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Last Saturday we celebrated the UWCSEA Class of 2019 and proudly watched as they began to embark on a much bigger life journey as a UWC alumni. Relive the bittersweet ceremonies and watch the highlights videos - from hilarious class speakers, to inspiring guests, to the familiar faces of our alumni.
Sovichea Kon ‘18
Alumni speaker - UWCSEA East
Near the end of my five years at UWCSEA, I realised I became a completely different 'me' every year. My values were constantly transforming and I was redefining myself. My story may be different, but not unique. With or without choice, each one of us here has been touched, moulded and changed by this community.
It was very difficult that I could not bring UWC with me to my next destination, this place I called home, this place that has changed me so much. However, I am reassured, I find UWC in places where it doesn’t seem to exist. It’s in the simplest form of a smile, the way people greet you or how they offer to open the door for you. There seems to be a common language somewhere that correlates with this community. There are values that are emphasised and nurtured as utmost importance in UWC and they seem to be universal. Those values exist deep down somewhere beneath the surface of geographical and cultural differences. I realised that I didn’t need to find it, but that I had simply brought it with me.
Out that door, your acquired knowledge and this universal set of values are very much needed. You have so much capacity to bridge these differences and bring good into this world.
Guest speaker - UWCSEA East
CEO, ADDO AI and Founder of 21C Girls
Ultimately whether you are a novelist, a filmmaker, a baker, or a data scientist, it’s all about creative problem-solving. It is a common mission. In all this what I’ve realised is that to believe, to care, to pursue with conviction together, is what strings together meaningful moments in one’s life. I’m really excited for your future today. I’m excited for my future because you are going to be the leaders in it, and I’m especially excited for you because the world offers a wealth of opportunities. You just need to empower yourself, and you also need to constantly not let yourself be pigeonholed in any deterministic way. Be open to any ideas that you have out there, and you will see that with the right team that you can achieve anything that you want.
Adhwaith Neralla ‘19
Class speaker - UWCSEA Dover
Coming together is such a difficult thing to do, especially in a situation where there is great diversity, and there aren’t many places that have more diversity that this school. Just in our grade, we have people from over 50 nationalities and people who have all keep from very different backgrounds. There are people who have been at this school since Grade 2, for over 11 years of their lives, and others who have joined us in Grade 11, coming from all over the world and bringing their own ideas and beliefs. But something I feel strongly is that, by-and large, we have become closer over time, and I think that has something to do with our empathy for each other, and how we started to try and understand the people we may not have been friends with, instead of just avoiding them. So when I think of our legacy, I can’t think of a better way to set an example for future grades than the way we did: together. It highlighted how far we've come and showed our, dare I say, exemplary levels of cohesion.
But if there's one thing I’ve learned from my time here, it's that the journeys we take and the memories we forge are immeasurably better when we have others to share it with. so if there's one thing I would urge you all, it would be to carry on the spirit of and cohesion that we have cultivated and spread.
Principal of High School - UWCSEA East
The right questions are not the readily answered. 15 or 18 gears? What’s everyone else doing? What can I get away with? What do most people do? They are not the right ones. But the much harder, more important might be: What do I want from my life? What will I look back on with pride and a sense of accomplishment?
Maybe, it all adds up to the question - in my short time on the planet, what’s my Mission? No-one can answer that but you. It helps to have friends but ultimately, it’s down to you now.
Adulthood might mean asking the right questions; which are likely to be about your mission across your lifetime. The questions may be a little scary, because there is no perfect information, no perfect rationality as you make your choices. Life demands that we take actions and make commitments even though the future is uncertain. Anyone who has given their heart in love, brought a child into the world, watched them walk across a stage like this, headed into an uncertain future, knows this to be true. And now it’s your truth too, if you choose to make it so.
Pascale Moreau ‘79
Alumni and Guest speaker - UWCSEA Dover
Director of the Bureau for Europe of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
This College changed my life and the world would be in a better place, in my view, if all children on the planet could have the opportunity to study in UWCs. UWC’s Refugee Initiative is the most appreciated step in direction as it gives hope and a future to youths who have lost everything. The universal values of UWC - the celebration of diversity, education, the environment, peace, sustainable development, multiculturalism - these are exactly the same as the aspirations of the UN.
Societies can only be truly prosperous, stable and peaceful if they include everyone. As citizens, we have rights, but we also have obligations, and you know this because you have had the privilege of learning and living in a multicultural diversity that promotes understanding and tolerance. Please keep this alive. It is one of UWC’s most precious gifts, and each of you, each of us, can make a difference. As Dante said, “The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality at times of moral crisis.”
Teddy Diallo ‘19 and Ritika Purbey ‘19
Class speakers - UWCSEA Dover
The people that you surround yourself with inevitably have a significant influence on your character. For that, I consider myself so lucky to be graduating among such a talented and driven class. Class of 2019, we pushed ourselves to unimaginable limits, winning multiple SEASAC tournaments, putting on art exhibitions, starring in musicals, planning fundraisers, climbing mountains, all while completing the IB. And that is something worth celebrating.
Now as we prepare to leave, looking at what lies ahead is intimidating. But we must be careful when differentiating the home that we have here and the real world out there. The atmosphere at a UWC campus is undeniably unique, and we are often told that we are cushioned by this UWC bubble. But the world beyond UWC isn’t something to fear, because we must remember that it is our actions that shaped this atmosphere. We worked to create this reality, which means we have the ability to do it again, to extend this bubble beyond 1207 Dover Road.
So as you go forward in your life, even if you are scared, even if you’re not sure, because none of us truly are, do not let the expectations you set for yourself hinder you from taking risks and being adventurous because it’ll all work out in the end. I hope we carry what we’ve learnt. I hope we remember that each of us have something to offer. And most importantly I hope we all know that this is not goodbye. We will always be connected by our time at UWCSEA and as we become alumni, this connection will only grow stronger.