Valedictorian speech

IB Graduate 2020 Niko Kivinen

Dear fellow graduates, faculty, family, and friends. I’m honoured to be here today speaking on behalf of my class.

I am not quite sure if it’s just me, but I haven’t completely realized that our years in the IB are over now. The first day of pre-IB still feels like yesterday to me. But today is the day when it all comes to an end, when we move to the next steps in our lives. Some of us in universities here in Finland or abroad, some of us still trying to figure out what we want to do with our lives and some of us doing something completely different this year. Regardless of where we will be, today is a day of celebration, the day when we finally will get our diplomas and graduate.

The past two years have by no means been easy. Preparing our IAs, EEs, and trying to understand what TOK actually means? We have faced tremendous challenges from ordinary Monday mornings to keeping up with all our classes at the same time and all of it culminating in this spring and in the cancellation of our final exams.

But, what we will remember from these years more than any of the challenges or this piece of paper we get. Will be all the nights we stayed up together writing that essay for English class, those moments on the hallways of Kannas trying to figure out what that email from Sami actually means, and before everything else, we will remember our classmates or better said, our friends. I’m so glad to be able to call all of you my friends. This thing called International Baccalaureate truly brings people together in an unique way. And yes I still had to check how you spell baccalaureate.

We, the IB class of 2020, will stand in time as one of the most extraordinary classes ever to be. We are graduating amongst huge uncertainty, without ever doing our final exams and having our assessment changing all the time. But thankfully our studies have prepared us for these challenging times, we haven’t only learned about the topics in our subjects, but we have also learned how to work together, how to think critically and most importantly, we have learned to lead ourselves and cope with stress and uncertainty.

Our generation will be the one doing the rebuilding of this world after the pandemic and climate change have transformed our planet for good. We will be the ones reshaping the whole world for years to come. Thankfully, the last years have given us lessons on how to build a better world. The IB has given us the opportunity to understand complex issues and to see the different approaches to these issues. We are ready to be the voice of a new generation. We are ready to fight for justice and equality in this world. We are future voters, future leaders and the change in the future.

My fellow graduates, let us all remember when we reflect back on these years, and even during the next phases in our lives. The most precious memories will not come from the end. The most precious memories will come from the days when we work hard towards our goals.

Let me leave you with a cliche that one of our classmates said during pre-IB “It is not the destination, it is the journey”

Thank you!