King’s Academy, June 2, 2015 — Last week’s blistering heat wave didn’t put a damper on commencement season at King’s Academy as almost 2,000 proud family members, friends and alumni gathered on Commencement Lawn on Wednesday evening to celebrate the graduation of the Class of 2015.
Headmaster John Austin welcomed guests and thanked the entire King’s community – board members, families, teachers and staff – for their unyielding support of the school. He also thanked His Majesty King Abdullah II for his inspired vision for “a new kind of school in the Middle East . . . to forge a better future for all.”
Austin told the graduates that they have a chance to “fundamentally change how this part of the world is understood, to act as ambassadors for the kingdom and champions of its aspirations, to bring people together and to shape the future.”
At King’s, he added, they will always have a second home and family to return to.
“As you leave here, know that you will remain united through this school . . . and that you take with you the collective strength of everyone assembled here.”
A spirited dialogue between Sun Woo Kim and Abdulrahman Jamjoom added a fun twist to this year’s English oration – shared, for the first time, by two speakers. The duo reminisced about their time at King’s, expressing mixed emotions of sadness and excitement as they prepare to step out into the real world ready to achieve greatness.
Delivering the Arabic senior oration was Tyma Al Nimri, who expressed her gratitude to her alma mater for helping her achieve success and form lifelong friendships, and ended with the promise that she’d be back again soon.
Before His Excellency Akel Biltaji, the mayor of Amman and member of the King’s Academy Board of Trustees, addressed the crowd as this year’s commencement speaker, Ahmed Al Khalayleh and Aviselle Diaz were honored as the recipients of this year’s King Abdullah II Award while Sun Woo Kim and Seungjung Sohn were presented with the Academy Cup.
Mayor Biltaji then spoke about the critical role of graduates in urban planning and the importance of being involved in the “making and shaping” of future communities. To help achieve safe and secure cities, and ultimately countries, “we should be the stakeholders and not shareholders,” and do so with faith, values and ethics.
As the Class of 2015 prepared to receive their diplomas and eagerly throw their caps up into the air in true celebratory fashion, Biltaji left them with some words of wisdom.
“A city’s true measure is defined by the quality of ideas it generates, the innovation it spurs and the opportunities it creates for people,” he said. “Your outlook for your future must be directly connected to the welfare of your cities and the quality of your lives.”