My dear students,
It’s hard to think of the words I can tell you during this important day, the day when you will be leaving a school that has been your home for years.
However, it’s actually easy to think of different anecdotes that we have all shared together, since five years ago and up to yesterday.
I still remember correcting you when you used to call me “teacher” (literally sounded t-e-a-c-h-e-r), when we shared our different experiences during our “question of the day” session, and mostly, how we didn’t even notice the way we started getting to know each other and accepting us as we each were and are.
We’ve all changed, for good. You have become much mature teenagers... but still teenagers. You have laughed together, and you’ve also cried together. You worry about each other and have learned to trust each other. You’ve developed tolerance, respect and empathy towards your classmates, and those are abilities that you will apply in your future as students and also as professionals. As well, you worry for each other, just as you did regarding Lorenzo’s health. I thank you for letting me be part of that.
And well, commonly, people who give speeches during graduations, share some advice. I am not sure if I am the right person to necessarily provide advice, but inspired on a song that I’ve been listening to, I could say the following:
Wear sunscreen. The benefits of sunscreen have been scientifically approved, so we know that’s a fact. As of the rest of my advice, it has no evidence at all.
Do one thing everyday that scares you.
Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts, don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours.
Don’t waste your time on jealousy, sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind. The race is long and in the end, it’s only with yourself.
Stay with the compliments you receive, forget the insults.
Keep all of your old love letters, throw away your old bank accounts, you won’t need them.
Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn’t know what to do with their life at 15, 18 or 22. Some of the most interesting 40 year olds I know, still don’t.
Get plenty of calcium.
Enjoy your body, take care of it and use it every way you can. Don’t be afraid of it, or of what other people think of it.
Get to know and thank your parents, you never know when they’ll be gone for good.
Be nice to your brothers and sisters, they are the best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.
Respect your elders.
Don’t mess too much with your hair, or by the time you are 30 it will look 65.
And please, if you succeed in doing this, tell me how…
But trust me, on the sunscreen.
María José Plascencia Saavedra
Academic Principal / IB Coordinator