English Oration: Zaid Al Zoubi
Esteemed guests, excited families in the background, mom and dad and my three sisters in the other room, and my fellow friends and family, Class of 2020:
It's surreal to be here, in part because of the global situation, but because I can never forget coming in freshman year as excited as we were with our new bags, stationery, and our ties tied all the way up to the top. Yet I recall being amazed at the extreme diversity in thought, before race or religion, that I found amongst you, and so to be speaking to you today is a privilege to say the least.
Before addressing anything, I wish to start with a short story.
You see, in my bedroom when I was seven years old I had a picture of Albert Einstein stuck on my wall because all my seven year old self could think of was becoming the next big scientist. And so, after taking, and struggling, with chemistry my sophomore year, my dreams were almost entirely shattered.
And so, to make myself feel better, I told myself "I am not a science person, I never was, humanities and arts are definitely my thing." But you see there was a danger to doing so, because it was easy to be one thing and not the other, and by continuously repeating that phrase, I imposed this defining characteristic upon myself — one that has led to almost every single decision I made in the past two years. And so it saddened me to see people around continuously defining my senior year, and telling me that it has to suck because of COVID19.
Because of anything I'm going to remember of my senior year, it's not going to be this. It's going to be the small moments catching up with my friends in the hallways between class, ordering pizza on my friends’ birthdays and celebrating each other in front of the Middle School. My small conversations with Mr. John in his office or my advisor Ms. Maram after lunch, because King's has given me the room to build such great relationships. It's going to be cheering with my friends in Nihal — a place I never imagined I'd call home, or competing against the other dorms in the annual lip sync, and especially Meissa. As ironic as it may sound but I'm going to miss Kovo kicking me out of my friend’s room at 4 am one more time cause I wasn't supposed to be there, I'm going to miss being chased by the OSL for sleeping in, I'm going to miss the effort Ms. Julianne has put in every school meeting, and I'm going to miss saying “salam” to Mr. Jazi as I leave the library running to check in so I'm not late, one final time.
Graduating from King's is special because of the opportunities it has given us. It's a dream I had in my freshman year that many of us had before even applying, and I wish to remember the times our experience surpassed our expectations and reflect on the defining characteristics we have imposed on ourselves in the last four years.
I wish to share a final thought before leaving. It's a memory from my favorite class this year, AP European History with Mr. William Ballenger. We talked about the Age of Enlightenment, where enlightened thinkers would think independently from what generations have been taught to think, and the changes their generation prompted. And that moment I related their era to our current generation — and finally understood a phrase that at King's we are continuously told that as a freshman, sophomore, junior and a decent part of my senior year I misunderstood. "The king wants us to come back," they tell us, "with our education and intellectual minds comes responsibility," but what does that mean?
I think I finally understand. The king doesn’t want us to necessarily physically come back as that may not be possible for some of our classmates or is a matter of personal choice, but the king's vision still rings true. Please do not forget the responsibility of representing ourselves as King's Academy scholars from Jordan regardless of where we're from or where we are at a time where misrepresentation is at its peak, and to forever keep the drive for change within us and remember who we are at heart.
Thank you King's — who would have known that the seven year old scientist would end up applying for film school 10 years later — and thank you Class of 2020, it's been great, it really has.