June 2, 2012, the International Academy of Beijing (IAB) high school graduation of eleven students was a very emotional one. From every corner rang tears of joy, a graduation is a sad and joyous occasion, it’s about leaving the old to pursue the new. IAB is known for its strong ties with the Christian community in Beijing and is a member of the Association of Christian Schools International. The ceremony began with graduate Grace Lee’s student representative address, and was followed by the hymn In Christ Alone, and the prayer for graduates by Mark Schleiff (middle and high school math teacher), whom had much to say on behalf of the students before prayer.
Schleiff said that in the education the graduates have received; what they learned not only took place in the usual classroom but in the classroom of life as well, in society, which is God’s classroom. He admitted that in God’s classroom “God never promised that life would be easy, nice, and pretty.”
After his speech, Schleiff gathered graduates, all IAB teachers (elementary, middle, and high school) together in prayer for the graduates. Graduates and teachers contributed words of prayer. It was a very heartfelt ceremony, one of the teachers in the middle of the prayer team cried, as did many students praying. Overwhelmed with heavy emotions, a student in the audience even had to walk out of the room. IAB is clearly a close-knit community of individuals that care deeply for one another.
In his last words Schleiff told all that “God moved on campus this year, even for those who don’t believe in God” expressing the idea that in senior year the graduates truly witnessed some life changing moments. He ended with “God is moving at IAB and God is moving you on”.
A beautiful heartfelt song was the performed by the IAB school choir joined by two graduates.
Afterwards the IAB Class of 2012 was awarded diplomas. Following in the footsteps of their teachers many students have applied to the same Christian colleges their teachers attended. Graduates will be heading to the University of Illinois Urbana-Champagne, Boston University, Wheaton College, Calvin College, Baylor University, Biola University, Moody Bible Institute (in Chicago), California Institute of Arts, and more.
Graduates ended the ceremony by parading off stage and strutted to the sound of the music. It was a happy moment indeed.