Your Majesty, Your Highnesses, Your Excellencies, distinguished classmates and esteemed guests,
About five months ago, a kid in my hallway entered my room and we began what was to become a long conversation. Omar is generally a very loud and energetic person, but the troubled look he had on his face when he entered my room that night told me something was worrying him. When I asked him what was bothering him, he looked at me and asked me if I was scared. “Scared of what?” I asked. “Of leaving everything that is familiar to you - family, friends, teachers, students, places and classes…everything. It's like taking a step into a dark room, where your only reference and item in hand is a diploma…a piece of paper.”
At the time I didn’t really understand what he was talking about, and so I dismissively said: “Of course I'm not scared, everything will be fine.”
But sure enough, as the third term drew to an end, I began to grasp the deeper meaning of what it means to leave what is my home. All of us began to realize that we really are stepping into a dark room and we have no idea what’s in store for us. Yet as I contemplated this commencement last week, I became conscious of something that I wish I knew the moment I first set foot on this campus. I became conscious of the fact that we, as King's Academy graduates, are different. We are leaving here with something in our hands, our minds and in our hearts that sets us apart.
Whenever I struggled with a problem in math, I would ask my teachers how on earth they found the answer. They would always smile back and say: “As long as you get your answer right, it doesn’t matter which way you go about it.” However, as your knowledge builds on and you learn from those around you, you begin to realize much the opposite. What my beloved teachers, classmates and our late friend Ahmad Tarawneh have taught me is that it does not matter what answer you get, but the method in which you choose to go about obtaining your solution.
Ahmad Tarawneh was a dear friend to every single member of this community, from his Majesty King Abdullah to the staff that tended to the lawns we walk on every day. He was a man who pushed himself and those around him to do the best that they could because he understood that often our result, our destination is ultimately beyond our control. Such a thought poses the question - do we give up on ambition in the realization that we have little control over the direction of our lives? This was an idea that I struggled with while I mourned the loss of my brother. But then I remembered that even though Ahmad knew this, he pressed on through life with that goofy smile of his that brightened our days. Why? Because that level of understanding, the true King's Academy maturity he possessed instilled in him the belief that despite the fact that we can’t accurately predict our destination, we still have power over how we get there.
Socrates once said that “A man's journey cannot be judged until it ends.” Indeed, in a bittersweet manner, we can judge Ahmad's life and say that he led it with grace, charm and as a King’s Academy student.
And yet we are all King’s Academy students. The ability to live with such grace has been cultivated within each and every one of us. And it is this ability which separates us from the rest. When we are handed our diplomas, we will not be only graduates, but leaders. And thanks to His Majesty’s vision of a school that would produce a generation of future leaders of the Middle East and around the globe, we are ready. Whether our influence extends across the street or across oceans, the question must be asked: what better leaders could the world ask for than ones who are ready to be the first to take a step into a dark room, King's Academy diploma in hand, head held up high? So now I answer my friend Omar’s question once more. Are we scared? Yes we are. But I am confident that we will not fail because we know how to think, how to act, how to learn and how to teach. We come from King's Academy.
Congratulations to the first graduating class of King’s Academy, the Class of 2010.