This post is also available in: Spanish

It was that time of year again…the rite of passage in which we see our youth celebrate 14 years of hard work, growing and developing into young men and women ready to take the world by storm. The past 13th of June, the Abraham Lincoln School celebrated its 32nd graduation at the Flamboyan Convention Center in Casa de Campo, where in a beautiful ceremony they presented to the world a set of highly educated and prepared individuals. At 7:30pm the graduates filed in proudly to the notes of Passenger’s popular “Let Her Go” in instrumental on the arm of a family member, leaving behind them in every confident stride, the institution that had been their second home for the past decade and a half. The ceremony, which always brings bittersweet emotions was a beautiful one, and brought tears to the many parents who looked proudly upon their children, yet with always that bit of nostalgia, seeing how they had grown up so fast. As the ceremony proceeded the students took turns in addressing their audience in both English and Spanish, with masters of ceremony Margery Pinette, Alejandro Flaquer, Maria del Sol Libert, Jackson Couldrey, Kircy Mayans, Adrian Baber, Dominick Abreu, Renis La Paz, Yocaeri Rodríguez and Lester Arrindell introducing the speeches. Lisselotte Garcia and Carmen Montás delivered the welcome speech. Followed by a inspiring speech by the school headmaster, Harry Magee, who reminded the class that nothing in this life was going to be given to them on a platter, that they would have to work very hard to achieve success and that the only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary! 
“Enjoy your plans and your achievements. In university you will continue the teachings that you have received in our school and in your homes to act always with responsibility and to maintain a healthy discipline. We hope that you will also learn to develop the spiritual strength that will protect you against sudden adversity. Finally, and most importantly, take this life that God has given you and make it something meaningful.” — Harry Magee, Abraham Lincoln School Headmaster
This was followed by the song “Hall of Fame” and the Class Motto and Thoughts, where Mereysa Taylor and Hilda Geraldinho shared why for them “To know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded”- Ralph Waldo Emerson. The students were addressed by guest speaker Roberto Bonetti, Vice President of Mercasid, who offered his wise advice for this new stage in their lives. The Beatles filled the air after this as “Let it Be” resonated through the room, reminding us that there is always an answer, there will always be light. This, the perfect prelude to two impressive speeches by the Valedictorian, Mayra Bueno and Salutatorian Mariella Matar, who delivered the Valedictory Address in English and Spanish respectively. Mayra, who graduated with an impressive  3.90 GPA, reminded her fellow peers that they had not yet done anything impressive, that this was just a stepping stone and the beginning, she encouraged them to go out there and do great things, because they had not done anything special yet, they had not “made it”, so now was the time to really go out there and make things happen. The class poem, The Last Bell, was written as well as delivered by Emily White, Daniella Medina, Anel Peña and María Baez. Who shared with us their abilities in creative writing and their sentiments on this rite of passage. As the ceremony came to a close Raffaella Grisolia and Marcos Mayans thanked all those who had been of influence for the past 14 years, showing their gratitude to all staff, friends and families that had helped them and guided them to this point. Finally, the much anticipated moment arrived. Mr. Magee called the students one by one and as they received their diplomas from the Director of the Abraham Lincoln School Board, Dr. Leonardo Matos, and had their tassels turned to the left they officially closed this chapter of their lives. The students filed out of conference room excitedly to the rhythm of Pharrell’s “Happy”, without a doubt very happy to be starting this new stage in their lives.

Here are some thoughts from the graduates…

Hilda Geraldinho

It is an honor to have graduated from such a prestigious institution where both my mother and siblings attended. I know I have only started my journey and have been handed the tools to make a difference in the future. It is both exciting and overwhelming to leave my second home for the uncertain. It is sad to leave those who have become brothers and sisters over the years, but I know we will be in touch. I am not certain of what the future may hold for me, but I will face it with courage, values and perseverance. I wish to succeed no matter the circumstances, through hard work and helping others. The Abraham Lincoln School has made me perseverant, it has taught me respect, organization and confidence. I am proud to say that ALS has made me someone with moral values: I’ve learnt that in life it is up to you to make the best of every situation and it’s within you to see the opportunities around you. What I’ll miss the most is the teachers who now I consider friends, and the feeling of safety and belonging which the school environment provided. I admit it will be tough moving onto a place where you know no one, especially coming from a place where every one was happy to help. My experience in at the Abraham Lincoln School will stay with me through life.
José Pilier
It feels really good to have graduated, I feel a bit more free. I would say my time at ALS was good. I had great fun with friends and had the chance of meeting different teachers each year. Well, next is the real world. I am hoping to have luck in my future as I am joining the Dominican Airforce and am looking forward to succeeding in it. The Abraham Lincoln School taught me to be responsible in my work and also the value of respect. What I will miss the most will be having my close friends, which are now more like family, around me day in and day out

Mayra Bueno

“I have no words to describe my time at the Abraham Lincoln School. It has been a time I will cherish for the rest of my life. ALS has been my foundation and my home. A place where I made friendships that will last a lifetime. It has been the time for learning and fun, and a time I will miss from now on.

I have many aspirations in life which I hope to achieve during the next years of my life. I will go on to study Molecular Biology at FIT, after which I wish to do a Phd in Virology or Neuroscience. Who knows… I might find the cure for cancer.

I feel proud and blessed for the opportunity to be Valedictorian. I am delighted to bring such honour to my parents who have supported me since day one. They gave me the drive to strive for the best and for this I am thankful. All the hard work and effort have paid off. Whilst I am proud, I wish this recognition will be the first of many more to come.”

Sophia Papadopoulos

It feels great to have graduated. I’ve overcome the stress and pressure of finals. I’m looking forward to college, traveling and meeting new people.

I can say my time at the Abraham Lincoln School has been one of the best times of my life. The experiences, the friends I’ve made, the memories, I am truly going to miss it.

What I’ll miss the most is all the crazy things we would do during break time.

ALS taught me important values, which are key in everyday life; responsibility and accuracy in meeting deadlines were a must.

Next is Montreal, Canada, where I will study Hotel Management.

Raffaella Grisolia

It feels liberating to know that after you graduate your life is in your hands and that with the base education that we receive at the Abraham Lincoln School we can go anywhere and succeed.

My time at ALS was fun and innocent, The friends that I made at ALS are forever and I am thankful for every moment, everything I learnt and every person I met there.

What’s next? Well… life? Continue studying so that I can expand my knowledge.

Most important thing ALS taught me? People diversity, and how we can get along with anyone no matter where they come from or their backgrounds, whether that is half way around the world or right here in the Dominican Republic.

The thing I’ll miss the most will probably be the fact that the classes were so small that the teachers knew every single one of us, something that will probably not happen at university.

Lester Arrindell

I still don’t believe its over, I still think that when September comes I’ll have to go back to school

I would describe my time at the Abraham Lincoln School as a great time, where I had the opportunity to meet some amazing people, many of which have impacted my life.

The following are photos taken at the 32nd Graduation Ceremony of the Abraham Lincoln School, celebrated in Casa de Campo: