Rau rangatira mā, e huihui nei, tēnei aku mihi māhana ki a koutou. Kia ora tātou katoa. Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, warm greetings to you all.
Thank you for joining us here this evening as we celebrate the achievements of this year’s International Baccalaureate Schools of New Zealand Top Scholars.
What do Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, actor Gael Garcia Bernal and Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz have in common? It may sound like the beginning of a rather strange joke but those four people are all International Baccalaureate diploma holders.
Every year, all around the world, young people test themselves by taking part in the International Baccalaureate programme. Some are attracted by its academic rigour, others by the opportunity to measure themselves against other scholars worldwide. Still more appreciate the opportunity to become involved in a programme underpinned by a commitment to a broader worldview. All who graduate talk of the feeling of accomplishment and the value of what they have learned during their time in the programme.
Education is so much more than facts and figures. While marks are proof of success, what is equally important is the personal growth achieved along the way. The IB programmes ethos can be distilled into 10 ideals that underpin the programmes purpose. As well as achieving academically, you scholars have learned to be great communicators, developed your principals and ethical framework, discovered the importance of asking ‘why’ and a myriad other skills and abilities. These things will remain of value for the rest of your lives.
Of course, no-one does it alone. I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the families and friends of the Top Scholars. Their achievement is also your achievement. Every student needs a great support team and you have played your part in their success. I know you’ll be proud of what they’ve achieved and tonight is the night you can allow yourselves a little pat on the back too.
I would also like to recognise the contribution of your teachers. Their skill and dedication has helped each scholar’s IB journey reach a very successful conclusion. American historian Henry Brooks Adams once said “Teachers affect eternity. No one can tell where their influence stops”. Our teachers influence our lives for decades and what they teach is often the foundation for our future success.
Congratulations once again to this year’s International Baccalaureate Top Scholars. Tonight is a chance to celebrate your success and honour the commitment and dedication that got you here. As you move onwards into higher education, you take with you the ideals and qualities instilled by the International Baccalaureate programme. I’m sure this will stand you in good stead in years to come. Good luck with your future endeavours.
Kia ora huihui tātou katoa.