It’s graduation time for high school students worldwide and Beijing is no different. In Beijing, international high school graduations started in May and stretch throughout the month of June. Yesterday, we covered the Dulwich Graduation, while today we take a look at the ceremony of BISS which took place in late May. Stay tuned each weekday for the next two weeks as we take a look at every one of Beijing’s international high school graduations.
The BISS graduation took place on May 27th 2011 at the scenic garden of the Shangri-La Hotel. The 16 graduates from 9 countries donned black robes, white scarves, red tassels and wide smiles all around. The intimate ceremony featured performances from BISS students and faculty, including the BLISS Choir, the BISS Strings and the BISS Flutes.
Seung Min (Michelle) Pack from Korea was awarded the Head of School Award, having achieved the highest academic grades in the school for the last two years. She has been accepted to Binghamton University (School of Management) and Hong Kong Polytechnic University, and is still to decide where she will go for school.
Following the ceremony refreshments were served, and laughter and joy was enjoyed by all as graduates chatted with parents and teachers. The day after, the school prom took place at a Gulou area restaurant. Students arrived in trishaws and posed for photos in the old historic district.
Check out more photos from the graduation at our gallery here.
The graduating class speech was written and delivered by two students, Yu Ann Tan and Frena Hailekiros Gessesse, who were selected by the class.
Yu Ann is from Singapore and has been living in Beijing for four years. She has been accepted to Hong Kong University (HKU) and is waiting to hear from the National University of Singapore (NUS) before she makes a final decision of where she will be going for college.
Frena is from Ethiopia and has been in Beijing for five years. Frena has been accepted to the University of British Columbia (UBC), the University of Toronto, and Carleton University. She is still deciding which university she will attend. She was also awarded the International Understanding award.
Here is the graduating class speech delivered by Yu Ann and Frena:
Most of our life is a series of images. They pass us by like towns on the highway. But sometimes a moment stuns us as it happens. And we know that this instant is more than a fleeting image. We know that this moment, every part of it, will live on forever. The opportunities that BISS has given us, the friendships that we have made, the lunches at the Chinese restaurant and Macdonalds, coffee runs during lunch, riding through Ping Yao at breakneck speed, attending everyone’s birthday parties. These moments and the people that we have shared it with will live with us forever more.
But now is the time that we are going to be taking the next step. And this would make you wonder, how long it takes to change your life? What measure of time is enough to be life altering? Is it four years like high school? One year? A week on Activity Week, Biology Class everyday with Alex Hong, four days of ACAMIS, hours spent looking for Zainab? Can your life change in a month, or a week, or a single day? We’re always in a hurry to grow up, to go places, to get ahead. Maggie running her own empire, Kyu Eon discovering the cure for cancer, Hugo setting up a worldwide fast food chain, and Monique becoming Mrs. Bieber.
One hour or even a minute can change everything. Reaching your goals might mean the world to you, but as Roald Dahl says, “watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places”. Sure, work as hard as you can to get to where you want to. But don’t forget to live by the wise words of Mika, Relax, Take It Easy and don’t let the world spin madly on.
Everyone sitting here today whether you’re 18, or as old as Mr. Saunders or should I say young, is capable of succeeding in doing absolutely amazing things. You might think that when you grow up, you want to be famous, you want to be a star, you wanna be in movies. Drive nice cars, you wanna have… certain body parts. But success is not measurable in the number of cars you drive, or the number of zeroes in your paycheck. Success is the moment of self-realization. With the realization of ones own potential and confidence in your ability, you can build a better world. That sort of confidence is not a blind one; it is an awareness of your own potential. On that basis, we can transform ourselves by increasing the good qualities and reducing the negative qualities. Love life and the people around you. Because when we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too. As the Dalai Lama says, "Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions."
The IB journey has lasted 2 years. Sometimes we traveled alone, sometimes, there were others who took the wheel. But when the destination was reached, it wasn’t a single individual who arrived…it was all of us. Thank you to the teachers, parents, and friends around us who have made us who we are. We are a combination of the all the beautiful things that makes up our world, this is what makes every single one of us unique. No matter what skin colour, race, religion – Hallelujerh, height or weight that we are.
In conclusion, “The best thing to hold onto in life is each other.” Love and live life to it’s fullest. There will be bumps and sometimes even potholes along the way. But sometimes you just have to “build a bridge and get over it”. Remember, Don’t worry about a thing, cus every little thing is gonna be alrighttttt.
To conclude our conclusion, at the end of the day, we need to recognize that we are not playing marked cards, sometimes we win and sometimes we lose in this game of life. Don’t expect to get anything back, don’t expect recognition for your efforts, or your love to be understood.
Instead do things that you truly believe in and enjoy. Not out of pride, arrogance, of living up to expectations or simply because it conveniently fits in your life. Close that door of expectation, change the record, clean the house and get rid of the dust. Only when you stop being the person that others expect you to be, would you become who you truly are.
To conclude the conclusion that we had previously concluded, Dear Graduating Class of 2011, we’ll meet again in the distant future, probably at the opening of John’s art gallery, or at Zainab’s wedding where we will finally meet Mikaela.
Either way, always remember – Inshallah. Everything happens for a reason.
Ci Zhi Jing Li, Tong Zhi Men, Xin Ku Le.