Final Goodbye from the Class of 2020

The class of 2020 had a very different graduation, but we continue the QQ tradition of publishing the graduates' speeches. For all of you who couldn't be there this year, here are the words of Miriam L and Thabang R.

Introduction – Thabang and Miriam

Good evening, esteemed guests, loving parents, teachers and fellow graduates

We come to you during extra-ordinary times to celebrate our “graduation”.

 It has been an interesting DP experience to say the least. 

I’m sure the teachers would love for us to talk about the different difficulties that we had and how we overcame them and all about how we are going to do great things in the future, but we have a different approach. 

If we take a moment to forget about all IB nonsense like: EE, CAS, IAs, TOK, FOAs , IOCs and whatever else that we have all done but probably forgot about at this point, we would like to reflect upon the memories that we have had as a grade.  

T, remember that time sitting on the beach in Mykonos, or all the anxiety for taking our first IB exams?

Oh yeah, and that time we Danced on the flack for hours! What good times!

Unfortunately, these good times did not happen, but we should not let that ruin the fact that we are graduating today. 

Miriam

There are so many things that I could say here on the stand today. I just wanted to acknowledge the fact that regardless of the messed up situation we live in today, we all managed to accomplish one of the most important milestones in our lives. It has been tough on all of us, I know, but the great thing about this is that we all had the motivation to follow through. It may have been making our parents proud or the craving for the feeling of success. I can’t possibly know what motivated each one of you, but I know what drove me. 

My name is Miriam, I am young woman of color and what drove me is people who told me I couldn’t do it.

As many of you may know, I come from a small close minded town in the middle of Italy, I am only 18 years old and in my short but intense life I had to overcome substantial obstacles such as racism, racial prejudice, learning disabilities  and all of that. I have had people questioning my actions based on my looks and people doubting my intelligence because of my background. 

I used to be put in place by people who considered me as inferior. “You will never be successful” they said, “You won’t make it,” they said “Don’t take the full IB, it’s too hard for you”. Yet I am here despite all the negativity that was put in my path and It ain’t my skin color nor my learning difficulties that can define my success nor yours.

You know, somewhere along the lines we may have forgotten about the privilege we all have for being in an international school. Let me tell you, as soon as I joined this school I realized I was not alone, I was just one of hundreds of students with so many different backgrounds, I interacted with people from countries I didn’t even know existed. 

The beauty of all of this is that this school not only has taught me that I was not alone but it has also taught me that being different is not a flaw, it is an amazing value.  The only challenge I had to overcome in this school was that I was never an overachieving student, never got the best grades.  In fact, as Mrs.Wegdell’s “find your personality” online test said, I am life smart. I am not ashamed to say that school has always been tough on me but I never felt the weight of it on my shoulders at SIS because I had the best learning support teachers who have always, and I mean ALWAYS helped me during these years. 

Mr.Parry and Mrs. Valli, I am grateful for your patience and for not making me feel lost during DP. I am so sorry for rolling my eyes every time you guys told me to get back to work while I was in the middle of a great gossip session with Axel and Julia, but it is what it is, you all  know it better than me, I’m a whole lotta work. 

Another thank you I would love to say goes to the teachers. Thank you for still putting the effort to check our papers days and sometimes weeks over the deadline. But jokes aside, you all have always been understanding people and I have always managed to feel free to express myself around you and I appreciate that.

 Class of 2020, you guys have been the best. You not only made me feel accepted but you made me feel understood and cared for. The bonds we created over the years are beautiful things that we will all cherish forever.

All of you guys have been funny, interesting, kind and understanding. You all have something, that speaking from experience, not a lot of people in the world have. You guys have the most amazing value of open-mindedness, and  never let that go because we are the future and what the world needs right now and forever, is open minded people. I really hope we all get to keep in touch and I have the strong belief that you all will accomplish great things in life, don’t you ever let anybody tell you otherwise. Period.

I promise I am done after this, I wanted to say thank you to my family and my friends who could not join me today because of the situation. 

And, thank you to my mom and my dad who have made sacrifices to allow me to have the education I wanted for myself. I am grateful for all you have done and I will always be.

And again, congratulations to all of us !!

Thabang
Being in an international school comes with a range of caveats. On the one hand, as Miriam said, you get to speak to people from all different backgrounds to learn more about their culture and the world we live in. Not to mention the amount of connections I will have when everyone goes their separate ways and become celebrities or even better Tik Tok famous. On the other hand, being in an international school makes you always on your toes, and ready to adapt as quickly as possible, with many friends coming and going.

For those who don’t know my name is Thabang Radebe and my SIS journey started 5 years ago and I remember when I was first told we were moving to Sweden, I was pissed. At the time I had just settled in back in South Africa, and did not want to move at all. However from day one everyone welcomed me with open arms. 

Throughout the years I am sure we can all agree that relationships and bonds have been made that we will cherish for life.  My family living in South Africa, my relationships with my friends, particularly the lads on tour as well as the Hansman family have been incredible, standing by my side through the good and the bad times and I cannot thank you guys enough for all that you have done. 

I will try my best to keep this speech concise since I know how annoying long speeches get, MUN squad will understand, but I wanted to emphasize this one point for all of us to have with us as we carry on in life. 

The current state of the world is mayhem, absolute mayhem. This is the world that we are going to have to survive in as well as our kids. We have been placed in such a unique position where we need us the youth, more than ever before. This time, during the Black lives matter movement we have seen how society, particularly the youth of today is taking a stance against racism. Racism is not a concept that can be destroyed within a day, week or even a year, it is something that needs to be fought many more battles before its eradication. Not only this but we need to be sustainable, innovative and lots more to sustain our time on earth. Although we may not realize at this moment, we have been given the opportunity, support and resources to enable us to be the leaders of our generation, a generation that is far different from our parents. No, it won’t be an easy ride forward.  Yes there will be challenges, but that is why you should make sure that as we continue the next chapters of our lives we build bonds and relationships that will flourish and make you and those around you better. 

Then when you are the CEO of the next Facebook or something, hit me up because I’d love to flex that I knew that person in high school. 

At the end of the day we all wouldn’t be here in this position without the help of our teachers, preparing for ultimately nothing, but hopefully giving us some knowledge that can be useful later in life so that we can be inquirers, principled and open-minded. If you didn’t catch on, those are the IB learner profiles which I’m glad I never have to see or hear ever again. 

I would like to take this time to give a couple thank yous 

Thanks to  the Admissions office here at SIS to give me the opportunity to stay in Stockholm at this amazing school. 

Thanks to Mrs Sethi for letting me skip class back in the day –  what a legend. 

Thank you to Mr Ampuja and Mrs Öman

Thank you Yoonsik for helping me adapt to this new environment when I first came here. 

Thank you to Arian for making me always go out of my comfort zone and make some crazy memories.

Thank you to my dad and my brother for everything that you have sacrificed and done for me to be here despite you guys not being here. I still feel your presence here with me today. 

And lastly I would like to thank you guys, the Class of 2020 for a graduation like never before and all the memories that we have all made together with one another, I wouldn’t want to have it any other way, so thank you all and I wish you the best in the future.

And everyone should remember this, they will probably hate us for graduating this way, and say that we don’t deserve this or anything, but we do, each and everyone one of us deserves to be here to celebrate this special occasion! Do not let anyone ruin this special time in our lives because at the end of the day EDs what EDs. So enjoy yourselves in the coming days, make sure you make great memories, and reflect back with people within and outside your friend group as you may never have this chance again.  

One last time, Congratulations to the Class of 2020 and let the ceremony begin!