The setting was different but the sentiment was the same. On Saturday 23 May, 69 students representing 23 different countries graduated from the British International School, Phuket in a virtual graduation ceremony and prize-giving broadcast live on Facebook and YouTube.
It was a unique ceremony for a graduating class whose IB experience has been far from ordinary.
“Our celebration today is different in nature than in previous years, but I’m sure it will be just as memorable as it is unique,” said IB coordinator and Master of Ceremonies, Jason Perkins.
In his opening address, Secondary Principal Simon Meredith thanked the students for their many and varied contributions to the school.
“Forty males and twenty-nine females have shared experiences that will forever be an important part of their lives,” said Mr Meredith.
“Year 13, you have persevered, been challenged, completed your IB studies, albeit earlier than expected, and set your goals, and we the BISP community celebrate today with you.”
This year’s keynote speaker was retiring BISP Headmaster, Neil Richards. One key piece of advice Mr Richards shared with his final year group of students was to live life in the present.
“Always remain open to ideas and opportunities and be prepared to adapt,” he said.
“You must decide how you live in the moment — it is a choice and it is perhaps the only choice that is totally yours.”
The first awards of the ceremony went to Tara Bancroft (Creativity, Activity and Service Award), Jun Seo Park (Theory of Knowledge Award) and India Wilson (Extended Essay Award).
India Wilson and James Marshall were recognised as the most recent recipients of the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Gold Award.
The two Valedictorian awards went to Patteraporn (Christina) Jansson and Seonju (Pearl) Hong.
In their graduating speeches, Head Students Nigel Chan and Pearl Hong thanked their teachers and families, congratulated their friends, and imparted their own pearls of wisdom.
Of BISP’s graduating class of 2020, 20 percent have been at the school for 10 years. The virtual ceremony included photographs and messages from each student, seven of whom started at BISP when they were just 18 months old.
Standing on campus, with the secondary building as his backdrop, Head Student and boarder Nigel Chan had the honour of moving the tassel of his academic cap from right to left on behalf of all his Year 13 classmates. “With this, you have officially graduated,” he said, before launching his cap into the air.
In his closing remarks, Mr Perkins said he hoped the students would take away many wonderful memories of their lives at BISP, as well as lifelong friendships.
“It is now time for you to go as adults into the world, to participate in it, to help shape it and to help make it a better place, even in small ways, for both you and for the people around you,” he concluded.
More than 500 people tuned in to the live broadcast, and many more have shared and watched the recording with friends and family. Live YouTube and Facebook comments provided a glimpse of BISP’s global reach, with viewers joining the broadcast from many international locations. You can view the virtual graduation here.
The 2020 graduating class will become BISP alumni, and so join a network of highly qualified graduates around the world.