Commencement speeches by students are known for their similarity. They’re often quite tame because school administrators often “help” make them so; they don’t want to offend or have a student get off track. The speeches are often a bit heavy on emotionalism and includes many “seize the day” and “this is our moment” elements to them. Those giving the speech have often invested much of their identity into their schooling and they don’t want to mess up.
But the truly great commencement speeches inspire and surprise us and sometimes take a risk to do so. We’ve become so accustomed to the “same-ness and tame-ness” that we are especially pleased when one touches us in profound ways. Truly great communicators know how to touch hearts, how to give us images to remember (I still remember my college commencement speech, given by Chuck Swindoll), and how to, well, make us laugh.
And some commencement speeches make a nation laugh.
Like 8th-grader Jack Aiello. I won’t steal the show because Jack already did that. I’m not sure the people attending this middle school graduation ceremony (often a place where awkwardly-dressed students do awkward things) knew what was about to happen. Watch this:
What a special moment for him as all of the major news outlets have picked this up now. Kudos to Thomas Middle School leadership who allowed this talented leader (he was the president of the 8th grade class after all) show his appreciation in this creative way. I’m sure there are communication principles to be learned here, and some blog on Monday will have that with “5 Things we Can Learn from…” or “3 Take-Aways from…” posts (speaking of same-ness….).
Instead, I’ll just say, “Enjoy your weekend!”