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Recipe for a Graduation Song


1 c. inspirational

1/2 c. nostalgia-inducing

2 tbsp. sentimental

2 tbsp. anthemic

1 tsp. passage of time

(optional) a pinch of advice-giving

Combine dry ingredients. Incorporate tears from one graduating class. Bake on 375° for 12 minutes. Serve warm.


Read on for The Prompt Mag’s fresh-baked graduation speech playlist!

Dennis William doesn’t really know the words, but…

I’m going to say “Graduate” by Third Eye Blind. Even though the only part I know is the line “Can I graduate?!” For all I know, it’s another ballad about drug addiction and borderline sexual assault. But he says it with so much angst and the lyric is so on the nose, I can’t pass it up.

Zach Straus answered in 525,600 seconds.

Maybe it’s because I went to a high school with a fair number of, shall we say, “artistic types,” but “Seasons of Love” from Rent is the song I always associate with graduations and their subsequent stage-crying-turned-kinda-real-crying-turned-ugly-crying.

As I theater kid, Dennis William is back again to to say, “Fuck that song and the 525,600 times I heard it.” And Poseidon’s gay seahorse it rode in on.

Erin Vail runs down the hits.

My senior song was “Bittersweet Symphony,” which is fine. Not exactly a tearjerker but nostalgic enough. The class a few years before me had “Closing Time” by Semisonic as their senior song and not gonna lie, it still makes me tear up! Why is that song so sad?

Related to crying at graduation–I was in my high school a capella group (full brag) and every year at graduation we had to sing this song called “Wanting Memories” and I legit sobbed through it singing at my graduation. The lyrics begin with “I am sitting here wanting memories to teach me/to see the beauty of the world through my own eyes.” It’s about memories! And being your own person! And all the people who have helped you and loved you. Peak graduation sadness!

I thought N. Alysha Lewis said “making out those four years.”

My class song was “How Far We’ve Come” by Matchbox Twenty. I voted for it because, well, I like Matchbox Twenty, but also because all the other options were just popular songs from that year that didn’t really match the spirit of graduating from high school.

Besides, what better way to describe making it out of those four years, which were touted as the best years of our lives but were just a handful of years we were stuck with people we’d never talk to again, than “I’m waking up at the start of the end of the world, but it’s feeling just like every other moment before.”

Did Josh Bard even graduate, bro?

A song I think about a lot when I think of high school graduation, is Eve 6’s “Here’s to the Night.” I wasn’t my graduation song, but I also don’t think we had a graduation song, and it actually came out a year before I graduated high school. But it was always around my senior year and was perfectly, terribly sappy. Also the music video was made to look like someone took a camcorder out at a high school party, and having gone to at least 3 high school parties, it came decently close to recreating some of those moments.

Jillian Conochan gives a nod to the South River Rams.

I was so, so very over high school by the time I graduated that I ate my lunch on my lap in the library for the last 10 weeks of school, so I’ll be damned if I know what our graduation song was. This story is about my dad, who you may have read about before. Mr. Conochan had a late in life career change, and as a middle school math teacher, he is determined to stay cool(ish) and relevant by, among other things, keeping tabs on music that appeals to Generation Z. That’s why I can’t hear “The Climb” by a pre-hair chop Miley Cyrus without getting a little choked up. When his students chose it as their 2010 graduation song, he listened with sincerity and its lyrics won him over. I hadn’t heard “The Climb” until he exposed me to it, and I can’t deny it’s a perfect little number for a graduation ceremony.

But wait… there’s more! Head on over to Spotify and stream The Prompt Presents Songs to Accompany Your Graduation Speech.

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