Just wondering about my Graduation speech to wrap up the year.

As we are finishing up with our academic year, that we have students, teachers, colleagues and friends moving on to different countries, that some of us are ready to jump on a flight to go back home for some time, I have mixed feelings. But the strongest one I have is gratefulness for an awesome year. So I have decided to share my Graduation speech for the class of 2019. This class embodies everything that I believe in and I feel that thanking this class is good way to wrap up 2018-2019. Have a great summer everyone!

June 7th

Fred’s Graduation speech for the class of 2019
While I did not ask for the French National Anthem to be played at the beginning of this ceremony, and I will spare your ears and shall not sign it, I would like to bring a different perspective on graduation. Let me tell you about graduation in France and more specifically let me share the one vivid memory. (Play I will survive). This is one of the only memories that I have from when I graduated from high school. NOT the original 1978 version, come on! But this song has nothing to do with school-it is the song chosen by the French football team when they won the Fifa World Cup. I will let you figure up the year. In fact, I don’t have memories related to graduation at all, because in France, there is no graduation. Nothing. Nada. Rien. One takes their French Baccalaureate examinations, waits for the results that are graciously displayed outside the walls of the school-gates are closed. You have to imagine a gathering of Seniors, often with their parents, outside their school waiting for the results to be posted up. If you passed the Baccalaureate, kaboom! If not, people tend to lose a lot of dignity, they cry, shout and share how the world is unfair as they know that they have to repeat 12th grade. If you have a certain grade, not good, but not so bad, they give you a chance to take a few oral examinations to make up the missing points. Those oral examinations are within the next two days and students don’t have time to really prepare, but they have time to really stress out. And results for this session are given orally in front of the entire assistance: Charbonnier: passed, Dupont: failed, Durant: passed.


(Pretend phone is ringing) Wait, sorry about this. I am just going to check, you never know. Well, this is very timely. Let’s listen to this together, I believe you will like it- (listen to Garth’s voice mail)


Class of 2019: THANK you, thank YOU, and THANK YOU! What a privilege it has been to be with you. So much so that I solemnly declare that, because of all the following reasons, the class of 2019 will not graduate and stay with us for at least one more year because we just love them so much. This non-graduation ceremony is due to following reasons:

  • reason number 1: for being a class with not only a strong GPA but also solid Approaches to Learning, those skills needed to succeed in life: thinking skills, communication skills, social skills, self-management skills and research skills. This class, beyond academic grades, has them all.
  • reason number 2: through the Empower and Educate for Equality group, for the class contributions to a new contemporary, less sexist dress code and content warnings for class material. Students have been educating educators.
  • reason number 3: for changing our Thankshaving to thanksgiving, for changing a nice tradition to a meaningful, impactful school wide campaign to support people in need around us.
  • reason number 4: for an amazing Associated Student Body and beautiful, thoughtful and fun games and activities (I will always remember Jorge eating the skittle off a plate full of whipped creme). From the very first event they organized, the throwback Thursday for the class of 2018, until the very end. Lots of learning happened with ASB including the challenges of leading.
  • reason number 5: for their brilliant musical taste included but not limited to the libertines, ska-p and some great electronic music.
  • reason number 6: For their parents’ effort, spirit and collaboration with decorations of the senior area for Valentine’s Day, for the carnival celebrations and more.
  • reason number 7: for the class resilience in some of the most difficult situations young adults can go through in life.
  • reason number 8: for the smiles, the hand shakes, the good spirit that will make this class impossible to forget. Well, we won’t have to since they are not graduating yet and they will be back next year
  • reason number 9: for the pride and genuine pleasure that all of us, AC faculty and staff had with the class of 2019.
  • reason number 10: for the many dinners that we had together, virtually, when Dorian, my son, was talking about you, Jake’s jump shots, Antonio’s defence, Santi’s 3 pointers, this Basketball team made him dream; and for that, as well as encouraging him when he was playing in front of you, I thank you.
  • Well done Class of 2019! The Academia Cotopaxi High School experience is a rigorous educational experience and has prepared you well. You are equipped with the skills that you will need to be successful in a world that is changing exponentially, in a world that may not have created the professional careers that you will embrace. You are ready!

I would like to thank our AC Faculty: it is an honour to work with such professionals who support our students, everyday. You are responsible for the success of the graduates in front of you. You have spend lots of hours coaching, teaching, mentoring, giving feedback, sometimes having tough conversations. You support each High School student to be present, to do their best and to get involved. Thank you High School Faculty! I am extremely privileged to work alongside you. 
Let me also take a moment to thank families: you are here tonight with mixed feelings. It is the end of something and the beginning of something else. C’est la vie.
Let me thank Ms Monica Jacome, who has helped so much throughout the process of graduation.

About Fred Bordaguibel-Labayle

Frederic Bordaguibel-Labayle is the High School Principal at Academia Cotopaxi American International School in Quito, Ecuador. Fred was born and raised in the southwest of France; he finished his studies and started teaching in the UK, then went on to Istanbul and he is currently in Quito. Fred likes to pause, reflect, and share his experience as an international educator and administrator.
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One Response to Just wondering about my Graduation speech to wrap up the year.

  1. Paola Torres de Pereira says:

    Laughter, tears, and lots of emotion. Thank you Fred for sending off the 2019 graduating class off with a spring. They will remember you forever!

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