All IB students gathered with staff and proud family members on the last Friday in August to celebrate the best set of results to date from Etis.
Dr Ville Voipio spoke from the heart about his own experiences with IB, as one of the first graduates in Finland, way back in 1993. He shared success stories from among his own peers and stated, frankly, that the IB teaches good discipline as much as anything else. Getting up early, seeing essays through before the critical deadline, responding to the challenges under pressure - all of these are essential life skills in the world of work. The IB creates opportunities. It is up to graduates to determine what they will do with these opportunities once they strike off on their own.
The Principal Harri Rinta-aho, on his last day of duty before becoming Director of Education for Espoo, recalled in his speech the remarkable achievements of the graduates. The art exhibition was a clear highlight, and the immense (and justifiable) pride of students in their work was a pleasure to behold. The school newsletter, 45/7, was another landmark, with students and teachers alike eagerly anticipating the next edition.
After white caps were donned, amid much applause, the Principal issued awards for merit to Rolle Rantaniemi for academic excellence; to Yacquub Moalim for enhancing the Etis spirit; and to Marina Tiikanen for embodying the qualities of the Learner Profile. It speaks volumes about the caliber of this group that several other highly deserving recipients had to be passed over in making such a tough selection.
Rolle Rantaniemi, fresh from the army, took the podium to deliver the graduate speech. This had all the hallmarks that made Rolle such a successful student over the years: well prepared, thoughtful and generous.
Coordinator David Crawford spoke about the remarkable success of students in finding their way into Higher Education, to study subjects ranging from engineering to media studies, from psychology to business and from computer science to logistics. This was an exceptional group and it is going to be a very hard act to follow.
No description of the event would be complete without reference to the high quality music, with a Jewish wedding song, played by Elena and Anna Shemyak, and a couple of classical pieces played by our virtuoso pianist Jamin Hu. Meanwhile, Toomas Pitkänen saved the day when another musician had to pull out through ill-health. Toomas, an accomplished magician, took to the stage and amazed his audience with some really clever tricks. His energetic and cheeky banter soon had us laughing, too.
The sun shone for a few critical minutes whilst photos were taken in the yard, with parents clicking away between exchanging a few words with teachers. Then the heavens opened up and graduates hastened away to their respective parties. Our very best wishes go with them.