Graduation Speech Contest

The chairperson will provide a friendly environment to encourage and reassure contestants. The organizers and judges respect the initiative, thought and time invested in all entries.

Our contest chairperson, Marilyn Rowlett, has many years experience with speech and debate. She is acting as the IFHS representative and Mistress of Ceremonies for this contest. A Judging Committee will be appointed from experienced speech coaches in the Indianapolis area (Toastmasters, local teachers, professors, etc.). As a group, they have many years’ experience working with young adults, and they bring to the contest an enthusiasm about the value of speaking skills in every avenue of life.

Contest Date, Time and Location

The Speech Contest will be held in Indianapolis, Indiana at 1 pm on Saturday, March 25, 2017 at the Jordan YMCA, 8400 Westfield Boulevard, Indianapolis, IN 46240. The length of the speech contest depends on the number of graduate participants. The speech contest normally ends around 3 pm.

Results of this Contest

The students who place first and second in this contest will be asked to deliver their speeches again during the commencement ceremony.

Contents of the Speech

The speeches are to be about something that has inspired you. Some examples might include how you were:

  • inspired to improve in any area of your life
  • inspired to be a better citizen
  • inspired to appreciate those around you
  • inspired to choose a certain career
  • inspired to be a better person
  • inspired by a specific person

Ideally, you will be able to tie these into the home schooling experience in some way. These are not to be sermons given to a congregation. You are using your experience to give a graduation speech that may inspire your fellow graduates and their families.

Length of the Speech

Your speech must be 600-900 words, or 5-7 minutes when delivered. Note that the average person speaks at about 150 words per minute.

Judging Criteria

Speeches will be judged according to the following criteria:

  • Speech Development – Structure, Organization, Support Material
  • Effectiveness – Achievement of Purpose, Interest, Reception
  • Speech Value – Ideas, Logic, and Original Thought
  • Physical – Appearance, Body Language
  • Dress – Dress for this speech contest is to be professional, not casual
  • Voice – Flexibility, Volume
  • Manner - Directness, Assurance, Enthusiasm
  • Appropriateness – To Speech Purpose and Audience
  • Correctness – Grammar, Pronunciation, Word Selection

How to Enter

To participate in this contest, please do the following:

  • First, be registered and paid in full for graduation on or before March 1.
  • Write and practice an inspiring speech that will be appropriate for the others in your graduating class, their friends and family, and the occasion. (Be sure to follow the contest speech guidelines. Your speech will be judged according to those guidelines.)
  • Download the speech contest form by clicking here. Complete the form and email it to Marilyn Rowlett at The deadline is March 4, 2017.
  • Reserve Saturday, March 25, 2017, from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm or so for the live competition which will be held at the Jordan YMCA (8400 Westfield Boulevard, Indianapolis, IN 46240).
  • For more information, or for any questions, contact Marilyn Rowlett at or 317-847-6802.

Thank you for your interest and participation. The Indiana Foundation for Home Schooling hopes the best for your preparation and performance!