Speeches on public occasions


The mission of Nowra  Christian School is to provide a Christian educational community as a centre of teaching and learning excellence, founded on Biblically based beliefs, values and behaviour.

In pursuing its mission, the School seeks to honour God in all that it does. Public celebrations, such as Graduation dinners, Thanksgiving Night and the like provide an opportunity honour God and reflect well on different members of the School community. It is unfortunate that they can also reflect poorly if words are not carefully chosen and considered.

It is the policy of NCS that all speeches at public occasions be crafted so that the possibility of offence is minimised and the possibility of building up and encouraging others is maximised.

To that end the following guiding principles and procedures have been designed by the School.

Guiding Principles

  • All speeches delivered at formal School occasions are to honour God and reflect the School's ethos;
  • Public speeches can be difficult to give, as the hearer brings his/her own experiences to what is being said and can therefore interpret a statement (such as an 'in" joke between a class and its teacher) in a way that is not only unintended, but completely unanticipated by the author.

  • While we understand that the person giving the speech will have a message and perspective that they wish communicated, the School must exercise its responsibility to meet the goals of the function and to be sensitive to the various members of the School community who are attending the function.

  • Speeches should not contain references that might cause any offence;

  • This is particularly important in the use of references to individual students or staff members;

  • Humour should be used with great care;

  • There should be no over emphasis in references to individual staff members, as effusive references can cause that individual embarrassment[1]

  • Speeches are to be written and not ad lib

  • Speeches should reflect the occasion: formal events demand a more formal structure, use of language and clear, precise elocution;

  • On balance, speeches are to be significantly weighted towards positive comments. Any approved negative comments are to be balanced by liberal amounts of encouragement and, where appropriate, practical advice. Any criticisms of outside bodies (eg Government decisions) must be approved by the Principal and are to be entirely non-partisan in content and delivery.

  • Thanking people for who they are, what they have done etc. can be most appropriate, but it is important that our speeches reflect the reality that all good things ultimately reflect the goodness of God, and it is to Him that the glory and praise belongs

  • Wherever possible, the Principal or emcee should make reference to the speeches of others and build on what has been said previously at the function so that the message of others is reinforced.


To maximise the likelihood of the above guiding principles being followed:

  • People who are asked to deliver a speech are to be given a copy of this document when the request to make the speech is made;

  • Requests to make a speech should be made with reasonable notice (at least 2 weeks, where possible);

  • The Principal should have his speech checked by a second staff member with gifts in the area of verbal communication;

  • Other staff members who are making speeches should show their written speech to a member of the executive at least 2 days before the function;

  • Students who are making speeches should show their written speech to a member of the executive at least 2 days before the function;

  • Others who are asked to give a speech would normally be asked to present a draft of the speech to a member of the School executive at least 2 days before the function;

  • Any changes considered necessary or helpful would be discussed with the orator with ample notice for them to practice the modified speech;

  • The orator is to ensure that s/he remains faithful to the written copy when delivering the speech.

[1] The exception to this principle is in the case of a farewell to a staff member, but even here, ultimately, the glory and praise is due to God for the way that He has equipped and enabled that staff member.


NCS Skoolbag