the school. Make your speech an indictment of that which you see as an ill within the American high schooling system, or your individual instantiation of it, and tell them what you think's gone wrong.</p>

<p>No need to go soft. You're the val. They have to listen. Don't be rude, but be blunt. Plus, you might achieve catharsis.</p>

<p>Don't drone on. Whatever you do, think of how much you would hate to listen to a long speech if you were another student, unless it was massively funny.</p>

<p>Just be vague if you can't think of anything else to write. Talk about the future, and how you'll all be going off to new places to start new lives and the changes and decisions you'll be making. You've gotten through high school all right, so it shouldn't be too hard to pull some bs like that.</p>

<p>Thanks for the suggestions. I did write my speech, and I'm happy with it. I did think about pointing out the problems with my school, but really, I liked my school. I liked most of my teachers, some of them I liked quite a lot. They don't offer enough good classes, but they did a good job of letting me take things independent study so I wasn't filling my schedule with art, band, choir, dance, etc. The problem is the local culture, and I'm not in a position to say, "I'm right, your culture sucks, start valuing education and diversity, quit being such close-minded rednecks--and quit killing so many innocent little animals!" I ended up focusing on the positives, mentioning all my favorite teachers, and I did have a little bit on how we should all try to eliminate injustice and promote tolerance.
And my speech shouldn't take more than 3.5 minutes, so it should be tolerable.</p>