Your Majesty King Abdullah II, Your Excellency Mr. Karim Kawar, Dr. Eric , Dr. Meera, Dr. John, parents, faculty and staff, and King’s Academy…good afternoon. It is a great honor and a privilege to be able to speak at such an illustrious gathering.
What a journey we embarked on together as travelers for the past four years. King’s had just opened its doors. It was a brand new school, an experiment in excellence. And here we are, the first class to graduate having spent all four years of high school at King’s.
It has been a tremendous learning experience. We learned how to care about the important things; how to participate in our mock weddings and zaffehs, and the less important; being on time to Ms. Dragana’s class and how to survive four SAT exams.
However, in all seriousness, the most important thing we have learned is the true value of a King’s Academy education and the warmth of our King’s family.
Throughout my years here I have been astounded by the unparalleled learning experience in our classes. It seemed overwhelming at times with the intense work load. When we thought we couldn’t possibly be given one more exam, sure enough, our next class we were informed of yet another. At times like these when we would stay up all night studying for two AP mocks and three tests. Gene sequences would begin to look like derivatives and would even start to even resemble passages from The Great Gatsby.
In Mr. John Leistler’s 20th century class we were prepared this year for what we might encounter as sophomores in college. Mr. John, as with all of our teachers, had no doubt that we would be admitted to the best universities in the world, and wanted to see us thrive and excel wherever we were. Teachers like my own Ms. Tessa and Señor Cesar reminded us how learning isn’t restricted to a classroom. While we worked voraciously - between essays in English for Ms. Tessa and verb conjugations in Spanish for Señor Cesar - we expanded our learning beyond the academic realm. The work ethics and values our teachers have instilled in us have helped prepare our minds for the vast world that we are all about to dive into. Today, as future King’s Academy alumni we look back and smile and thank our teachers for motivating, challenging and encouraging us to step forward.
In these past four years so much has changed not just within the boundary of our school but also the greater world community. We witnessed a heartbreaking war and siege on Gaza; the tragedy of an earthquake in Haiti and more recently the catastrophic earthquake in Japan. We have also witnessed monumental political awakenings and the dawn of a new era; the Arab Spring. In the midst of these events going on around us, we responded as a school community. We became active participants. With our honesty, tolerance, understanding we are building cultural bridges. We are peace in the making. Indeed, we are blossoming into the summer following the Arab Spring.
King’s is not just the school that we attended; it’s where we grew up, where we were raised and our home. It’s where we formed our personalities, where we began to question in order to understand and to grow. From the first year when were just 90 students in school we had already begun to inspire and fill each other with laughter and joy. As we grew in number, we became accustomed to Jaber’s Kuwaiti question, Faisal Akkawi’s determination to “green the world” and most recently Kabariti’s unwavering determination and commitment to planning our senior pranks. What a group! The camaraderie between us is so contagious!
Four years ago, around 50 of us came as eager freshmen and separate individuals. Today, over a hundred of us will leave as a family.
I would like to leave you with these words by Robert Frost that so aptly sum up our feelings:
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Thank you and congratulations, graduating Class of 2011.