Graduation Mottos & Slogans to Celebrate Your Class

Meaningful graduation mottos are perfect as a class slogan, speech, or written in a card for a special grad.

Updated March 31, 2023
Graduate holding degree

Graduation mottos can inspire students and celebrate their accomplishments. While they're often used for high school graduation, they might also be used for middle school or even elementary school graduations. There plenty of slogans to consider, from sentimental and encouraging to lighthearted and humorous. Get started with these ideas!

When to Use a Motto

If you're in your senior year of high school and anxiously approaching the evening when you'll throw your graduation cap off to the wind, graduation mottos are probably something you've heard of and have quickly become familiar with.

High school graduation invitations normally include a meaningful phrase carefully selected to represent the celebration. Often, students will vote on a phrase to use as their graduating class slogan. Depending on your school and graduation committee, the same verse may be used in banners, yearbooks, and on specialty items such as senior t-shirts. You could even include the motto in your graduation bio.

Mottos or slogans might also be used on class programs, newsletters, school websites, ceremony invitations, social media, or even to start or end a graduation speech.

Inspiring Examples of Graduation Mottos

Excited young adult graduate raises cap in hand

It might take a bit of brainstorming to find the perfect graduation motto that reflects those being honored. Current events, your community, and pop culture might impact the decision. Popular songs, books, and movies can also inspire a great slogan. Whether it's a classic motto inspired by a traditional quote, or a more creative phrase based on what's happening now, there are lots of ways to find inspiration for one you'll love.

Check out the following examples of thought-provoking and inspiring graduation mottos. They can be used to commemorate a special day in a speech or written word:

  • The past is my heritage; the present - my responsibility, the future - my challenge.
  • Cherish yesterday, live for today and reach for tomorrow.
  • Our lives are before us, our pasts are behind us, our memories are forever within us.
  • Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers.
  • The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.
  • It matters not what you are thought to be, but what you are.
  • Learn as if you were to live forever, live as if you were to die tomorrow.
  • Nothing we do changes the past - everything we do changes the future.
  • We cannot discover new oceans unless we have the courage to lose sight of the shore.
  • The tassel's worth the hassle.
  • All that stands between the graduate and the top of the ladder is the ladder.
  • The future lies before you, like a field of driven snow. Be careful how you tread it, for every step will show.
  • Put your future in good hands - your own.
  • We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails.
Quick Tip

Mottos also make great graduation gift ideas. If you feel connected to a quotation or a proverb and know of an upcoming graduate, consider engraving the motto on an object such as a trinket box, a locket, a sterling silver photo frame, or on a leather-bound journal.

Graduation Mottos or Slogans From Famous Quotes

A group of cheerful people at graduation

Mottos can be used individually or they can serve as an entire class motto to celebrate an upcoming graduation. If you've been asked to contribute graduation mottos for a deciding vote, consider some of your favorite verses or quotes made popular by distinctive people who have shared their wisdom with society. A favorite author, a legendary hero, or a character who has lived through challenges and risen above to become a better person, can all inspire and feel fitting for this memorable moment.

We love these examples of famous quotes that could work as graduation mottos:

  • "Success is a journey, not a destination." - Arthur Ashe
  • "Don't cry because it is over, smile because it happened." - Dr. Seuss
  • "If you can imagine it, you can achieve it. If you can dream in, you can become it." -William A. Ward
  • "The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet." - Aristotle
  • "An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest." - Benjamin Franklin
  • "Hitch your wagon to a star." - Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • "The man who graduates today and stops learning tomorrow is uneducated the day after." - Newton D. Baker

Pick a Graduation Motto That Has Special Meaning

No matter what type of graduation motto you use, it can be a powerful way to inspire you or celebrate all you've accomplished. Choose a phrase that has special meaning to you, your entire class, or the individual who is graduating. After all, graduation is a such a special event that it deserves its own unique and special words.

Graduation Mottos & Slogans to Celebrate Your Class