Islamabad:April 26:A sea of navy-gowned students walked to the solemn sounds of the graduation march at Froebel’s International School here as part of their official commencement exercises held annually at each campus of the school.
Head Principal Shahmina Kamal delivered a humorous yet touchingly maternal address. “My kids, my students, you had me on my toes. I lost many kilos running after you! This amazing, dependable batch demonstrated great unity and strength, cared for one another and always bounced back after difficulties,” she remarked. Shields of excellence were presented to Qudsia Sufi for A level Urdu and Al-Hasnat Rasool for IGCSE Physics. A letter of appreciation was also awarded to a parent, Zahid Mehmood, for delivering a motivational talk to A level students.
The savvy host of the ceremonies, student Rizwan M. Syed, introduced the two chief guests for the evening to the podium. Chief guest Dr. Javaid Laghari, chairman of the Higher Education Commission, delivered a speech dotted with technological references and details of advancements in supplementing education. It started out in the form of a lecture, but quickly became a personal ode to high-tech gadgets and social media, with references that made him very popular with the teenaged graduates.
“I check Facebook and Twitter a dozen times a day, have 5,000 Facebook friends, and tweet up to five times daily,” Dr. Leghari said, praising the Khan Academy channel on YouTube (a topic incidentally covered by student Shaheer Siddiqui in the Froebelian Gazette over a year before Time magazine). “The British call it ‘graduation’ but the Americans call it ‘commencement,’ because it’s the beginning of your new lives,” said Dr. Laghari before congratulating the class of 2012 for their achievements.
Co-chief guest Fasi Zaka, a noted humourist and intellectual, recalled anecdotes from his student days in Peshawar, drawing laughter and applause. He also urged students to give back to society in whatever small way they can. “It’s great to see you’ve got a communal and loving environment,” he added.
Zaka presented an award to the country head of Cambridge International Examinations, Uzma Yousaf, who also happens to be his wife, before handing out diplomas in a ceremony made all the more dramatic with the roar of thunder and flashes of lightning.
Students and their families and faculty proceeded to the auditorium for refreshments and a hilarious short film about the year they had had over a soundtrack of Pakistani rock music and mock-dialogues by the school administration and a collage of memorable photographs.
The ecstatic mood had a strong emotive undercurrent. “I feel like crying of happiness,” said Shahmina Kamal. Among the graduates was her daughter Fizza. As she walked down the podium with her diploma, King’s College bound Shanzay J. Malick said, “I’m really depressed; these bricks are my home,” while her mother, Dr. Sameena Malick, remarked, “I love Froebel’s for looking after my girls.” Isra Zia, who was offered a $48,000 scholarship from Lesley College, said graduating from school felt “like leaving home.”
Despite the ceremony, many students didn’t feel like they had ‘left’ yet. Head girl Maryam Ansari, who spent 10 years at Froebel’s, scored 7 As in her O levels and is choosing between SOAS, the University of Warwick and LUMS, reiterated, saying, “It feels unreal; like an alternate universe.”
Natascha Ahmed (awarded £6,000 at the University of Sheffield and accepted at Royal Holloway and the Universities of Sussex, Warwick and Dundee), said “Graduating isn’t hitting us yet because we still have our exams after this.”
Head boy Omer Malik, who scored 6 As in his O levels and has been offered a $15,000 scholarship at the Rochester Institute of Technology, added that they didn’t yet have “full freedom.” Counsellor Rukhsia Waqas, a Froebelian alum, described the school’s career and education guidance programme as “designed around student achievement” and “a motivational and guidance tool” for students to take of advantage of.
Alina Tahir, captain of Basketball and Volleyball, described her experience at Froebel’s as very encouraging. “Girls tend to be more involved in makeup but not anymore,” she said proudly. Froebel’s has a specific coach for girls with a degree in PE and Karate. This year’s graduates are set on taking on the world and all that it has to offer.The news.