When preparing a speech to be presented by a candidate for or appointed member of a student body, including school captain or president, the student should focus on his or her agenda and vision for the future of the institution to which he or she belongs. School captains, more a legacy of the British academic system than of the American system, may be appointed to the position or be required to run for election. In the case of the latter, in which personality and popularity can be a more dominant factor than academic qualifications and extra-curricular activities, the speech would likely be more political in nature and intended to appeal to the student body. In the case of an already-elected student body president, or in the case of an appointed school captain, politics can be dispensed with in favor of a more substantive recitation of one’s goals for the coming year.
Presumably, any student appointed to or elected as school captain has some sense of where he or she wants the institution to go, and what obstacles may exist. That agenda needs to be clearly articulated and presented in a mature and knowledgeable manner. The agenda may include improved test scores and a greater commitment to social activism for the student body as a whole, and it may represent an attempt at forging a consensus on certain issues in the face of opposition to any number of the school captain’s personal initiatives. An ability to forge compromises in a cordial and reasonably professional atmosphere is generally expected of a student appointed to such a position, and a spoken commitment to work toward that goal is a reasonable component of the speech.
A school captain’s speech can and should contain some reference to those individuals and organizations who acted as positive influences during his or her earlier years at that particular academic institution. Acknowledgement of the roles played by parents, teachers, coaches, and others is generally seen as a sign of emotional maturity, and, assuming the wording employed does not come across as obsequious, is usually appreciated by those in attendance. Similarly, paying homage to predecessors with particularly noteworthy records is usually a good idea, again, though, proper wording needs to be used so as not to appear overly fawning or artificial.
To reiterate an earlier point, how and what to include in a school captain’s speech is partly dependent upon the circumstances, mainly whether there is an ongoing elective process or an election has already been completed and whether the school captain has been appointed to the position based upon academic criteria. The speech should be a positive reflection on the individual and on the institution, with the latter category qualified depending upon any shared perceptions of systemic problems that may exist within the school in question. Part of the agenda included in the speech would naturally address existing flaws or shortcomings in the school’s structure or operation. Recognition of those flaws and articulation of a firm commitment to address them would be entirely appropriate.
A speech must fulfill its purpose, but it should also entertain. Remember, you are the school captain (and still a student), so it does not have to be as serious and long as the principals. Remember, Abraham Lincoln's most famous Gettysburg Address only contained 272 words. However, don't take this lightly or be too brief.
Include some modern or timeless quotes, such as from Dr. Seuss. Make real life references. Don't over-thank the teachers.
Be honest and passionate.