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GEMS Cambridge International School Nairobi 2017 Graduation

2017 Graduation Speech from our Principal Scott Webber

It is a real privilege to have this opportunity to address you all; students, parents, colleagues, our guest speaker Mr. Rasto Kiplagat and especially of course our Graduating class of Year 13 students.

 

I have had the pleasure, and I do mean pleasure, of getting to know you all over the last 10 months.  You are without doubt a diverse group of individuals with many, many varied skills, aptitudes and qualities.  It is for this reason that we, your teachers, have thoroughly enjoyed our time spent with you. I hope the feeling is mutual.

 

Reflecting on your time at GEMS, whether you have been here for 5 years or for 2, I hope you readily recognise the achievements you have enjoyed and the personal growth and development that has occurred as a consequence of these.  For some academic success comes with relative ease; for others this can only be achieved as a result of great endeavor and whole hearted commitment.

 

Many of you are naturally gifted athletes, actors and singers.  We have all been privileged to witness your varied talents on the sports field or on the stage.  Whatever your individual strengths and qualities, know that we have recognised and appreciated you for those.  We sincerely hope that you have recognised and appreciated the strengths and qualities of each other, and most importantly that your recognise these in yourself.

 

Self-awareness, self-confidence and self-respect are priceless emotional qualities which will serve you strongly throughout your life in whatever direction you choose to take.  They are also increasingly essential qualities when we consider the escalating challenges that you, the next generation, are tasked to face.

 

When I was your age, the telephone had not yet been invented.  Actually, I should revise that statement and emphasise that the mobile telephone had not yet been invented.  This meant that for me and most of your teachers (but not the young ones like Miss Bevan and Miss Ritchie and maybe even Mr. Lewis) life was pretty simple.

 

If you wanted to have a conversation with someone, the chances were, you were actually in their company.  If you wanted to share an opinion, an idea or a compliment, the chances were, you were actually in their company.  And if you dared to direct an insult towards someone, then you were taking a chance, as they were there to hold you accountable for it. This constant social interaction honed our interpersonal skills and ensured we had to take responsibility for everything we said and did; both the good and the bad.

 

You, the next generation of young adults, who are about to embark upon university life, forging careers and establishing relationships and families, live in an increasingly more complex world, where rapid advances in technology and consequently modes of communication, have to a great extent, appeared to erode or diminish the responsibility of being held accountable for what you say or do. 

 

WhatsApp, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter (and I am sure there are many more social media platforms that I do not know even exist), allow us to communicate on a global scale and often with people we do not even know.  This has been a truly amazing development, allowing the exchange of ideas across countries, continents and cultures.  Global citizenship and awareness, has been enhanced to levels never previously attained.  However, these advances also pose new challenges and dangers for you all – largely centered round the diminished responsibility of being held accountable for what is said or done.

 

Insults can be traded, videos shared and rumours created and firmly established – all with the purpose of undermining confidence, demeaning character and isolating individuals or groups.

 

You may be wondering why I am making such a big deal about social media.  In fact I sincerely hope that you all are.  The reason is to highlight the growing significance of the need for social responsibility among individuals, as well as society as a whole.  Social responsibility demands accountability for words and actions and consequently expects consideration, empathy, understanding and respect to be interpersonal values which are not only just evident but in fact are actively promoted and endorsed.

 

Social responsibility is something that everyone in this auditorium must believe in and embrace; but it is particularly important for you, our graduating students, to recognise and promote and consistently practice this responsibility, as you leave school to embark upon the next stage of your life.

 

You may recall that earlier I stressed that self-awareness, self-confidence and self-respect were priceless emotional qualities.  If you were unsure why I was stressing this, hopefully now you recognise precisely why.

 

As you embark on the next stage of your life, I urge you to recognise the importance of knowing who you are; believing in who you are and respecting who you are.  For in the face of all the challenges that life will inevitably throw at you – if you stand up for what you believe in and know to be right, then everyone you ever meet, whether in person or virtually, will respect you (even if they don’t always admit it). 

 

But most importantly you will possess the moral strength and enjoy the personal satisfaction of knowing that you will always, always be able to respect yourself.

 

To our graduating students, once again it has been our pleasure knowing you and we wish each and every one of you, the very best as you move on to fulfil your aspirations.

 

Please do not be strangers; please keep in touch; we will all take great pleasure in celebrating your future success.

 

Make your impact in the world and make sure it is a spectacularly good one!

hers to come round to school for a shiatsu massage, some music and a cup of chai. The year 10's were on hand to serve them snacks and ensure that all went well in the afternoon.

Thank you mums and grandmas and happy Mother's Day from GEMS - CIN