Dressed in full graduation regalia, the 49 students made an impressive sight as they made their way from their home away from home for the past two years, the IB Academy, led by the Head of the IB Academy, Mr Bevan Graham, and Mrs Kathryn Watson, Higher Education Advisor.
The students were greeted by a standing ovation as they entered the Auditorium, before taking their places for the official ceremony. The audience heard firstly from Head of Secondary, Mrs Dinah Hawtree, who spoke of the students’ hard work and dedication, their persistence and teamwork, and the exciting future and responsibilities that lay ahead for them. Mr Bevan Graham, who has guided the students over the past two years with his wealth of experience and steady hand, was next at the podium. Quoting Carl Sagan and pointing to the iconic photograph of the Earth as a pale blue dot in a sea of black, he spoke to the students of their responsibility as stewards of the future of our planet, and encouraged them to grasp every opportunity to make a difference.
Still at the podium, Mr Graham introduced each of the students individually, recognising their personal journey through the IB and their plans for the future, and invited them to come to the stage to receive their graduation certificates from Mrs Wallace, Principal. It was very obvious that pride and relief were in almost equal measure as the students received their certificates, knowing their examinations were behind them and a well-deserved rest lay ahead.
A highlight of the evening came when two students, Alison Li and Adriano Arguedas, came to the stage to speak on behalf of the assembled students. Eloquently and maturely, they each recalled their IB journey; the ups and downs, trials and triumphs. Most of all, the message they delivered was about the strong and united family of students this cohort had been; providing friendship and support in difficult times. In a very poignant moment, Adriano thanked the parents in the audience for giving him this wonderful extended family.
Mrs Wallace’s closing remarks focused on the contributions the students had made to the NAIS Pudong community, their excellent academic performance and the role they had played as leaders of the student body. Her final quote came from a rather novel source, Dr Seus: “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.”
Official photos out of the way, our Class of 2016 joined their parents outside for the traditional cap throwing and reception. The final celebrations will take place with a graduation dinner at the Fairmont Peace Hotel on Friday 27th May.
Congratulations Class of 2016!