June 1st, international children's day, was of special significance for CAISL's senior class: it was their graduation day, and thus the last time coming to school as students.
More than a celebration marking the end of the school year, the American Graduation (often called Commencement) ceremony awards all seniors High School Diplomas, an official certification of achievement and recognition of their accomplishments. The American system of education, which leads to the American High School Diploma, validates independent thought, creativity, initiative, and leadership, as well as high academic achievement, which makes this ceremony even more special.
Leonor F. and João Pedro Z. welcomed the senior class and families in the audience to the theater, and set the tone of heartfelt speeches for the rest of the event. Varchas S. followed to introduce the keynote speaker, Dr. Francisco Pinto Balsemão, who spoke to the students about the challenges this generation will face, particularly with climate change, although being confident they'd be up to the task.
Mr. Chapman then called the class Valedictorian, Vasco G., who shared his fond memories of CAISL and his colleagues through the years, starting in pre-school with his Mickey Mouse backpack, and until this last day of school. The Commencement ceremony was punctuated with moving students speeches, with Ginali S., António C. and Selma B. doing the class profile and Gonçalo M. and Gea G. doing the farewell. Equally as touching were the musical interludes, which included a mashup song performed by Leonor F., Davina S. and Pedro S., "Stand in the Light" performed by the secondary school choir, and the classic "Stand By Me" sang by the graduating class. Recognizing each student's unique qualities, there was still a brief speech for each graduate done by their selected teacher, just before collecting their High School Diploma, making this a special moment for each of the students.
Besides the all-important High School Diploma, some graduating students received awards for their contributions in several school programs. Matias S. and Vasco G. received the Top Scholar award, Gea G. the Community Service award, João Pedro Z. the Portuguese Language and Literature Award, Yulei P. and António C. the Fine Arts Award, and Elijah F. and João Pedro Z. the Athletics Award. The National Honor Society (NHS) Award deserves a special mention, as CAISL students Davina S. and Matias S. received two of the seven awards that are given to NHS Chapters working outside of the USA.
Congratulations Class of 2019!
For more pictures of this event, please follow this link.