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Bistrik 7, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
today marks the last step of a journey you began when you walked into your first classroom, your feet just barely reaching ground from your first school chair. For over a decade, someone has yanked you out of bed so that the collective knowledge of the world can be delivered to you - in broad shapes and bold strokes, at least. You survived a long line of teachers who inspired you and bored you in turns. You put stickers on things. You bought pencil cases and notebooks with lined pages. You grew up. The major spheres of learning, gathered through centuries of human experience, have been passed on to you like a torch to illuminate your way through the wonder of our galaxy. You discovered language and literature, mathematics and philosophy, chemistry and biology, history and geography, physics, art. From this moment on, you alone will decide what to learn and how much you wish to know.
It does not happen overnight, but from today you will notice it more and more: how adults become your peers. For your generation, the realization has come quicker and with bluntness: that those you look to for safety and answers can only provide thoughts and hopes instead. The last great lesson of your childhood has been taught only when all schools across all continents had closed: there is no world to inherit, only to earn. You have been taught that our survival depends on solidarity and on science. That countries rich in demagogues are poor in good governance. That questions regarding sustainability of food and energy sources are not hypothetical, but critical. As you take your first steps into adulthood, the future has never seemed more uncertain, and so never more yours to shape. There is value in what you have seen: that reality is not a fixed constant, but a malleable amalgam of the best and the worst of an ever-evolving species, on an increasingly vulnerable planet. In this knowledge lies the mission, and the hope.
Today we look to you to choose your part in the great story of the human race. We look to the sharpness and the freshness of your minds to continue learning, so you may advance knowledge for all. We look to you to create and design, to mold our esthetic and enrich our existence through architecture, through art, through books yet to be written. We look to you to cure disease, to innovate and explore. We look to you to advance our ethics, to advocate, to argue and defend. We look to you to elect our governments, and to lead them.
Dear Class of 2020, we are joined today in celebration. We celebrate not what you have achieved, but of what you are now capable. You will be our teachers, scientists, entrepreneurs, poets. Do not regret the extraordinary circumstances of your final school days, embrace them for the lessons they have brought. The world had never stopped for anyone, it had stopped for you.
So, do well.
It has been an honor to meet you on your journey.
Head of the School Board