As we close in on the end of another academic year, beijingkids would like to congratulate students from the international school community on their achievements and say farewell as the students move on to new horizons. The second graduating class of Beanstalk International Bilingual School (BIBS) congratulated their graduates last month on Friday, June 20 with a small ceremony. Director of BIBS, John McBryde gave the following speech to the graduating class of 2014.
"Welcome to the second graduation ceremony of BIBS – a small senior school, a small group of grads, but a large school community with a very large heart. Today at BIBS is a day of celebration of the fine young people seated before us – the Class of 2014. You have spent almost your entire lives in school, so completing school is a big deal.
Almost the entire time that you have spent at school, you have been kids – today you are not just finishing school, and being recognized as graduates of a rigorous academic program, but you are being recognized as young adults. As such, you have a world of opportunities and a lifetime to explore them in. There is much for you to do and a lot of time to do it in. The definition of graduation is –’To complete a course of study and be granted an award.’
Today, you, our graduates, receive your awards, which reflect a major milestone that you have reached in your lives. Today we recognize that you have completed your formal schooling and receive your high school diploma. Today you walked on to the stage as high school students for the last time. When you leave the stage it will be as graduates and you will be stepping into the world of adults – and into all the freedoms, opportunities, responsibilities and risks that comes with that.
We are very proud of you, for what you have achieved and for who you are. We are looking at a group of young people who have challenged themselves academically and grown enormously these last few years; those who have made a difference to others through their own efforts. They know what it means to work side by side with others who have needs, and come face to face with the global issues that challenge our world.
And in addition to that, they are artistic, sporty, fun, and balanced people. Through your efforts you give validation to what we as parents and teachers do, and have tried to give you over the years. You make us proud!
Thank you to your parents for their support throughout your life so far and as you continue your journeys. Thank you to your teachers here at BIBS for their love, care, and support. It has been a privilege for you to be part of our community and remember that wherever you go – BIBS and Beijing will always be in your heart and a place where you are always welcome. Stay in touch and become a BIBS alumni!
As exciting as it us to step into the adult world, it isn’t easy. When I was your age, school wasn’t a very nice place to be. My friends and I couldn’t wait to get out of it and we had no idea what we really wanted to do in life. Most of us were more concerned about getting a letter from the government to say you had been conscripted into the army to fight a war in Vietnam!
Yours is a different world in so many ways, with so many challenges and opportunities facing humanity and our world. There are too many wars and cruelties and things that are unfair, too much greed, too much pressure on our fragile planet. There are incredible promises that technology will continue to bring that will keep us living longer and keep changing our lives and civilization.
You are leaving the supportive environment of school to enter university and college and some of you are preparing to leave home as well and live abroad.
So what parting advice can I leave you with as you start your journey as adults? A life where so much is expected of you? Where being a success is so important? Where society will measure you in so many ways? I would like to leave you with four pieces of advice and two challenges.
First, let go of who you should be in order to be who you are. In the words of Confucius, ‘Everything has its beauty but not everyone sees it’ and ‘It is better to be a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without.’
Second, do what you are good at, and what you like doing. Confucius said, ‘Choose a job that you love, and you will never work a day of your life.’
Third, do what is important to you and do it well. ‘Find your success in what’s important to you and whatever you do, do it the best you can.’ Remember the proverbs – ‘If a jobs worth doing, it’s worth doing well.’
Fourth, take on life with whole heartedness and make a difference. Have courage, compassion, and be connected. Remember the things that are really important.
My challenge to you is ‘Be the change that you want to see in the world’ and ‘Dare to dream.’"
If your school would like to feature your graduating class of 2014 by participating in “Congratulations to Graduates,” please contact School Editor, Yvette Ferrari, firstname.lastname@example.org