A Virtual Goodbye
Last week we said a fond farewell to our Year 13s and Class of 2020. It’s been an interesting year for our graduates to say the least; navigating their studies from home and in the shadow of a global pandemic is not what anyone would call plain sailing, but our Class of 2020 showed their resilience; continuing to attend virtual lessons, taking part in industry-led sessions, and supporting one another up to the finish line. To mark the occasion, Ada hosted a virtual graduation, attended by students, staff, parents, and even some of our industry partners, all of whom have been a huge part of our graduates' successes. Take a look below at the words of encouragement, praise, and celebration from our Class of 2020 Graduation Ceremony...
Congratulations on graduating as the class of 2020. You are a unique collection of amazing individuals who, over the last two years, have achieved great things. History shows us that times such as these, whilst challenging, can also offer the most exciting opportunities to those who can seize them. Building the skills, knowledge and confidence to make the most of those opportunities is what you have spent that last two years achieving. You are now confident, skilled professionals, ready to make your mark in the world.
You will all be moving on beyond Ada, into career pathways that two years ago you made a conscientious choice to follow. Today you can look back on two years of success and challenges overcome. Each of you should also know that, not only will you always be part of the Ada family (#AlwaysAda), but that you have each contributed to that very family’s own development. Each of you should feel proud of the contribution you have made, for Ada is, and always shall be, each of you.
- Global Director Diversity and Inclusion at King Games
Today marks an important milestone in your life and given we find ourselves, in the middle of a pandemic and a world crying out for social justice, I am quite certain you will always remember 2020.
I want to start by saying that graduating today is a great achievement and comes at the end of lots of hard work on behalf of you and your teachers. Throughout your time at Ada you have been preparing for this day: the day you start the next part of your journey.
I am sure you will agree that graduating from Ada is very special. You have been part of a unique education experience, preparing you to be the next generation of technology talent. Through your time at Ada you have been taught by highly experienced teachers who have used their knowledge of the industry to provide you with valuable insights into the world of work, you have been exposed to industry mentors to support you in finding answers for your next steps, you have created networks that will help as you embark on this next chapter, had lots of fun, and I hope you have made some great friends too.
I believe that the grounding you have had here at Ada will set you apart and stand you in good stead to face the world. I believe the values Ada has taught you, are critical to your future success. Let’s explore how you can take these values into your life as you take the next step forward.
Curiosity. Life is going to throw you many challenges. Life is going to tell you the way it is supposed to be. You can challenge this, by being curious. There is a lovely saying “curiosity is the antidote to judgement”. Those who judge end up with fixed mindsets, they limit their opportunities, and they struggle to grow. Be curious, ask questions, challenge the status quo, that is within your gift.
Collaboration. You are stepping into a world where we are seeing a huge movement where people are collaborating on issues that are very personal and purposeful to them. Together so much more is possible. From my experience in the workplace, collaboration is key to finding diverse solutions and make for a meaningful workplace.
Resilience is the ability to bounce back in the moment from setbacks. You are going to have many setbacks on this journey called life. I’m certain that you have experienced many challenges already, but you have overcome them, and the evidence of this is that you are here, graduating. Draw on this resilience you have demonstrated when facing challenges - of course process what happens to you but don’t dwell there, focus on the future and tap into your resilience to take you forward.
Rigour is the quality of being extremely thorough and careful, so take pride in everything you do. Be rigorous in how you conduct yourself, be impeccable with your word, be conscious and intentional about who you are and what you stand for. Don’t allow the world to dictate to you who you are or what you should believe in.
So, as you step out into this big wide world, one of the qualities that I would encourage you to own is your Self Belief. Only you can give this to yourself, know that you have value, you have worth that the world needs and you have had a solid foundation from your years at Ada to go out into the world with passion and purpose. Ada believes in you, so believe and trust in yourself.
Congratulations class of 2020 you now have the whole world in front of you, go and make a difference.
- Chief Executive, The Literacy Pirates and a member of Ada’s Parents’ Voice
Baz Luhrmann, the Australian film director, released a song called Sunscreen in 1999. It is a spoken word version of essay written as a hypothetical commencement speech by columnist Mary Schmich, published in June 1997 in the Chicago Tribune. It is full of fantastic advice, like wear sunscreen, enjoy youth, do one thing every day that scares you, don’t mess with your hair too much, don’t mess with other peoples’ feelings, and stuff like that. It is worth a listen as it has wisdom and is fun.
As a parent, my instinct is to load you up with such advice - any parent would. We want to give you, our 18-year-old adult-child advice for every eventuality because we are anxious on your behalf. But imparting an operating manual, the instruction guide, is the wrong tact. And It’s the wrong analogy.
Yes, the end of school marks a moment of letting go a little further for parents and carers.
Yes, the end of school marks a transition into full adulthood and the opportunity to fly solo.
But your graduation is not a chance to give you an instruction manual, it is actually a moment to celebrate the fact your ‘Operating System’ is now fully operational. What we really need to do is celebrate the end of school by marking the completion of the Beta test of this new OS, and its launch to market!
You are 18 years in the making, massively influenced - programmed if you like - by your families, friends and teachers. All the experiences to date have created the code that sets the choices that you will take in the future. So the message to you from us parents has to be: ‘Congratulations, and Good Luck’. We know and trust that you will make great choices as you take on more responsibilities and have incredible adventures. We know that your loaded up OS will help you make those great choices.
Turning to your teachers and staff at Ada; let’s face it, they have been a massive influence on that OS of yours. They are the Super Coders. All teachers love their subjects. All teachers care about educating young people. All teachers think of education as a tool to be used to make the world more just, more fair, more equal. Ada staff and teachers are Super Programmers though, because they have incredible passion for all those things, and they care tremendously for all their students, and because they work within a visionary college framework. They have given you room to take responsibility and to make mistakes; they have given you the support to thrive and succeed.
We parents can’t thank the teachers and staff of Ada enough. From Shanice in the Office, to Mark and Tom, from Tina and Vicky, Stuart, Chris, Ian and so many more. To all the teachers and staff - Thank you!
Congratulations Class of 2020!!