Address to the graduating class by Arun Sharma; on behalf of the parents and guardians

3 minutes, 3 points

Good afternoon.  Congratulations to the graduating class, the parents, the school administration, the support staff and the teachers.  Congratulations for this big step forward into each of your lives.  Your heads are full of ideas, accomplishments, dreams, fears, maybe even a sip of champagne. 

The past and the future. I'm a parent of three kids, two of which are in primary here at NMS and a third who still gets excited about riding his laufrad - I have a long way until my daughter is in this room.

What do I want her to understand?  Why am I here today?  I'm here representing the parent community and I only have three minutes to talk to you...

I want to talk about community.  3 points.

1) You are the Nelson Mandela Babies.  Many of you started together at the Einschulung, growing up together through all aspects of your life.  Friendship gives flavor to life. The best friendships require investment, compromise, and sacrifice. By creating shared alignment, trust, and companionship, strong friendships nourish the soul and make life more vibrant.

 -Take away - the shared context and background that you have built up with at least a small group of true friends over the past 10+ years has the potential to nourish you for the coming 50+ years.  Find those people, trust in them, bind them to your soul with hoops of steel.  Social media and email and phone are good - but we are humans and nothing replaces time and physical contact.  Find two days to spend with friends and carry them with you as part of your journey.  Nobody else will have the same shared long-term context to remind you, when you need it, of who you are, and who you can be.


 2) You are the 1%.

-Take away - change the world.  Produce and build, do not just consume and float.  You owe it to the global community to use the opportunity that some literally die to give to their children.  It's a heavy burden.  You have more tools and opportunities and distractions than ever before.  Your pathway to change your community may be as a climate activist, Youtuber, full-time parent, Nobel prize winner, billionaire, recovered alcoholic, diligent employee.

There has never been a time before in history when you had as much information or as many tools as you have now.

The continued long term health of our global community depends on the efforts of each of you, the 1%, the do your best to make our community better, in whichever way you think is right.  This is your mission and your burden and each of you is fully capable of making your contribution.

Graduation 3

3) You leave behind 1000 others.  Don't leave us behind.  Enrich us with your time, your ideas, your inspirations, your hopes, your mistakes.  Come back and be with us.  We send you out into the world so that those of us who are still at home can profit from our investment into you.

We consider you part of our community, now and into the future.  Be with us and work with us.


We're all dying a day at a time.  Use each moment towards your own personal goals, and be conscious of the need to use your time well, whatever that means for you.

For now, this is a moment of achievement, and we salute you for it!

Arun Sharma

Graduation 2


Address to the graduating class by Alec Dent

Welcome parents, teachers and of course fellow graduates,

Before I begin, I know this time is usually given to the valedictorians so I would like to take a second to congratulate you for your outstanding achievement and thank you for giving me this time to say a few words. I shall keep my remarks brief as I am told I don’t get a Nachteilsausgleich  for this speech.

To begin I would like to roughly paraphrase something Mr. Brown told the Mathe LK at the beginning of our Abitur, two years ago.

The amazing thing is not that we have made it through High School, it is the fact that many of us leave believing we did it by ourselves. While I know this might make it sound like graduating is no big achievement, I think, in reality, this idea is a testament to the amazing community and education privilege we have had access to these past years.

While I do thoroughly enjoy pointing out that we still had floppy disc drives in the pcs until last year (for all the younger siblings those are like the Microsoft word save icon in real life), we really have had quite an amazing backing upon which to build this diploma. Growing up bilingually, many of us were gifted a free language, something the English LK people were smart enough to take advantage of. Being on the verge of leaving this place, I worry that sometimes I begin to take this community for granted. Its diverse, tolerant, inquisitive, kind and challenging. Something I have come to realise is rarer than I might have hoped.

The sentiment of tolerance and progressive thinking taught at this school is something I do hope we, as graduates, can pass on to throughout our journeys beyond this place.  Sharing the message of Nelson Mandela we have spent so many years integrating into our learning.

I have found it truly fascinating how this school brings together passionate people. From artists to athletes, physicists to … biologists I have found so many curious and driven people in this grade. I hope that once you leave this place you can take that inquisitive spirit with you, letting it guide you throughout your studies or work.

Finally I want to address one thing everyone says in graduation speeches “remember these are the best years of our lives”. I hope not, we are, at most, 20 and given that the planet is not on fire in 10 years many, preferably all of us, will live another 80. I would prefer to think of this time as a foundation upon which to build  the best years of our lives. Now we are free, free to study, travel, learn and grow. So my fellow graduates, take what this place has given us, and share it with the world outside of this place.

It has been my immense privilege to spend these years as part of this class. Fellow classmates and now graduates, thank you for your time as it is now, more than ever your time to spend.

Welcome to the NMS

The Nelson Mandela School is a diverse international bilingual state school for students from grade 1 to 13. Students can choose to graduate with either the bilingual Abitur or the International Baccalaureate (IB).

NMS Friends membership

NMS families are each asked to contribute at least 10EUR/month through the Friends to support trips, libraries, training and more!

Let's keep building NMS together

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11.07.2020 Nelson-Mandela-Schule · Staatliche Internationale Schule Berlin | Nelson Mandela School · State International School Berlin