Sunday, September 27, 2020
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Call for graduation speeches, Class of 2010

Attention: every student speaking at a high school graduation ceremony! Please join us in our annual Verbo de Verbo Project, as several students from the Class of 2010 simultaneously record their graduation speeches on our pages. The goal is to create a mosaic, a gallery of “snapshots” in the form of words, about life in our great schools.

How do I submit my speech?

Email it to That’s all there is to it. We’ll contact you once we receive the speech for more information. If you would prefer a telephone call to confirm necessary information, please include your phone number in the email.

Some common questions we received last year are answered below, but there’s not much to it.

How long do I have to submit my speech?

We will close the submission deadline on June 15, 2010. We know not everyone has constant access to a computer, so even though you may have delivered your speech on May 20, take the time you need.

Can I send in pictures?

Sure, but just one. Pictures of the graduation ceremony itself or your senior photo are acceptable, and we will publish them along with your speech. We can accept pictures in just about any format, but don’t alter the picture too much.

You may certainly crop the edges. You may also perform minor adjustments, like color balancing, that are intended to make the image on your screen resemble the scene that was before your eyes as closely as possible.

Certainly, please don’t add or subtract any elements from the photo. Images that purport to depict reality must be genuine in every way (except for the recognized practice of cropping to omit extraneous outer portions).

What if I cheat?

Look, we trust you. We couldn’t possibly check every speech for accuracy or verify that you actually spoke the words you sent in. Along with this trust, though, goes our hope that you will understand that any significant departure from your actual speech only subverts the goal of the community project.

Of course, if we’re presented with evidence that your speech wasn’t actually given this year, we’ll remove it from the site.

Attachment or text? Word or WordPerfect?

Your choice. To keep it simple, just copy the text of your speech and paste it into the email message. But if we get attachments in any common format, we can certainly deal with them.

Is it open to students outside Illinois?

Absolutely. Our personal invitations were sent to principals in Illinois, because we’re an associate member of the Illinois Principals Association, and those names were readily available to us. However, if you happened onto this page and would like to participate, just send us your speech as if you were invited, because you are.

Can middle school students participate?

Yes. The site is obviously intended for high schools, but we don’t discriminate on the basis of age. Graduation ceremonies are important things, and we have a place of honor for all students asked to speak at theirs.

Who’ll own my speech?

You will. You own the speech. You own the copyright.

What you’re doing is granting a limited license to Voxitatis to reproduce your speech. Here’s the deal in its entirety: “By submitting to Voxitatis, you are promising that the content is original, doesn’t plagiarize from anyone or infringe a copyright or trademark, doesn’t violate anybody’s rights, and isn’t libelous or otherwise unlawful or misleading. You are agreeing that we can use your submission on the Verbo de Verbo Project, the annual collection of graduation speeches on Voxitatis.”

Do I keep the copyright on the speech?

Yes. See the answer above.

Do I have to make my full name public?

It’s certainly our preference that you do. And we think it adds a personal dimension to your speech. But, no, it’s not a requirement. However, we will need to know your full name so we can confirm with your school’s principal that you actually gave the speech. If you don’t want your full name published, just let us know.

What about specifying my location?

When we receive your initial email, we’ll follow up and request your school, the location of your school, and the date, time, and location of your graduation ceremony. Please respond to our return emails as quickly as possible, since we won’t be able to publish your speech until your principal confirms you wrote it and delivered it.

When will I start seeing results on the Web?

By June 15, we hope to have every submission published on our pages. There will be a link from the front page at once the speeches are published and available to the public. However, the timeframe depends on the number of speeches we receive and how much editing we have to do. We reserve the right to correct spelling, punctuation, and paragraphing, since these written elements do not affect the words spoken. We will only make corrections for the purposes of clarity or ease of reading on a Web page.

How can I find out if you’ve used my speech?

Our plan — repeat, “plan” — is to post every speech we receive. So your work will almost certainly be included, unless it fails any of the tests mentioned above or your principal expresses reservations about publishing it when we contact him or her.

The interactive gallery that will appear by June 15 takes the form of a search engine through which you can find speeches by author, school, location, or phrases.

Will I get paid?

Not by us. But the speech is yours, after all. Our simple reproduction of your speech does not prevent you from publishing it anywhere else.

Can I remove my speech after I submitted it?

Sure. Just let us know you would like your speech removed. It’s not possible for us to imagine all the reasons you might have for asking us to do this, but we’ll respect your wishes. We hope you don’t ask for it to be removed, though, since we think the collective project has a value beyond the sum of its parts.

What if I still have questions?

Ask us in an email. Send that email with questions to If we feel your question is of a general nature, we’ll add it to this page, but otherwise, we’ll fulfill our customer service role and get back to you as soon as we can.

Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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