Good evening and welcome to our school’s Graduation Ceremony, a ceremony which allows us to celebrate the achievements of a very special cohort, GSL 2023!
Allow me first to focus on these achievements in what has proved to be a very productive year. Once again, our graduates have excelled in their university applications. Beginning with the US and Canada, it has been a phenomenal year with graduates receiving scholarships worth around one and a half million dollars over the duration of 4 years!
Andreas Savva has been accepted to study Engineering at Harvard University with a scholarship of $77,000 per year. Andreas will also be playing for the Harvard Men’s Soccer team. Eleni Iacovou received a scholarship worth over $73,000 per annum to study at NYU (Abu Dhabi Campus). Sophia Spyrou will continue her studies at Smith College, Massachusetts with a $63,000 scholarship. Eleni Orphanidou has been accepted to study Chemical Engineering at the University of Toronto with a prestigious International Scholar Award of 48,000 Canadian dollars. Olga Neophytou has received an International Major Entrance Scholarship and Outstanding International Student Award from the University of British Columbia – Vancouver Campus worth a total of 100,000 Canadian dollars. Stephanos Christodoulakis has been awarded a scholarship of $44,000 by Colorado Mesa University and will be playing for their soccer team and Ioannis Aristodemou, a 2022 graduate, has been awarded $47,000 for the College of Wooster and will also be playing soccer for the university. Other prestigious placements include Eleni Pitsillidou at the University of California, San Diego, for Mechanical Engineering, Amjad Rehawi at Santa Clara University for Computer Science and Engineering and Chara Pantelides for Psychology at the University of Toronto.
Continuing with offers for Medicine and Vet Science globally: Eleni Loizou for Medicine at Brighton and Sussex Medical School in the UK, Michalis Zannetos, a 2022 graduate, at Groningen University in The Netherlands, Irene Michael at Pecs University in Hungary, and Alexandros Georgiou at the Medical University of Warsaw in Poland and we are still waiting on more acceptances in a range of countries. Alexandra Hadjistavri has been admitted to the University of Vet Sciences Brno in the Czech Republic to study Vet Medicine. These offers are extremely competitive as the admissions process is so demanding, with additional admissions tests and interviews. I hope you will join me in warmly congratulating all these students.
It is impossible to name all the students and graduates currently in the army who have attained entry to high-ranking universities around the world because it would simply take too long. However, I would just like to give a special mention to a few of those who have earned offers from very competitive institutions: Andreas Ilarionos, GS 2022, for Accounting and Finance at the London School of Economics and Demetra Kiousouki for Electrical & Electronic Engineering at Imperial College London. Alexandros Sergiou has received an offer to study Mathematics at Durham University, Nefeli Jordan for Biomedical Science at the University of Edinburgh and Margarita Koukouma for Economics at the University of Bristol. Zhongming Chen and Eleni Gregoriadou are offer holders at the University of Bath for Architecture and Pharmacy respectively. We have had some prestigious scholarships from the UK this year, Irene Yiannakoude has been awarded a Warwick Undergraduate Global Excellence Scholarship worth half her tuition fees annually for Mathematics, Operational Research, Statistics, and Economics. Eirinaios Charalambous, GS 2022, received a Vice Chancellor’s Excellence Scholarship from Newcastle University worth £6000 per year to study Mathematics, a very impressive achievement as only 15 of these scholarships were offered Europe-wide for Bachelor’s degrees. Tatiana Antoniou has been awarded a Sports Scholarship Award of £1500 plus support services and has been recruited for the University of Newcastle Volleyball team.
Many other students have earned places at Russell Group universities and other prestigious universities in Europe, including our Senior Prefect Stephanie Stylianou who will be attending Erasmus University Rotterdam for the International Bachelor Economics and Business Economics programme. Andrea Miltiadous has received an offer for the University of Vienna for Economics and Leni Christou for Philosophy at the Universite de Lille in France. Many students have applied to Ireland and will be receiving their offers at the end of August. As the trend is to apply to more than one country, we will feature our students’ final destinations on our Facebook and LinkedIn pages from the end of August. Rounding off with graduate news, it was exciting to hear that Maria Foka (GS 2019) has been offered a place at both Oxford and Cambridge for her PGCE in English and Neofytos Chimonides (GS 2017) has received one of only 2 highly-competitive full scholarships for an MSc in Aeronautical Engineering at Imperial College London.
Once again it has been a very busy year with many excellent events and activities and these owe much of their success to the talent and dedication of many students here this evening, along with the teachers in charge.
Many of our students continue to participate in the Duke of Edinburgh International Award programme and impressively, Christos Kyriacou will be receiving his Gold Award this evening. This is the highest DoE Award and reflects Christos’ immense dedication to self-development. He was described by his award leader as being unfazed by the challenges of expeditions and distinguished himself for his maturity, team spirit and ability to motivate. Efstathios Panagiotou will receive his Silver Award and is already working towards the Gold.
A team of our students entered the First Tech Challenge 2023 and won the Innovate Award which celebrates a team’s ingenuity, creativity and inventiveness to make their designs come to life. The graduating students who participated in this, showing their commitment and perseverance, were Amjad Rehawi, Efstathios Panagiotou, Tatiana Antoniou and Costis Ioannou.
This year’s Cultural Evening entitled The Diamond Edition to celebrate 60 Years of the Grammar School was held in December and involved over 150 students as well as 50 previous Grammar School graduates who also performed a variety of dances, resulting in a fantastic show. The Talent Show in March was very entertaining and a great experience for all the students who participated both on stage and behind the scenes as stage managers and helpers. The talent of the performers was very impressive and they were introduced by the highly entertaining presenters, who had put a lot of time and effort into their sketches. I think everyone who attended the Greek theatre production will agree the acting was phenomenal and I would like to thank our graduating actresses for their excellent work: Leni Christou, Eleni Iacovou and Maria Melarta.
We would like to say a special thank you to the students and teachers who worked so hard for these events and the parents who offered their limitless support.
The Cooking Club proved to be popular with Class 7 students learning impressive new skills – definitely useful for the future when they leave home! Those skills were also put to good use for charity events where students helped to prepare items for bake-sales for the Social Work Club. Likewise, students from Class 7 were involved in the Grammar School Podcast club, a new and exciting initiative, and it was interesting to listen to their experiences.
Finally, a thank you to all the students who danced and performed in the orchestra at our national celebrations and those who helped to organise a fantastic bbq for Tsiknopempti!
A special thank you to our student president Della Savvidou and our two senior prefects, Nicolas Nicolaou and Stephanie Stylianou, all of whom have worked very hard in their respective roles.
Our comprehensive Yearbook contains details of all our activities such as the Social Work Club’s impressive fundraising activities and special collection for the Earthquake victims, the competitions won by STEM and the Robotics Club students and the students who won Mathematics Olympiads, Euromath and Euroscience awards, the educational trips, Erasmus+ to name just a few. Our students’ numerous sporting successes can also be found there and this includes Andreas Savva who was awarded Best Teenage Soccer Player of the Year in Cyprus. Our talented graduating athletes will be awarded later on, as will our singers, musicians and dancers for their exceptional contribution over the years. A special thank you to all the colleagues who supported and guided students in these events and activities.
Impressively as a Microsoft Showcase School for the 7th consecutive year, this distinction comes as a result of the exceptional effort of our teaching staff and we are very proud of our 87 Microsoft Educators, 84 Microsoft Advanced Educators, 51 educators who have passed the Microsoft Certified Educator exam, 21 Microsoft Innovative Educators Experts, a Microsoft Innovative Expert Fellow, a Minecraft Global Mentor and a Microsoft Innovative Expert Master Trainer. We look forward to continuing our success in this area.
I would like to say a few words to our graduates:
The last few years have been tough but you have shown optimism, resilience and adaptability. I encourage you to develop a growth mindset which is a belief that you can develop your skills and talents through hard work, the right strategies, and guidance from others. Remember you will face repeated challenges in the future but you will learn from them and become even stronger. And going forward, the skills and positive traits you have acquired at school will help you. It has been an absolute pleasure to get to know you this year and I would like to wish you all the best for the future, whether you are starting university or joining the army. Tonight, you join an extensive global network of Grammar School graduates whose achievements are numerous and impressive.
On behalf of myself and the Headmasters, I would like to express our gratitude to everyone who has contributed to our activities and work this year and for going that extra mile to ensure success. The Board of Directors for their trust and support, the Heads of Departments, all the teachers, the administration staff for their invaluable assistance and the support personnel for maintaining a clean and safe environment for all of us. I would also like to thank the Parents and Graduates Associations for their precious contribution and support.
I hope you all enjoy this special ceremony tonight. Thank you.