The British School of Brussels (BSB) honoured the Class of 2022 graduating students on 24 June in a wonderful ceremony overflowing with a joyous sense of celebration and triumph.
116 students, impeccably dressed and brimming with pride, took the stage one by one to rapturous applause, receiving their graduating packs and warm congratulations from Principal Melanie Warnes. It was the largest contingent of graduating students in the school’s history and the JR Hall echoed with jubilation as each of them was lauded for their achievements.
The graduation venue had to be moved from the traditional stage as our Year 13 numbers are so large now that not everyone could fit in there anymore. It is likely that even more students, around 140, will fill the venue next year.
The event, hosted by the outgoing School Student Presidents, began with a champagne reception as proud parents, excited students and delighted staff mingled and shared stories in a relaxed but expectant atmosphere. The graduating students also had the opportunity to share a special moment with each other as formal photos were taken, creating photographic memories of enduring friendships and shared success.
During the formal ceremony, the graduating students, staff and attending family members were treated to speeches from Principal Melanie Warnes and John Knight, Vice-Principal & Head of Secondary School.
John opened the ceremony with a moving and inspirational speech on friendships and self-belief, drawing on themes from William Shakespeare’s play ‘Hamlet’.
He advised the assembled graduates “to thine own self be true” and not to limit their dreams. “You are capable of far, far, more than you think,” John told them. “You have amazing futures ahead of you. It’s your future. We are proud of you. Be true to yourselves and have big dreams.”
Concluding the formal ceremony, Melanie spoke about the importance of community and family, and the energy that we can all draw from these relationships, especially in difficult circumstances such as those experienced over the previous two years. That energy, and the spirit of togetherness at BSB, she said, had been the driving force behind the commitment and resilience the students had shown to overcome the obstacles placed in their path and face the unprecedented challenges of recent times head on.
“I cannot express how proud I am of all of you, students and staff, for your courage and resilience, your togetherness, and your willingness to adapt during those most trying of times,” she said, before concluding with a toast to the graduating students. “So, as you leave BSB, know where you have come from, appreciate where you have been and head confidently towards where you are going. Class of 2022, we are so proud of you. Good luck.”
In between the speeches and the awarding of the graduation packages, there was an extra special section of the evening dedicated to the much-loved and respected head of Post-16, Sue Munday who is retiring after 39 years of dedicated service at BSB. In a heartfelt and emotional farewell, a special trophy was awarded to Sue by the outgoing School Presidents engraved with ‘once BSB always BSB’.
Once the main event was over, graduates and attending staff enjoyed a gorgeous dinner in a marquee set in the green and beautiful surroundings of our school grounds. The marquee was full of laughter and excited chatter as the expectation and slight nervousness attached to the ceremony evaporated to be replaced with celebration.
After the difficulties of the last two years, it was a triumphant and jubilant return, providing everyone in attendance the opportunity to not only celebrate the success and hard work of the graduating students but the chance to share such a special moment together without restrictions.