High School Graduation Songs

Susie McGee
Sheet music

In most schools, high school graduation songs are one of many senior class symbols, along with such things as class colors, a class flower, and a class quote. The chosen song provides a memento of the year, bringing back treasured memories whenever it is heard in the future. When choosing one for your school, there are many to pick from.

Song Ideas for Graduation

Most high school graduation songs focus on the themes of remembering the good times and the promise of the future.

The following are some popular song choices:

  • "I Will Remember You" by Sarah McLachlan
  • "Friends" by Michael W Smith
  • "Seasons of Love" from Rent
  • "Imagine" by John Lennon
  • "Graduation Song" by Vitamin C
  • "In My Life" by The Beatles
  • "For Good" from Wicked
  • "The Rose" by Bette Midler
  • "You'll Never Walk Alone" from Carousel
  • "One Moment in Time" by Whitney Houston
  • "I Hope You Dance" by Lee Ann Womack
  • "This is the Moment" from Jekyll and Hyde
  • "Time of Your Life" by Green Day
  • "Today" by Smashing Pumpkins
  • "Graduation Day" by the Beach Boys
  • "Firework" by Katy Perry
  • "Don't Look Back" by Boston
  • "The Dance" by Garth Brooks
  • "Right Now" by Van Halen
  • "I'm Moving On" by Rascal Flatts
  • "End of the Road" by Boys II Men
  • "Breakaway" by Kelly Clarkson
  • "Wind Beneath My Wings" by Bette Midler
  • "This Is the Time to Remember" by Billy Joel
  • "This Is Your Life" by Switchfoot
  • "Do I Make You Proud" by Taylor Hicks
  • "What a Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong
  • "How Far We've Come" by Matchbox 20
  • "Better Things" by Dar Williams
  • "Changes" by Tupac
  • "Please Remember Me" by Tim McGraw
  • "We Are the Champions" by Queen
  • "Fly Like an Eagle" by Steve Miller Band
  • "Arms Wide Open" by Creed
  • "High School Never Ends" by Bowling for Soup
  • "My Generation" by The Who
  • "High School" by John Mayer
  • "Long and Winding Road" by the Beatles
  • "Born to Run" by Bruce Springsteen
  • "Congratulations" by Rolling Stones
  • "A Little Help from My Friends" by the Beatles
  • "Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow" by Fleetwood Mac
  • "Thank You for Being a Friend" by Andrew Gold

Choosing a Song

High school classes often play graduation songs at senior events like prom and the actual graduation ceremony, so they should be chosen with a varied audience in mind. Songs can't have any inappropriate language or suggestive lyrics. It's also important to consider the type of music. Pop music, show tunes, and country music will be more accessible to all listeners than some other genres like heavy metal or rap. Many band, orchestra, and choir directors make a point of having their students perform the senior song, so you may also want to consider the availability of orchestral and choral arrangements of potential songs.

If you're getting ready to make the high school graduation song decision, consider the following steps:

  • Gather song ideas/nominations from students. Make announcements and spread the word to your friends and classmates that this is their chance to let their opinions be heard.
  • Have class officers narrow the ideas down to a reasonable number to present on a ballot. Four to six songs would be ideal. The officers can make cuts by only choosing songs with multiple nominations and by eliminating songs that may present problems, such as a song with vulgar lyrics.
  • Create and print ballots.
  • Ask the senior students to vote for their favorite song. If the school will allow it, a class-wide assembly is the easiest way to hold a vote. This will bring the largest number of seniors together at the same time and hopefully allow more students to have a say in the final decision. Voting can also take place during homeroom, lunch periods, or before and after school. This entire process can also take place alongside voting for other class symbols. Simply expand the nomination and ballot guidelines.
  • If possible, before voting, play the songs for students or offer a chance to read the lyrics. Some students may be swayed by a good title without realizing what the song is really about or how it sounds, leading to a vote for a song they don't really enjoy.
  • If you are not holding the vote during an assembly, you may need to take steps to prevent ballot stuffing. One way to do this is to create a class list and cross off each student's name as he or she is given a ballot.
  • Count the votes.
  • Present the results to the senior class through an announcement and possibly a bulletin board or other public display.

The most popular way to choose a high school graduation song is to have a vote. Some schools also leave the final decision up to the senior class officers, while others allow the music department to decide.

The Song Makes Graduation Special for Years

The right graduation song can lend ambience to the graduation ceremony and make the whole experience more meaningful. No matter which way you go, choose a song that will call up memories of this special time when class members hear it in years to come.

High School Graduation Songs