A Graduation Speech “Improvised” by the Valedictorian Character in a Coming-of-Age Film 


Madison Rojas

Fun fact: I made this graphic using AI, what a world we live in!

To all my fellow Cubs, Future Cubs, and Past Cubs, I am writing this introduction the day before this article must be submitted for publication. With tears in my eyes and snot running down my face (from crying of course, I don’t normally let mucus drip willy-nilly from my nose), I struggle to put into words the love I have for satire writing and say goodbye to the dedicated followers of “Madison’s Comedy Column.” But alas, the end is nigh– I am graduating and must close the book on my epic high school years. However, I cannot say goodbye to all the successes, and many many failures, that I’ve achieved in high school without one final satire article. I started my writing career at Mayfield by publishing snarky and slightly pretentious satire pieces for the Mayfield Crier and I will thus end my four years with one final assault on your senses of humor. 

As the day of graduation approaches, I’ve drowned myself in cheesy high school movies in which the ending scenes consist of a bittersweet graduation. One thing I’ve noticed while in this movie spiral is that almost every movie graduation includes a graduation speech by the Valedictorian in which they suddenly go “off-script” and directly address their class by spewing clichés and reminiscing on the movie’s plot. In celebration of my time at Mayfield, I’ve taken some inspo from these films and written my own speech. So please, put your paws together for my last satire article to be published in the Mayfield Crier: A graduation speech “improvised” by the valedictorian character in a coming-of-age film. 


[To set the scene, imagine I am standing in front of a crowd, clad in the classic Mayfield graduation/wedding dress and as the crowd settles down, I look around lovingly at my peers.]

Wow, it’s an honor to be standing up here today to speak on behalf of the amazing class of 2023. To think, just four years ago we were little freshmen in too-big formal blazers and too-short skirts and now, we’re seniors in dresses that are just a little too tight because we got fitted for them in the fall. It’s crazy how fast time has flown, and as I look back on my time at Mayfield, I am so grateful for how much this school has shaped me into the person I am today, someone who is a pretentious menace in Socratic Seminars and an occasional maker of jokes. 

[Now, at this point in the scene I am reminded of a poignant part of the film that happened right before the graduation and instead of continuing my speech, I put down my papers and decide to improvise a new speech based on what I’ve learned over the course of the movie.]

But more than that, I have been shaped by the people around me. 

[I look directly into the crowd and make eye contact with my best friend– who I’m currently fighting with because we had drama earlier in the film– and address this part of the speech to her in hopes of winning her back, and in doing so share just a little too much information with the rest of the audience.] 

Someone once told me that life isn’t about winning or losing, but rather it’s about the friends we make along the way. 

[Cliché count: 1. Also this advice was given to me by my best friend earlier in the film but now it’s finally making sense, duh!] 

Well, they were right. I’ve lost quite a lot in high school: my wallet, the first place title in the State Finals for Cups-Stacking, my car keys, and just recently, my last four baby-teeth. But what these losses have taught me is that even if it’s kinda weird that you’re 18 and still have your baby teeth, your best friend will always accept you for who you are. High school is about making mistakes, and I’ve made many. But it’s also about learning from these mistakes. 

[Cliché count: 2.] 

I made a mistake when I prioritized my cups-stacking career over going to prom with my best friend, and for that, I am sorry. I should’ve known that quickly stacking plastic cups to the music of 2010s pop-stars could never beat dancing my feet off in uncomfortable high heels and trying to avoid getting sweat stains on my brand new dress along with the person who makes me smile the most. 

[At this point the audience is very confused because they had no idea about the beef between me and my bestie so I go back to addressing my class as a whole.] 

What I’ve learned from being in high school is that you can be anything you want to be: you can be valedictorian, get famous by making TikTok “get-ready-with-me’s,” develop a debilitating intolerance to lactose, or you could accidentally become the head of a multilevel marketing scheme. 

[At this last remark I glance at my best friend as she laughs while reminiscing on the moment when we both fell victim to an Instagram pyramid scheme.]

So my fellow graduates of the class of 2023, as you walk across this stage to get your diploma, remember that it matters not what you do, but what you do with what you’ve done… for others. 

[Cliché count: 3]. 

Embrace change, that’s what life is all about. Thank you class of 2023 for changing my life, I am so happy to have walked through life these past four years with you all by my side. We’re graduating and moving on to the next chapter of our lives, so let’s celebrate! 

[The crowd goes wild, everyone cheers and I smile as my best friend in the audience gives me a big thumbs up. Music crescendos, probably something emotional, like Alvin and the Chipmunks. Also, as I walk off the stage I do a backflip, because why not.] 


Well Mayfield, it’s been real. Thanks for reading my silly little words and hopefully they gave you a good chuckle from time to time. I’ll miss all my cubby wubbies! Madison signing off.