Amid laughter and thunderstorm, a memorable graduation

Published: April 25, 2012

" Give back to society in whatever small way you can. We are all quite privileged from parentage and accident of birth," Columnist Fasi Zaka.

A sea of navy blue-gowned students walked to the solemn sounds of the annual graduation march held at Froebel’s International School Islamabad on Tuesday, said a press release. The ceremony had its share of tears and joy with the students pledging to give back to the society in whatever way they could.

Addressing the students, 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 said.

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 his motivational speech to A-level students.

Higher Education Commission Chairman Dr Javaid Laghari, one of the two chief guests at the ceremony, began his speech with technological references and advancements in supplementing education, but soon made it into a personal ode to high-tech gadgets and social media – making the former senator very popular with the teenaged graduates.

“I check Facebook and Twitter a dozen times a day, have five thousand Facebook friends, and tweet up to five times daily,” he said. Laghari also praised The Khan Academy channel on YouTube, a topic incidentally covered by student Shaheer Siddiqui in the Froebelian Gazette a year before Time magazine did.

Co-chief guest Fasi Zaka, the noted satirist and columnist, recalled anecdotes from his student days in Peshawar that drew laughter and applause.

He also urged students to give back to society in whatever small way they can, adding, “We are all quite privileged from parentage and accident of birth.”

Zaka presented an award to the Cambridge International Examinations Country Head, Uzma Yousaf, who also happens to be his wife. “I can’t believe I’m awarding my wife on behalf of Froebel’s,” he remarked wryly, 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,where graduation-themed cakes and a hilarious short film about the year the students had awaited them. The film also had a soundtrack of Pakistani rock music and mock-dialogues by school admin and a collage of memorable photographs.

The ecstatic mood had a strong emotive undercurrent. “I feel like crying from happiness,” said Principal Shahmina Kamal. Among the graduates was her daughter, Fizza.

Moreover, as she walked down the podium with her diploma, Shanzay J Malick, who has been accepted to The King’s College, said, “I’m really depressed, these bricks are my home.” Her mother, Dr Sameena Malick, remarked, “I love Froebel’s for looking after my girls.”

Published in The Express Tribune, April 25th, 2012.

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