With the first tones of festive music, LEAF Academy graduates entered the hall in Primate’s Palace with happy smiles and hearts beating fast. Saturday 22nd of June was the day of celebration when one episode of their lives ended and a new one began.
Our 23 graduating students attended a 2-year program that has helped them gain new skills and knowledge, improve their English skills, and challenged them to look at their possibilities and potential with a new perspective. They learned to dream one of their new dreams about their own future that will lead them to studies for example in Ireland, USA, Italy, Abu Dhabi, England or Czech Republic and some will work to gain some work experience first.
Matej Sapák, Principal of LEAF Academy, enters the stage and expresses his gratitude towards students, their parents, stafullty, partners and donors.
“I would like to give thanks to students for your courage to step into the unknown and take the challenge to do something new, I want to honor you today. It is thanks to you that, 2 years on, or in some cases 3 years on, LEAF Academy is stronger, it is thanks to your effort, thanks to your kindness, thanks to your actions.”
And as he leaves, we welcome with great applause our keynote speaker, Slovak reporter Zuzana Kovačič Hanzelová, that graduate students have chosen by themselves. In her speech she talked about how privileged we are, and how important it is to recognize and be thankful for it. In her second point she challenged all of us as we were sitting there, not only graduates, to always make the right choice, even when no one is looking. “Always be an example, not an excuse.” As she was closing her speech, she revealed the secret of true happiness, which is hidden in serving and helping others.
As the graduation continues with an encouraging word from our alumni Juraj Jursa and Class representative Dominika Geregová, beautiful emotions filled the place. And as the cherry on the top, we enjoyed a beautiful song “Faith of the heart“ by our school choir which had practiced with Ester Wiesnerova especially for this occasion.
Now, all students are holding their diplomas, posing for a picture and cannot wait to hear the last confirming sentence from Matej Sapák: “Let me introduce you to the Class of 2019.” And with those words, we could all enjoy the wonderful spectacle of our fresh graduates.
A few minutes later and we are standing in the garden of LEAF Academy, enjoying the last rout together. A tasty meal and charming atmosphere as the summer breeze perfectly closes our beautiful celebration.
As we are cleaning up and slowly leaving, a few kind words from Dominika’s speech remind us once again of the sense of our work and why we love what we do and how meaningful it is. We are already looking forward to next school year.
“This is our thank you to you, LEAF Academy, today spoken in my words. It’s our last thank you as your high school students but first as young adults, ready to go and take on the world. Keeping you in our hearts, minds, photographs and memories and laughter. We are leaving to taste another part of our life. We are ready because of you and that’s the most important, most precious gift we have received.”
Foto: Daniel Dluhý