Friday, 20th April 2018:
The sun was shining bright, and temperatures got to a maximum of 24ºC in (usually rainy) Oxford. Second-year IB and A-Level students put on their hats and gowns, family members came from all corners of the world, and everyone at EF Academy left school early and headed to the Oxford Town Hall, one of the city’s charming ancient building right in the city center. It was there that the Leavers’ and Prize-Giving Ceremony took place, and students, parents, teachers, house parents and members of the staff got together to celebrate all the hard work put on their studies by the Class of 2018 during the past two years — which will hopefully be reflected on their final exams, which have already started for IB, and will be starting soon for A-Levels.
“Receiving my diploma was my favorite part of the ceremony, because it felt like the culmination of these past two years” said Anna Platt, summarizing the general mood among the leavers. Other highlights of the ceremony were the nostalgic, yet humorous, speeches given by some of the graduating students and by the school’s headmaster, Dr Paul Ellis; the music beautifully played in the piano by two first-year students, Emma Jaffe and Selina Weng Hei Lam; and, of course, the long awaited throwing of the hats, a magical moment for everyone who was present.
“It was an honor for me to speak in front of everyone, I thought I would be nervous but my nerves went away quickly. I am so thankful that I decided to do it!” said Bror Nissen, one of the student speakers, when asked how he felt about speaking at the ceremony. Nadya Tan, another one of the leavers, complemented Bror’s thoughts by saying: “It felt amazing to see how my parents were proud of me, after all this is one of the reasons why I worked so hard during my time here.”
Champaign, some appetizers and a traditional British victoria sponge cake were served after the ceremony which added to the already fancy and festive atmosphere. For some more hours, family members were introduced to teachers and friends, interviews were given, and way too many pictures were taken, but one thing is for sure: second-years were the center of attention, and everyone in the Town Hall that day was proud and happy for them.
As one of the leaving students, I can say that there were smiles, hugs and tears of happiness, but as our guest speaker Dr. Christine Cote — who is an Academic Director of the London School of Economics’ (LSE) Master’s on International Management, and of the MBA Exchange at LSE — told us during her speech: the feeling of excitement of being (almost) done with the most rewarding, yet intense and demanding, experience of our lives is what will stay in our minds and hearts forever.
Thank you for everything you have taught me and all the incredible moments we have spent together, Class of 2018! It was a pleasure to get to meet and every single one of you.
Photo credit: Marie Rimmolsronnings @marie_rim