The British School of Brussels Class of 2023 took centre stage during a magnificent graduation ceremony on 23 June as proud parents joined together with teachers and staff in a celebration not only of the academic achievements of these exceptional students but also their remarkable resilience, determination, and unwavering spirit.
It was a bittersweet moment, but one filled with hope for the future, as the school bid farewell to the Class of 2023. The ceremony provided an opportunity for the entire school community to express their admiration and appreciation for their accomplishments and say their goodbyes.
As ever, as well as a time to celebrate and honour our amazing students, graduation is also a time to reflect on their years spent at BSB and a chance to look forward to the exciting opportunities that lie ahead. This was expertly summed up in the opening address by Vice Principal and Head of Secondary John Knight who spoke about the journey that the Class of 2023 had been on to get to this point, and the adventures and challenges that await them in the future.
“Life is a journey,” John told the assembled audience. “Today is not the end, but just a moment to pause, and reflect together, ahead of the next exciting stage.”
“Take in this moment, this rite of passage. Enjoy it. You are here with your parents and your BSB family, with the teachers who have inspired, encouraged, and nagged you and with the friends who have shared special memories with you.”
Before introducing the first musical interlude of the night – a rendition of The Beatles’ ‘Blackbird’ performed by Jacqueline and Chiara – John ended his speech with a line from Tennysons poem ‘Ulysses’, where the Greek hero looks back on his journeys and adventures: “I am a part of all that I have met.”
“You are a part of BSB, and you take a part of BSB with you,” John concluded. “The memories, friendships and the values of BSB are with you as you go on to the exciting next stage of your journey – once BSB, always BSB!”
In three certificate presentations led by James Willis, Head of Post-16 – separated by Kiara playing ‘Andante Pastoral et Scherzettino’ by Paul Taffanel, and Theo and Rebekah performing ‘The Girl from Ipanema’ – around 130 students took the stage one by one to thunderous applause, receiving their graduating packs and heartfelt congratulations from Principal Melanie Warnes. It marked the largest group of graduating students in the school’s history, and the JR Hall reverberated with jubilation as each of them was commended for their accomplishments.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, Melanie addressed the students in a speech which focused on the transformative power of education and the incredible personal growth these students have experienced throughout their time at the school.
“I believe, to the very core of my being, in the power of education to change lives for the good and to help us to become the very best version of ourselves,” she said. “I look around this room and I am grateful and hopeful when I see the faces of those whom I believe will be the policy makers and leaders of the future and feel proud that we have helped in some small way.”
“I see you stepping into the world, full of dreams and hope, confidence and just a little anxiety and it makes my heart soar with optimism for the future. Thank you for being you. Thank you for being at BSB. And in a world where you can be anything, please choose to be kind.”
After the main event, the graduates and attending staff were treated to a splendid dinner inside a marquee set amidst the lush and picturesque surroundings of the school grounds where stories and reminiscences were shared in a relaxed and celebratory atmosphere. The marquee reverberated with laughter and animated conversations long into the night as the anticipation and anxiety surrounding the ceremony gave way to jubilation.
Best of luck, BSB Class of 2023 – we are incredibly proud of you and your accomplishments!