On Friday, June 3, the International School of Paris held its 31st Grade 12 Graduation at La Maison de la Radio to a room full of supportive parents, family members and friends, ISP staff and faculty, and, most importantly, a group of sixty-five excited graduates from the Class of 2016. Featuring inspiring speakers, extraordinary musical performances, dedications and awards, the commencement ceremony was truly an exceptional moment to celebrate our Grade 12 students and all of their fantastic achievements during their time at ISP.
In spite of the current turbulence in the world – or perhaps because of that – this year's theme seemed to be peace and love. Our Head of School, Simon Murray, talked about the importance of love, quoting the English romantic poet Percy Shelley, who said "love is going out of oneself". He wished the students all the best in the future, pointing out that in life, the most important thing is to love, and to know what it is to be loved.
Our main speaker this year was Julia Roig, the President of "Partners for Democratic Change", which is an international organization committed to building sustainable capacity to advance civil society, democratic institutions and a culture of change and conflict management worldwide. Ms. Roig discussed her discovery of the global world through hosting an exchange student in high school; this was her first experience with the world outside of her own, a realization that the world is much larger than one single city or country. For her, that realization has launched a full career in promoting and building international peace. In her thought-provoking speech, she reminded us that we do not have to be peace building professionals to promote and secure peace. Ms. Roig wished for each graduate to take their own international experiences from ISP, and use those to have a positive impact on the world.
The two valedictorians, Daria Lysyakova and Aris Gyalui, evoked laughter among their audience, and also reminded of the importance of keeping in touch with the classmates even after most of them leave Paris and fly off to all four corners of the world. Our alumni speaker, Tito Collett, talked about that too, but also noted that thanks to the special ISP spirit, the students have learned an important life skill – the ability to collaborate and work as a team.
This year, we were very pleased to celebrate the following award winning students:
Spencer Hanson Memorial Award - Reiko Takigawa
Creativity, Action and Service Award - Maureen Gozlan
ISP Spirit Award - Nare Hakobyan
Award for Academic Excellence - Caroline Teunissen
ECIS Award for International Understanding - Sari Imai
In addition, the outgoing President of the Board of Trustees, Pablo Zoido, was awarded the ECIS Award for Promotion of International Education.
Our graduates will be continuing on into higher education at universities throughout the world, many of them in the top institutions in the United Kingdom, United States and Canada. This year's offers and acceptances included Bath, Durham, Edinburgh, Goldsmiths, King's College, Kent, LSE, Oxford, SOAS, UCL and Warwick in the UK, and Berklee College of Music, BU, Brown, UC Berkley, UCLA, Columbia, George Washington, Georgetown (School of Foreign Service), NYU and Wesleyan on the other side of the Atlantic. More news about the university acceptances will be published later, but we can already congratulate many of our students for their successful applications.