King’s Academy, May 26, 2016 — Despite the cold and unseasonable drizzle, thousands of excited family members and friends made their way to Commencement Lawn on Tuesday evening to celebrate the graduation of the Class of 2016, held under the patronage of HRH Crown Prince Hussein bin Abdullah, who himself graduated from King’s Academy in 2012.
Headmaster John Austin kicked off the year’s highly anticipated event with a heartfelt welcome and expressed his gratitude for His Majesty King Abdullah II’s inspiring vision of education and continued leadership of the school. He also thanked parents and board members for their trust and support, faculty and staff for their dedicated service, and—in light of Jordan’s Independence Day the following day—the Jordanian armed forces for maintaining the safety and security of the Kingdom.
“Like institutions across the land, we depend upon the continued prosperity of the kingdom, and we should never take that prosperity for granted,” he said.
Austin also took a moment to recognize Founding Faculty Member Ryuji Yamaguchi, who after nearly a decade of service, is leaving King’s to pursue a Master’s degree at Columbia University and continue his career in professional dancing.
“Ryuji epitomizes what is best about this faculty,” Austin said. “Creativity, conviction, a deep and embracing love of Arab culture, an ability to connect with students from all backgrounds and walks of life, a sense of humor, humility, a passion for the arts and a commitment to sharing that passion with students.”
In her Arabic oration, Farah Mihyar got nostalgic about her special time at King’s and mused over the many things she and her fellow classmates will miss—the hallways, classrooms, friendships and collective learning experience—and said her final thank yous and goodbyes to everyone, down to the last basketball game and last science experiment.
While Rami Rustom delivered the majority of his oration in English, he inserted a few sporadic lines of “baby talk” throughout his speech in an attempt to remind the freshmen, sophomores and juniors in attendance of the importance of enjoying their youth and to never stop growing.
“Explore new things. Step out of your comfort zones. Ask questions. Be creative! King’s is a great place to do that.”
Next, Austin presented the two most prestigious awards given during Commencement: the Academy Cup, which was awarded to Jianing Zhao for being a “leading scholar whose academic work has been characterized by deep scholarship, curiosity, and a love of learning,” and the King Abdullah II Award, which went to Jamal Al Hourani for “fully embodying the ethos, spirit and guiding principles of the Academy.”
Before the members of the Class of 2016 were handed their diplomas by HRH Crown Prince Hussein and proudly tossed their caps up into the overcast sky, technology pioneer and founder of Jordan’s first mobile gaming company Nour Khrais gave this year’s commencement address.
In true techie fashion, Khrais compared life to “multi-pixels,” many of which are colorless yet necessary in order to “build a picture” and “form the right image.” After sharing some of his own life “pixels,” or stories, such as not obtaining a high enough Tawjihi score to study pharmacy and his brush with death during a fatal earthquake in Istanbul, Khrais explained that life has a way of throwing curveballs that can ultimately lead to the discovery of one’s true passion and purpose, even if it doesn’t appear that way early on. Throughout his career, Khrais experienced numerous setbacks and “roadblocks,” but his determination and resilience helped fuel his path to success.
Leaving the graduates with a few morsels of advice to take with them as they prepare to embark on a new adventure, Khrais urged them to always remain focused and invest in themselves, and to recognize the importance of leadership and empowering others by sharing knowledge.
“Remember; every success puts you at a new level, similar to gamer thinking. So prepare yourself for the next start.”
This year’s graduates are off to some of the world’s most reputable colleges and universities, including Princeton University, Columbia University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, Georgetown University, King’s College London, University of Edinburgh, Sciences Po, American University of Beirut, the Chinese University of Hong Kong and Ryerson University, among others.
In addition to receiving a wide range of acceptances from top institutions, seniors also earned an impressive amount of financial aid and rewards, with a total of about US $3.2 million to be used during their four-year matriculations.