Question: Goodbye speech?

PTO Today has given me all the tools I need to get our next group ready to take over for me, but I think they forgot one thing! I need a speech to help me say goodbye as president and how I will miss everyone.

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Advice from PTO Today

Elly writes:

Well, Elly is never short on words! But she doesn’t think that she can (or should) write a generic “Thanks and goodbye” speech suitable to address your group. Instead, Elly thinks your parting words should reflect your own specific journey as a volunteer and PTO president. So rather than write an exit speech for you, Elly’s going to give you some pointers and guidelines to help you create your own tear-jerking, awe-inspiring, worthy-of-a-standing-ovation oration. (And don’t worry, you don’t have to memorize your speech; reading from a page or two with bullets or notes is just fine.)

First off, it’s important that you speak from the heart, so you’ll want to put some time and thought into your message about these talking points:

  • What has volunteering at the school meant to you?
  • How many great friendships have developed and flourished from that involvement?
  • What are some of your favorite events or traditions that you implemented or were proud to participate in?
  • Are there people you want to publicly thank for helping you make those special events happen?

Elly always likes to hear anecdotal bits at retirement parties and farewell gatherings. Sharing a few stories about your journey as a volunteer can give people more insight about your character in and out of PTO. Do you remember why you wanted to volunteer? Your first volunteer assignment? Were you nervous? Can you recall your first the day you were nominated as president? (And did you pass out? Ha!) What advice would you give to those coming after you? Be sure to keep your message positive; don’t burn any bridges or discredit any teachers or faculty. Most important, don’t give yourself too much credit with anything along the lines of “Things are gonna be different without me!” or “You’re going to wish you had someone like me around to deal with that principal!” (Elly strongly doubts you’re that kind of person, though!)

Be sure to mention your favorite accomplishments during your tenure—and Elly doesn’t necessarily mean that fundraiser you managed that took in $90,000. How about the new after-school program that all the kids are talking about? Or the reading buddies program that helped your school’s test scores soar?

Finally, as you hand over the gavel (along with procedures manuals, a job description, and your old copies of PTO Today magazine), be sure to mention that you’re willing to help in the event your new board needs you for anything. Oh, and bring plenty of tissues. Farewell, and best of luck!

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