Graduation 2017: Student speaker challenges ISB Mission

Friday 2 June was an emotional evening as the ISB Class of 2017 officially graduated from the school.

As in previous years, the sixty-sixth ISB Commencement included a faculty speaker nominated by the students.

During her speech, Biology teacher Erin Hayn encouraged ISB Seniors never to accept what they heard without questioning. "The key is that in order to question, you have to imagine. Don't assume anything is inevitable. We are all humans able to change the course of our future - we do not necessarily need to accept what is happening in front of our very eyes."

Student speaker, Oscar Rousseau followed and held the audience captivated with his inspiring, amusing and unconventional speech.

As if taking Erin Hayn at her word, Oscar questioned everything - included the school's Mission.

Why, he asked, is our school's Mission about everyone being successful? Surely we should be ensuring that all our students fail.

Not fail at everything, he emphasized, just some things; for without failure, there can be no success. Without failure, we would not know where to go on, how to improve, how to learn from our mistakes.

Looking to his fellow classmates, Oscar gave some final words of advice:

"Try it all. Throw caution to the wind, jump into the unknown. Give it everything you have and revel in the outcome. Take that 'Intro to Brazilian Literature' course, join a protest, run with the bulls, swim with sharks, jump out of a plane, take IB physics... and live with the consequences of that decision for the rest of your life."

Only by taking risks, he concluded, and inevitably, sometimes, failing - will you truly grow.

We wish the best of luck to the ISB Class of 2017 and look forward to welcoming them back very soon as members of the school's alumni community.

If you missed graduation, would like to watch it again, or share with relatives who were unable to be there, you can view it here.

View photos from the graduation ceremony and the previous day's awards ceremony here.