Fond farewells at Pestalozzi Leavers’ Ceremony

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“TWO years ago, back in India, I was in a very tough situation. I was compromising my strengths and living with my weaknesses at school, but I could see no other option. Then Pestalozzi all of a sudden opened a door that led me on a journey beyond hope. Pestalozzi has shown me all the wonders of intellectual and social life.”

Kishore Chandra Patra’s speech was just one of the inspirational stories heard at the recent Pestalozzi Leavers’ Ceremony at St Mary in the Castle in Hastings.

The event, which showcased the academic and extra-curricular successes of Pestalozzi students, was attended by High Sheriff of East Sussex Graham Peters, Pestalozzi staff, trustees, volunteers and supporters, and representatives from Sussex Coast College Hastings, where Pestalozzi students study.

Students’ achievements were recognised through the presentation of a number of awards for outstanding contributions to both the local community and life at Pestalozzi, which is based in Sedlescombe.

The principal of Sussex Coast College Hastings, Clive Cooke, spoke about the inspiration and diversity Pestalozzi students bring to the college.

He said: “Pestalozzi students commonly are models of academic determination and ambition.

“They throw themselves into college life, with many taking on student-centred posts in the student council to support their fellow students. Over the past three years, our Pestalozzi students have consistently been amongst the highest performers in the college’s IB programme.”

High Sheriff Graham Peters also reflected on the rich cultural diversity that Pestalozzi students bring to the region.

He said: “Pestalozzi students form wonderful friendships across nationalities and cultures in both Pestalozzi and the wider community.

“This year’s graduates have thrown themselves into their volunteering activities with as much enthusiasm as their academic lives. They will be remembered not just as Pestalozzi students, but as amazing individuals with a huge variety of interests, skills and ambitions.”

Several graduating students shared their experiences of the past two years. Surya Tripathi from Nepal said: “I still remember the day of 28 September 2011, when we first arrived at Pestalozzi. It was the happiest day of my life.”

Now, standing in the doorway of the next stage of his life, Surya reflected: “My father tells me he does not care how much money I make. He only wants me to have some unique ideas and to do something useful for society. I will probably work on the Psyllid Genome project and see if I can give back to the world as a whole through scientific research.”

Other student speeches came from Dechen Yangkyi (Tibet), Millicent Mlauzi (Zimbabwe), Chanda Singoyi (Zambia), and Christopher Mujjabi (Uganda).

Pestalozzi Chief Executive Sue Walton addressed the graduating students in her closing speech, saying: “It has been a pleasure and a privilege to share these past two years with you. You have gained in confidence as well as knowledge and made friendships that will last a lifetime. I know that wherever you end up in the world you will continue to make us proud.”

The Pestalozzi Leavers’ Ceremony 2013 was made possible by a legacy donation to Pestalozzi by Glenda May, staff member at Pestalozzi from 1985 to 1989.