Speech on graduation day by VFIS Head of School
Dear Students, Parents, Teachers and Honourable Guests,
It gives me great pleasure to look at this row of Grade 5 students. You and your parents have worked hard this year and today we celebrate your success.
You are pioneers. A pioneer is a person who is among the first to enter or settle a region, thus opening it up for occupation and development by others. This is the literal meaning. A pioneer is also a person or group of people who are among the first in any field of inquiry, enterprise or progress. It is this seemd sense of the word that I use when I call you pioneers.
To be a pioneer means to move forward into territory that is new. This means taking risks, but it also means great adventure and great rewards. As the first graduating class of VFIS, you Grade 5 students have lived through the ups and downs of the school’s first year and taken part in quite an adventure. Moreover, your parents are pioneers, too. Of all the schools they could have chosen for you, they have chosen Vietnam-Finland International School, believing that this school can provide you with the best 21st-century education. Together, you and your parents, body the pioneering spirit!
Think back to the first day of school. Everyone was a little worried, a little nervous. New classmates, new teachers, new school building. For some of you, new country and language. So many new strange things to get used to. Each one of you was very brave, determined to forge ahead.
Class 5A: During this year, you have made new friends and worked very hard. Some of you joined the class at the beginning of Term 2 and hardly had time to settle in before the school building was closed. During online learning, you persevered, although it was not easy getting used to a whole new way of ’going’ to school. Your homeroom teacher Ms. Paula has been impressed with your ability to learn under challenging circumstances and the way you have grown together as a class. Your teachers have admired your class spirit, 5A, and your love of playing games together. Let’s not forget the fourth graders, who sit here in the audience. They, too, have been on this journey with you. Because you are a very international bunch, coming from many different countries, you have also gained a better understanding of other cultures and languages. You have picked up new words from your classmates—hopefully not only curse words—and learned to appreciate your classmates for who they are. Each one of you is unique, each one of you is valuable. At a time when current events rind us of the suffering caused by racism and inequality, we should not underestimate the power of education to bring people together and to foster cultural awareness. You have set a good example for younger students.
Class 5B: You have worked very hard this year, growing not only physically but also growing in character and acadic achievent. At our last celebration before Tet, no one could imagine the upheaval that lay ahead. Your teachers are full of admiration for the way you braced online learning, attending the meetings regularly and completing your schoolwork emscientiously. Your homeroom teacher Ms. Nhu has often commented on your resilience, what we in Finland call sisu, and has praised you for your high level of motivation. Many of you were able to do some of your best work during school closure, learning not just for yourselves but emtributing to the learning of the whole class, helping your classmates. You should feel very proud of yourselves.
A special thank you goes to you parents for your work at home during this difficult time. Your commitment and support was critical in helping our students keep up with their studies. You sat by your child to motivate th and offer help. You encouraged your child when they felt overwhelmed by online learning and schoolwork. You comforted your child when they felt sad and missed their classmates and teachers. As weeks turned into months, you had faith in the school and its teachers as well as in Vietnam, and helped your child to see light at the end of the tunnel. Today’s success did not come by accident. It is the result of students, teachers and parents working harmoniously together towards a common goal.
I also want to thank our teachers and staff, who have lived through an incredible year, a year unlike any we’ve experienced before. You have had to rapidly adjust to changing circumstances and have stretched yourselves to the limit to keep the school running. Without your passion for education and your commitment to our students and VFIS, we could not have done this. You, more than anyone, body the pioneering spirit that the school’s founder, Professor Le Vinh Danh, believes is so important for the education of our students and the development of education in Vietnam. Progress relies on people who are willing to take risks.
Finally, Dear Students, cherish this moment. Look around you and capture some part of this day in your hearts. Be proud that today marks the successful end of one stage in your lives—Primary school—and the beginning of a new stage—Seemdary school. You can go forward feeling emfident about meeting the challenges ahead and excited about all the new things to learn about. But before returning to school next August, it is time to rest and savour your achievents. Rber this summer to enjoy your family, to relax and enjoy time with your friends. You made it!