DILIJAN, Armenia — On May 28, the international school United World College (UWC) Dilijan held commencement ceremonies for the first graduating class of the school. In total, 95 students from 48 countries who were admitted in 2014 to the new school in the UWC network in Armenia bade farewells to the school and to the town of Dilijan, which for two years had been their home.
“Two years ago when we had students’ induction welcoming the class of 2016, I said to them, ‘it will go in a flash’. And here we are now meeting to send them on their way in friendship, joy and expectation,” said John Puddefoot, founding headmaster of UWC Dilijan school, at the opening of the commencement ceremony entitled ‘Beginnings’.
Co-founder and chair of the Board of Governors of UWC Dilijan school, Veronika Zonabend thanked the first graduating class, and their teachers, for energizing the school, for laying the foundation of its traditions, and for establishing a high level of education that earned the graduating students entry to the best universities in the world.
“Ruben and I are delighted that our dream, which seemed an impossible task at the beginning, was brought to life thanks to our partners, people who felt as we did, putting their trust and support into the project. Through our combined strength, the first international school in the post-Soviet landscape has opened in Dilijan. I hope that the school’s first graduates will continue to strive towards their dreams, have the strength and courage to reach their goals, that they are never afraid to seek help and refuse to rest on their laurels, that they can change themselves and the world around them. Be happy and make those around them happy, and help fulfill their dreams.” Zonabend encouraged.
The school’s graduates successfully passed their IB Diploma examinations, and will continue their studies prestigious universities such as Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Brown, U.C. Berkeley, Duke University, Johns Hopkins University, Wesleyan University, University College London, the London School of Economics, the University of Edinburgh and Minerva Schools, amongst others.
The graduates were presented with Armenian flags and souvenirs in the shape of the Armenian alphabet to remind them of Armenia. The graduating students then presented sprouting pomegranate trees in glass containers to each of the UWC Dilijan donors, symbolizing their growth and development during their time at the school as well as their gratitude for the generous support that made a first-class education possible.