Your Majesties, dear parents, my colleagues
My dear seniors,
I am afraid that I do not have enough words to express how I feel at this moment. Even if all of you, all of a sudden, learnt the Croatian language, and I spoke to you in my mother tongue, I would not be able to describe how honored I am to stand in front of you the night before your graduation. Preparing this speech was a very difficult task. It was even harder than leaving my hometown during the war. I had spent hours and hours working on it that at some point I started to wonder if this was some type of revenge you had come up with to punish me for the hours you spent solving math questions. But then I would tell myself: “That is impossible, I am sure that they had enjoyed solving 100 questions I once assigned over a weekend.” Actually, it was about 147.
Looking back at the year behind us, we have to admit that it was full of ups and downs, victories and defeats; a very challenging and yet a very successful year. It was not easy and I have to congratulate you on having enough courage to cope with all the demands we placed on you. I often think about how brave you were fighting with all those crazy functions, increasing and decreasing, concave up and concave down, asymptotes here, asymptotes there. As Firas used to say: “Yama, shu had miss?” Ah, calculus. That beautiful branch of mathematics invented by people who did not have TVs, playstations, Facebook or Twitter, or to be precise, not even electricity. That’s why I always told you not to worry. Newton, Leibniz and the company were not smarter than you. They just had nothing else to do, but spent their entire life playing with numbers and solving equations.
There is one thing that really makes you different from the classes that graduated before you and that is your strong determination to learn and earn high grades. There are so many of you who were consistent and successful in your studies all year long and I admire you for that. But I have to tell you that I even more admire those students who struggled throughout the year but never gave up trying to succeed. It was heartbreaking for me to watch Dana crying after each test during the first couple of months (honestly, I was scared to death every time I had to give her back the test), but after each test she became even more resolute to succeed. And Anoud, for whom giving up was never an option. I was constantly impressed by her ability to work under pressure and the strong will which she displayed in overcoming the difficulties she faced in her studies. There are so many of you who are like Dana and Anoud and because of that I do not have to worry about your future - your determination will lead you through your lives and help you in fulfilling your dreams.
Over the past nine months, I grew attached to you, and it is going to be very hard for me to watch you leave and know that you will not be in my class next year. You have touched and enriched my life in all possible ways and I will always be grateful for all the beautiful moments we have had together and for all the love and care you have given to me. If my life took a different course and I stayed in my country working as a naval architect, instead of falling in love with and getting married to a Jordanian, I am sure that watching my ships being launched into the sea would never make me as happy and proud as I am now watching all of you.
Dear Class of 2012, thank you for a wonderful year! I will miss you dearly.