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Graduation Address 2021

By Karen Hall

QSI Incoming Vice-President 

On behalf of QSI Board of Directors and QSI Leadership, I would like to congratulate you for completing a very important milestone in your life.  I would also like to say, “thank you” to all teachers, counselors, administrators, and your parents who also dedicated themselves to your success. 

As you look back over the past four years of your Secondary experience, you will no doubt, have many mixed emotions and memories.  Never before, that we can remember, have graduates passed through the last two years of their schooling like you have.  Never knowing if you would be in the classroom or learning on-line, studying with peers or in isolation at home; you never knew if you would face the effects of Covid-19 or safely avoid this virus.  The two most important years where you had meet all your course requirements, as well as prepare for end of year tests such as AP, IB, and SAT Exams; not to mention, facing the demands of submitting all those applications to universities – You Have Met The Challenge.  You have accomplished all of these demands and successfully arrived at your graduation ceremony.  You are now ready to receive your diploma; but you have had to fight like no others before you.

What you have gained from your education in your QSI school is more than just knowledge.  You have learned how to navigate successfully through challenges that come your way.  QSI Success Orientations have been your underlying strength and force as you’ve demonstrated the self-will to never give up (Independent Endeavor).  You’ve held on with great tenacity and completed projects, tests, and all those Outcome requirements (Responsibility).  The experience of working on-line and waiting your turn for help (Group Interaction) or dealing with terrible internet has helped you to develop patience.  Yes, you’ve learned what it is like to have no control over your situation.  There was nothing you could do when governments shut down your school and community to protect the citizens.  Hopefully, these experiences have also helped you to be more empathetic for others who have no control over their circumstances (Concern for Others)

Someone once said, “When you face difficult times, know that challenges are not sent to destroy you. They’re sent to promote, increase and strengthen you.”  

Ask yourself, “How am I a better person for successfully reaching my Secondary Graduation?”  “What have my challenges taught me?”  “What besides knowledge have I gained from my experiences?”  

Your story isn’t finished yet.  How does your story continue to develop as you move into adulthood?  It’s really up to you to decide; you are the author.  You can say, “I’ve had enough struggle”, “I’m tired”, “I just want things to be normal”; or you can say “Hey, I really did it!  I’m here”, “I know that I can overcome challenges and make a difference”.

I encourage you to look to the future.  There is so much ahead for you.  Each of you are unique with a different destination.  You are a different and stronger individual than you were 4 years ago in Secondary I.  Take your experiences and continue to add knowledge, goodness, and determination as you enter the next arena of life.  Never back down from the greatest challenge of making a positive impact on the world around you.  

Quality Schools International is proud of each of you.  Congratulations!

Dr. Karen Hall