Embarking on the Future: Class of 2023 Graduation Ceremony

On 27 May 2023, the ISP community gathered at the stunning Žofín palace to commemorate the Graduation of the Class of 2023.  It was a moving ceremony, filled with heartfelt and uplifting speeches by both students and faculty, praising the remarkable class of 2023 for their exceptional dedication, resilience, and accomplishments at ISP. 

Upper School Principal, Dr. Eric Sturm, and ISP Director, Dr. Chip Kimball, addressed the graduates, highlighting the significance of their accomplishments and the personal growth and values fostered during their time at ISP.

“We know that the ethos of ISP, one where diversity matters, internationalism matters, kindness matters, and excellence matters, is now a part of who you are. These values will influence the decisions you make, the people that you choose to associate with, and what you will commit your life’s work to. “

Dr. Chip Kimball, ISP Director

“As your Principal, I have witnessed you accomplish so much during your time at ISP. You have learned to work hard, to get yourself organized, to calm yourself down or to get yourself motivated. You have developed skills in learning how to learn, how to adapt to new situations and how to survive setbacks and move forward. You have learned how to make good decisions and how to make good friends. You have developed a disposition for life-long learning. These soft skills are accomplishments in and of themselves that transcend achievements and are attributes that will serve you well in any endeavor you choose to pursue. “

Dr. Eric Sturm, Upper School Principal

Thanh Mai Nguyenova (Zep) and Delanie Strebel were selected as the student speakers for the event. They eloquently expressed the mixture of emotions that come with graduating, reminiscing about funny memories and strong bonds created by the seniors throughout their years at ISP.

“We live to discover and learn, and this is only possible if we put ourselves out there and dive headfirst into change- which, whether we like it or not, will come. The nature of change is not guaranteed to be gentle or kind. But I implore you, do not resist it. Now, more than ever before, the change we embrace is what will allow us to grow. So welcome it with open arms and remember that it is just a little bit less scary if we face it together.”

Thanh Mai Nguyenova (Zep), Class of 2023

“As a class, we have experienced a multitude of world events—most notably a multi-year global pandemic. Even individually, we’ve experienced life-changing moments; good or bad. So yes, thank yourselves for surviving the 8th-grade curator project, months of Zoom classes, and successfully keeping our heads above water in the treacherous sea which is the IB programme. Today, a chapter in our book of life comes to an end but it opens a new and exciting chapter with endless possibilities.”

Delanie Strebel, Class of 2023

We also heard from David Rops, an Upper School Mathematics teacher, who spoke passionately about the importance of courage, taking risks, and living without regrets.

“This personal bar is your bar: it’s not your parent’s bar, it’s not your teacher’s bar, it’s yours, you get to set it for yourself.  You get to decide how to live with no regrets.  It will look different for all of us.”

David Rops

The Graduation ceremony was a touching tribute to this exceptional group of students, as well as to their families and teachers who have supported them on this journey and had a profound impact on their lives.

The future paths of our ISP graduates vary, some will be attending universities from around the world, ranging from Maastricht University in the Netherlands to Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh to University of Oxford, while others are considering their options or taking a gap year. Regardless of their choices, we are confident that they will carry with them the skills, values, friendships, and understandings they have learned here at ISP and go on to make a difference in the world. 

We are immensely proud of the Class of 2023 and confident that as they embark on this next stage of their life, they will continue to be curious, competent, compassionate changemakers.