Commencement Ceremonies at TLT: An Evening That Touched Hearts

And you'll be in my heart

Yes you'll be in my heart

From this day on

Now and forever more


The words are from the lyrics of a song “You’ll Be in My Heart” which accompanied a touching slide show which closed the 2018 commencement ceremonies honoring our ten students from the class of 2018.  It was The Learning Tree’s third graduating class in its eighteen year history and it was a truly special evening which captured the essence of this particular group of young women and men who embody all that is not only good about TLT, but also what is wonderful about humanity.  This group, comprised of so many different and unique personalities, will be remembered fondly because they all understand the value of conducting themselves and living a life that is based on inherent virtues they all hold dear to their hearts and souls.

From this day on, now and forever, they will all be in our hearts not because of their countless achievements and accolades but because they have remained true to the principles that they will no doubt hold onto for the remainder of their lives.  Compassion, understanding, loyalty, trust, generosity, kindness and love travel through their veins and are revealed with random acts that are genuine and humane.

Legacy Award winner, Abeera Faisal powerfully stated that although she was humbled and honored to receive the Citizenship Award, she pointed out that, “This award should be given to every single student who attends this school because that is what you should all be striving for – it’s not that difficult to do.  I can safely say it should come naturally to all of us.” She also gave us a stern warning that unless we all make it a point to be caring citizens of the world, our future will indeed be bleak.

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The incredible impact The Learning Tree has had on this particular class was best summed up by this year’s Head Boy and Valedictorian, Hamza Salman’s closing remarks – “ I leave all of you with a quotation from Francis of Assisi who said, ‘Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.’  The Learning Tree is a place where one should not be content on merely accomplishing the possible but dreaming and reaching for the impossible.” Hamza referred to himself as a walking disaster three years ago and he credited his role models and mentors for pushing him to be the best possible person he could be stating that without Ms. Naila and all her faculty, he would not be the confident young man he is today.

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After receiving their diplomas from their class teacher, Ms. Samina Asraf and Ms. Naila, the Head of Senior School, Jamshid Minwalla, recited a beautiful poem entitled,  “Desiderata” which captured the essence of how we ought to live our lives and dedicated it the graduating class while thanking them for enriching all the lives they touched. When asked why he chose that poem, he simply replied, “when I look at this class, I see hope for a word that they will have to make a better place.  I know they still have a lot to learn in the coming years, but they have a solid foundation based on values they hold to be true and meaningful. As long as they don’t compromise on these principles, they will be successful in their lives.  That’s all we can hope for as educators, mentors and role models.”

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As always, the class and dignity of the event was reserved for the founder and Head of School, Ms Naila Jamall, who somehow managed to keep her emotions in check while addressing the graduating class. It was clearly evident that this group, with five legacy members, holds a special place in her heart. Holding back the tears, she surprised those in attendance with a wonderful slide show of all the memorable moments from fifteen years ago and today. The respect, admiration and affection she has for this group was only matched by their love for her.  She thanked the parents and faculty for their engagement and encouragement but she saved the biggest thank you to the ten individuals who truly have touched all of our lives.

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We wish them all the very best in the years to come. They will be sorely missed but they know that they are always welcome back whenever they want to return to keep us posted on what we all know will be incredibly successful and meaningful lives.

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