Writing and delivering a winning speech for a school leadership role requires planning, a sense of purpose and practice. No matter whether you are hoping to be picked for school captain, school president or class president, you need to convince others that you really, really want the job for all the right reasons. Make your speech less about you and more about what you can do to serve others and make a difference.
What Is a School Captain?
A school or class captain in the British school system is like a school or class president in the American school system. Despite different titles, the roles are similar. The purpose of a student leadership position is to act as a positive role model, encourage school spirit and embody school beliefs and values. A school captain is a go-between for teachers and students to represent the student voice and to ensure excellent two-way communication.
School Captain Responsibilities
Duties vary somewhat by school, but typically, assignments include bringing forward student concerns to the administration to advocate for positive change, such as healthier food options on the school menu and in vending machines. Student leaders may head a committee to plan student activities that will build a sense of community. Other tasks may include giving tours of the school to visitors and greeting parents who are attending functions.
Serious School Captain Speeches
Before launching your campaign or drafting your speech, interview a cross section of your classmates to find out what they like about the school and what improvements they hope to see in the upcoming year. Develop a consistent message in your campaign materials and speech that identifies your goals based on an assessment of student needs.
Do not fall into the trap of making grandiose promises just to be chosen by administration or voted into office. The tone of your speech should be upbeat, positive and high energy to hold your listeners' attention.
Humorous Class Captain Speech
If you are witty, outgoing and considered the class clown, you may want to interject humor into your speech. A funny but teacher-approved story will show your likable and relatable side.
For instance, you may want to share that you were cast as a juggler in the school play when making the point that you are experienced at juggling multiple tasks. However, do not go overboard with humor, or you run the risk of not being seen as a serious contender who will work hard.
Prepare Your Speech
Speeches are like English essays, with a strong beginning, middle and end. Keep in mind how much time you will be allotted because you may be cut off if you exceed the time limit. Outline your speech with main points and then write out your speech to avoid stumbling on your words or rambling.
Start with an introduction that includes your name, year in school and the reasons you are highly qualified to serve as school captain. List specific examples of your prior accomplishments in extracurricular activities and student organizations. Mention that you are a visionary student who believes every student should feel welcome and supported at the school.
In the body of your speech, identity two or three goals or issues you would like to address if selected for the position. Emphasize your leadership qualities. For instance, you might state that other students and teachers would describe you as outgoing, approachable, dedicated and responsible. End with an action statement summarizing what you hope to accomplish and directly ask for their vote or support. Show a draft of your speech to a favorite teacher and ask for feedback.
Practice Your Speech
Stand in front of a mirror at home and practice your speech or enlist your family as an audience. You should sound eager and excited to represent and serve fellow students. Smile, maintain good eye contact and use gestures intentionally. Speak clearly and articulate your words. Pretend you are confident even if you are shaking and super nervous. That is perfectly normal and does not mean you are not leadership material.
Dr. Mary Dowd is a dean of students whose job includes student conduct, leading the behavioral consultation team, crisis response, retention and the working with the veterans resource center. She enjoys helping parents and students solve problems through advising, teaching and writing online articles that appear on many sites. Dr. Dowd also contributes to scholarly books and journal articles.