Your Majesty, Your Royal Highnesses, Your Excellencies, distinguished guests, family, friends, alumni, students and, most especially, graduating seniors. It is my honor to welcome you to Kings Academy's second commencement. Today is a day for thanks - and a day of great pride.
We are thankful for this remarkable school and for His Majesty's vision, imagination and generosity. Your Majesty, it is an honor -- for all of us here -- to be a part of this great undertaking and to serve you and this great school.
We're thankful for the leadership of the King's Academy Board of Trustees, past and present, who join us today, and its Chairman His Excellency Karim Kawar for their stewardship and tireless work on behalf of this school and its students.
Putting together this commencement celebration takes tremendous work, and we are thankful for all of our staff, who have done so much to make this year, this day, this commencement on this beautiful campus possible.
We are thankful for our faculty who have taught and advised you, our students, with such dedication, creativity, and passion; who have mentored you and helped prepare you for the challenges that await you in university and beyond.
And we're thankful for your parents and families who have sacrificed so much to make this day possible and entrusted us with your lives and your education.
I know I speak on behalf of everyone here when I say how deeply proud we are of you. Many of you have been here for four years, and that is a great milestone for all us and for the Academy. Each of you has succeeded brilliantly and in so many ways, but it is your spirit and leadership as a class that is your most powerful legacy. There is no mystery to great schools - no mystery at all. The spirit of a great school resides in its students and staff and faculty and parents, working together, each day and each minute of each day, to create a place where young men and women can through study and learning and play discover the best in themselves, flourish, and grow into a confident and strong adulthood. Great school depends upon the spirit and leadership of their students and most especially their seniors - their willingness to learn, to take risks, to work with discipline and creativity, to live responsibly, to lead and to initiate.
During your time here you have done all this all this - and more. You have discovered new passions and pushed yourselves in ways which, I am sure, you never thought were possible when you first arrived here. You have led our athletic teams, our student government and student committees and clubs, and, as our first proctors, you have transformed our House and residential community. You have performed with internationally renowned dancers and musicians, moved us with your performances on stage, and with your declamations. You have engaged with leading scholars and statesmen from across the world about the great scientific and political issues facing this region and your generation; explored solutions to the ecological decline of the Gulf of Aqaba; and in debate, Model United Nations, and Toastmasters mastered the arts of public debate and respectful discussion. You have challenged us, your teachers, to think more seriously about climate change, energy consumption and water conservation and resuscitated our environmental efforts here on campus. You have shared yourselves generously as tutors and mentors to younger children, and volunteered your time to lead a range of community service projects both here and abroad. You have made new friendships, friendships that will endure long after you leave us today. As I - and other teachers - gathered in the courtyard to listen to so many of you speak at the senior gratitudes two nights ago: as you spoke of what this place is meant to you over the years - your love for each other, for your teachers, and for this, your school, came through clearly and powerfully. You have made your mark on this place, and on all of us, and you have helped build this school and this unique community. As much as anyone, and in many ways much more than anyone, you are the Academy's founders.
As you leave today, we feel great hope, hope that you will take the spirit of this place with you, hope that you will build on what you have learned here and take it out into the world, and make that world a kinder and more just place, for all of us - for your families, for your nation, for your sovereign, and for the world. As you leave remember this: know that we believe in you, that we stand with you not just today, but throughout your lives. Know as well that you are always welcome here, that you will always be a part of our family, and that you should always consider this school, King's Academy, your second home. We expect you back.