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75 Inspiring High School Graduation Quotes To Celebrate Your Graduate

It could be written on a graduation celebration card or typed out for an Instagram caption for the world to see.

Inspiring High School Graduation Quotes

Whatever those words are in a quote they should be inspirational to truly celebrate your graduate’s achievement.

Finding an unforgettable quote can be difficult which is why we have pulled together 75 of them in several categories.

Take your pick and make sure that your graduate feels respected, adored, encouraged, and celebrated. 

In this guide, we will detail 75 inspiring high school graduation quotes to celebrate your graduate.

This will include truly inspirational quotes, quotes regarding life, and funny yet charming quotes. We will also look at wise and true quotes, and encouraging high school graduation quotes. 

Truly Inspirational

A graduation should feel like a truly inspirational occasion where a graduate feels wholly confident.

They may even want to use the quote to decorate their dorm decor for college. Make sure it is a memorable quote so they want to use it at several points throughout the rest of their life. 

  1. Ilhan Omar: “We are all deserving and we don’t need permission or an invitation to exist and to step into our power.”
  2. Taylor Swift: “No matter what happens in life, be good to people. Being good to people is a wonderful legacy to leave behind.”
  3. Meryl Streep: “It’s amazing what you can get if you quietly, clearly, and authoritatively demand it.”
  4. Michael Jordan: “I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
  5. Michael Phelps: “If you want to be the best you have to do things other people aren’t willing to do.”
  6. Nelson Mandela: “There is no passion to be found in playing small –  in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”
  7. Barack Obama: “Cynicism has never won a war, or cured a disease, or started a business, or fed a young mind, or sent men into space. Cynicism is a choice. Hope is a better choice.”
  8. Fred DeVito: “If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.”
  9. Natalie Portman: “You can never be the best. The only thing you can be the best at is developing yourself.”
  10. Thomas Jefferson: “I’m a greater believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.”
  11. Billie Jean King: “When people tell you not to believe in your dreams, and they say, ‘Why?’, say, ‘Why not?’
  12. Oprah Winfrey: “There is no such thing as failure. Failure is just life trying to move us in another direction.”
  13. Tom Hanks: “The future is always uncertain, but we who celebrate what you have done, who celebrate all of your achievements, we are certain of one thing on this day: You will not let us down.”
  14. Kamala Harris: “The reality is on most matters, somebody is going to make the decision – so why not let it be you.”
  15. Zig Ziglar: “What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.”

Regarding Life Itself

A graduation should feel like the end of a short journey and the start of a longer one.

With that thought in mind, find a quote that puts it all into perspective. Find quotes that reflect life itself and that can be truly inspirational. 

  1. Chadwick Boseman: “Whatever you choose for a career path, remember the struggles along the way are only meant to shape you for your purpose.”
  2. Barack Obama: “All those adults that you used to think were in charge and knew what they were doing? It turns out they don’t have all the answers. A lot of them aren’t even asking the right questions. So, if the world’s going to get better, it’s going to be up to you.”
  3. Minor Myers Jr: “Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.”
  4. Oprah Winfrey: “Follow your passion. It will lead you to your purpose.”
  5. Dr. Seuss: “Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.”
  6. Jim Carrey: “I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which was that you can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.”
  7. Tom Brokaw: “You are educated. Your certification is in your degree. You may think of it as the ticket to the good life. Let me ask you to think of an alternative. Think of it as your ticket to change the world.”
  8. Louisa May Alcott: “Life is my college. May I graduate well, and earn some honors!”
  9. Benjamin Franklin: “An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.”
  10. Nora Ephron: “Your education is a dress rehearsal for a life that is yours to lead.”
  11. Tory Burch: “We may live in an age of instant messaging, instant gratification, and Instagram, but there is no way to short-circuit the path to success.”
  12. Michelle Obama: “It is absolutely still possible to make a difference.”
  13. Malcolm X: “Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today. 
  14. Ellen Degeneres: “The most important thing in your life is to live your life with integrity and to not give into peer pressure to try to be something that you’re not.”

Funny Yet Charming

Inspiring High School Graduation Quotes

The best quotes can be inspirational but also funny and charming.

By finding humor in a quote, you can find the amusing side of a truly great achievement like a graduation. This can also take the sting out of what can be an occasion that proves far too serious.

  1. Michael Altschuler: “The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.”
  2. Lin-Manuel Miranda: “My dear terrified graduates, you are about to enter the most uncertain and thrilling period of your lives.”
  3. Winston Churchill: “Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.”
  4. Vincent van Gogh: “If you hear a voice within you say, ‘You cannot paint’, then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.”
  5. Sandra Bullock: “You have to dance a little bit before you step out into the world each day, because it changes the way you walk.”
  6. George W. Bush: “To those of you who received honors, awards, and distinctions, I say well done. And to the C student, I say you too may one day be President of the United States.”
  7. George Foreman: “I think sleeping was my problem in school. If school had started at 4.00 in the afternoon, I’d be a college graduate today.”
  8. Muhammad Ali: “If they can make penicillin out of moldy bread, they can sure make something of you.”
  9. Erma Bombeck: “Graduation day is tough for adults. They go to the ceremony as parents. They come home as contemporaries. After 22 years of child-raising, they are unemployed.”
  10. Garry Trudeau: “Commencement speeches were invented largely in the belief that outgoing college students should never be released into the world until they have been properly sedated.”
  11. Russell Baker: “The best advice I can give anybody about going out into the world is this; ‘Don’t do it’. I have been out there. It is a mess.”
  12. Art Buchwald: “I could have said something profound, but you would have forgotten it in 15 minutes, which is the afterlife of a graduation speech.”
  13. Jon Stewart: The unfortunate yet truly exciting thing about your life, is that there is no core curriculum. The entire place is an elective.”
  14. Neil Gaiman: “Be wise because the world needs wisdom. If you cannot be wise, pretend to be someone who is wise, and then just behave like they would.”
  15. Andy Samberg: “You are graduating from college. That means that this is the first day of the last day of your life. No, that’s wrong. This is the last day of the first day of school. Nope, that’s worse. This is a day.”
  16. Aaron Sorkin: “You’re going to fall down, but the world doesn’t care how many times you fall down, as long as it’s one fewer than the number of times you get back up.”

Wise And True

If you want to sound like the experienced head at a graduation ceremony, find a quote that proves wise and true.

That way, your graduate can leave the ceremony like they have learned another one of life’s lessons. Sure, the words have come from someone else but they sure do sound wise when written down. 

  1. C.S. Lewis: “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”
  2. Henry David Thoreau: “Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.”
  3. James Freeman Clarke: “If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.”
  4. Arleen Lorrance: “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”
  5. Walt Whitman: “Keep your face toward the sunshine and shadows will always fall behind you.”
  6. B.B. King: “The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you.”
  7. Martin Luther King Jr: “Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.”
  8. Arthur Ashe: “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”
  9. C.S. Lewis: “There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.”
  10. Cory Booker: “Real courage is holding on to a still voice in your head that says, ‘I must keep going.’ It’s that voice that says nothing is a failure if it is not final. That voice that says to you, ‘Get out of bed. Keep going. I will not quit.”
  11. Kerry Washington: “Your life is your story and the adventure ahead of you is the journey to fulfill your own purpose and potential”
  12. Ralph Waldo Emerson: “What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us.”
  13. Mark Twain: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
  14. Sandra Day O’Connor: “Now the first suggestion is to aim high, but be aware that even before you have reached your ultimate professional destination, if you always strive for excellence, you can and should have a substantial impact on the world in which you live.”
  15. Aerie Pencovici: “Graduation is only a concept. In real life every day you graduate. Graduation is a process that goes on until the last day of your life. If you can grasp that, you’ll make a difference.”

Encouraging High School Graduation Quotes

You should be welling with pride at a high school graduation ceremony, whether you are a sibling, parent, grandparent, or best friend.

While that’s a natural response to a graduation, this is the best time to push your graduate that little bit further. Here are some graduation quotes that display that pride and encourage your graduate to go further.

  1. Ariana Grande: “Don’t ever doubt yourselves or waste a second of your life. It’s too short and you’re too special.”
  2. Anne Frank: “The best remedy for those who are frightened, lonely, or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be alone with the sky, nature, and God. For only then can you feel that everything is as it should be and that God wants people to be happy amid nature’s beauty and simplicity.”
  3. Shonda Rhimes: “Dreams are lovely. But they are just dreams. Fleeting, ephemeral, pretty. But dreams do not come true just because you dream them. It’s hard work that makes things happen. It’s hard work that creates change.”
  4. Madeleine Albright: “Real leadership comes from the quiet nudging of an inner voice. It comes from realizing that the time has come to move beyond waiting to doing.”
  5. Jodie Foster: “There is nothing more beautiful than finding your course as you believe you bob aimlessly in the current. Wouldn’t you know that your path was there all along, waiting for you to knock, waiting for you to become. This path does not belong to your parents, your teachers, your leaders, or your lovers. Your path is your character defining itself more and more every day like a photograph coming into focus.”
  6. Sandra Day O’Connor: “Now the first suggestion is to aim high, but be aware that even before you have reached your ultimate professional destination, if you always strive for excellence, you can and should have a substantial impact on the world in which you live.”
  7. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: “As you graduate, as you deal with your excitement and your doubts today, I urge you to try and create the world you want to live in. Minister to the world in a way that can change it. Minister radically in a real, active, practical, get your hands dirty way.”
  8. Whoopie Goldberg: “You could travel with the sheep, follow everybody else’s stuff, but then you’re not you. I guess if you want to say anything it’s ‘Be you’. Be true to you, and that should make the ride a little more interesting.”
  9. Janelle Monáe: “I celebrate you as you remember the power of grace and pride, and I challenge you to choose freedom over fear.”
  10. Amy Poehler: “You can’t do it alone. Be open to collaboration. Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you. Spend a lot of time with them and it will change your life.”
  11. Joy J. Gulliver: “The meaning of life is to find your gift, the purpose of life is to give it away.”
  12. Selena Gomez: “Success is nothing if you don’t have the right people to share it with; you’re just going to end up lonely.”
  13. Bobbi Brown: “No job or task is too small or beneath you. If you want to get ahead, volunteer to do the things no one else wants to do, and do it better.”
  14. Ruth Westheimer: “My favorite animal is the turtle. The reason is that in order for the turtle to move, it has to stick its neck out. There are going to be times in your life when you’re going to have to stick your neck out. There will be challenges, and instead of hiding in a shell, you have to go out and meet them.”
  15. Sandra Bullock: “When someone who loves you hugs you, hug them back with two arms – don’t do the one-arm hug, because when you hug someone with two arms, it allows you to lean on somebody, and we all need someone to lean on.”

Final Thoughts

When it comes to selecting inspiring high school graduation quotes to celebrate your graduate, there are many to choose from.

It can help when you know what sort of an impact you want to have at the ceremony.

Do you want the quote to be truly inspirational, funny, wise yet true, or encouraging? Whatever it is, choose it well and you can continue to inspire your graduate for the rest of their journey through life. 

To make an even bigger impact, write the quote out in a card that they can have on display. Even a post-in can work wonders when it is placed in the right location.

If the quote truly works then it may even be used to decorate the graduate’s dorm room when they get to college.

You could simply text the quote to your graduate so they always have it in their smartphone and can easily remind themselves of its wisdom and significance. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are Some Short And Sweet High School Graduation Quotes?

Inspirational quotes do not have to be long and unwieldy so consider a condensed one for a bigger impact.

The shorter and sweeter the better for a quote that hits the mark but does not overdo its welcome. Here are ten that work really well.

  • Alicia Keys: You already have everything you need inside of you right now, today.”
  • Carol Burnett: “When you have a dream, you’ve got to grab it and never let go.”
  • Eleanor Roosevelt: “You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”
  • Alfred Mercier: “What we learn with pleasure we never forget.”
  • Jennifer Aniston: “There are no regrets in life. Just lessons.”
  • Dr. Suess: “Kid, you’ll move mountains.”
  • Albert Einstein: “Your imagination is your preview of life’s coming attractions.”
  • Steve Jobs: “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.”
  • Mother Teresa: “In this life, we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love.”
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger: “You can’t climb the ladder of success with your hands in your pockets.”

Which Graduation Quotes Would Look Great On Instagram?

The great thing about quotes is that you can share them with the world and inspire others. That includes various quotes that you can use for a graduation ceremony. Here are just ten that would look great when shared on the ‘gram.

  • Jack Dempsey: “A champion is someone who gets up when he can’t”
  • Taylor Swift: “You will screw it up sometimes.”
  • Arthur Ashe: “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”
  • Eleanor Roosevelt: “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”
  • Ariana Grande: “There’s always going to be someone who doesn’t like you.”
  • Sun Tzu: “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
  • C.S. Lewis: “There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.”
  • Lady Gaga: “Don’t you ever let a soul in the world tell you that you can’t be exactly who you are.”
  • Dua Lipa: “Be kind to yourself a little more every day.”
  • Gig Hadid: “Work so hard that you never have to introduce yourself.”
Simon Lewis

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