You Are Cordially Invited To Give A Commencement Address. Any Commencement Address.

 My niece graduated from high school this past weekend. The commencement speaker was a favorite English teacher at the school. His speech was entertaining. Succinct. Poignant. It reminded me a bit of the original “Sunscreen Speech” by Mary Schmich.

I was first made aware of the Sunscreen Speech by the song “Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen) by Baz Luhrman. And like many, I believed that the song was based on a speech that Kurt Vonnegut gave at MIT.

He didn’t. And it wasn’t.

In fact, the song isn’t based on a commencement speech at all. It was modeled after a column that Mary Schmich, of the Chicago Tribune, wrote. Her column that day was the speech she would give if she were ever asked to give one.

And that gave me an idea.

OK. Not really.

 If you read her original column she asks everyone, over the age of 26, to write the commencement speech they would give if ever asked.

So I am.

On Friday.

MY idea begins with asking my readers to participate, too. We’ll all link back here and read each other’s commencement addresses.


(Now I just need to figure out how to have everyone link here in an organized fashion. If any WordPress gurus have suggestions, I’m all ears! Thanks!)

A recap: Write the commencement speech YOU would give to the class of 2010 if you were asked. Use it as your post on Friday, June 18th, 2010 and link back here. Here is the original column by Mary Schmich and below is the song that was inspired by it to help with your inspiration. Have fun! Can’t wait ’till Friday to read your thoughts. Hmmmmm, I’m thinking I may have to come up with a prize, too. (See? I’m flying by the seat of my pants here. Give me a break. I just had one HECK of a weekend!)


(Weekend Update: As stressful as it could have been, it really wasn’t that bad. Thanks to all of you for your support, kind words, prayers and positive thoughts. I am currently feeling very silly looking back on the amount of stress I allowed myself to experience. I learned that I have the tools to handle the crazies. I was kind. Patient. Myself. And thank goodness, it was relatively drama free. Still, it is sooooo good to be home!)


Filed under Lessons Learned

18 responses to “You Are Cordially Invited To Give A Commencement Address. Any Commencement Address.

  1. Aw, can’t wait to read your commencement words of wisdom!

  2. I think I’m overwhelmed.
    I love that song, and that was a great video.

  3. I can’t wait to read your commencement speech. What a great idea and challenge!

  4. angelcel

    I love that speech, love that track. I’m glad all went well at ‘the do’. These things are rarely as bad as we imagine. Thank goodness.

  5. I may be over 26, but I’m not sure I am capable of writing a commencement speech. Because reading Mary Schmich’s column made me feel like I was 18 again, listening to wise words and needing to hear them.

    But I am very much looking forward to reading yours. Wonderful idea!

  6. Glad you posted this today … I’ll need all week to come up with something! Can I just say “Ditto on the sunscreen” and refer my theoretical graduates to Google? =>

  7. ck

    Can I just copy yours and claim it as my own? That’s not plagiarism if I ask nicely first, right?

  8. unabridgedgirl

    Oooo! I am sad I will be in NOLA. I want to participate! LoL (I am twenty-six…but, um…hey, it still works!) And I want to read all the letters, (though I can do this when I return). Can’t wait. 🙂

  9. This is great! I love the idea. I’m going to do this. What should the title be? Commencement Speech Friday?

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  11. I’m so glad you survived the weekend without deep scars and battle-wounds.

    I can’t wait to read Friday’s post!

  12. Oooh, I’m on board. This will be fun. No idea what I’ll say, but I’ll figure something out. (Unfortunately, I suspect this is the thought process for most commencement speakers…)

  13. Nicki

    I have been so behind in reading blogs I am just now seeing this. I am going to give it a try.

    Glad your weekend was good!!

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  15. I’m also behind in reading blogs but looking forward to doing this…i love that sunscreen song so its very interesting to hear where it came from!

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  18. What a great idea…too bad I’m just catching up on my blogs right now!!

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