Some thoughts on the occasion of Graduation 2017

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Question: What is only found on Earth, is an event not a thing, all things being equal will double in size every minute and has the power to change the physical state of almost anything that it comes into contact with?
Fire…it is both mysterious and powerful; it is fascinating, almost hypnotic, with its constantly shifting almost whimsical shapes and flickers ……and yet it is a terrible, almost unstoppable, force, both volatile and dangerous. It has the power to kill and destroy…….but also the power to cleanse and renew. Fire is intrinsically woven into the story of the rise of humans to dominate this planet: Darwin considered the development of language, and the ability to make and control fire, to be the two greatest achievements of the human race. Fire, along with earth, air and water, is one of the 4 main elements that humans for centuries have believed essential to life. Unsurprisingly, fire features heavily as a symbol in all the major religions. In the Christian tradition, think of the burning bush and the tongues of fire. And what did Michaelangelo choose to represent the moment when God created man in his famous fresco in the Sistine Chapel? Lightning….fire!
I have spoken a number of times this year about my conviction that KISU is a school that has caught fire this past year. How…who knows? We’re told that a spark starts a fire…. but actually a spark is fire so where does that leave us?
What I do know is that these young people behind me, our Graduates of 2017, have played an integral role in starting and feeding our fire. I want to take this opportunity to thank them sincerely for all the ways in which they have led and served this community- be it in the classroom, on the sports field or on this stage, through the events they have organized and, perhaps most importantly, through the examples they have set others. They are articulate, compassionate, confident, engaging, resilient and principled young people and we are very proud of them. To reference our motto, they are not just prepared for tomorrow’s world- they are prepared to lead it, to change it, to serve it and to make it a better place for themselves and those who follow them.
I read somewhere fire described as an “Incandescent bloom”. What a beautiful expression and such a poignant metaphor for this occasion. The last thing you graduates probably want to hear from me today is yet more teacherly challenge but I am going to go ahead and challenge you anyway. I challenge you to take your piece of KISU fire with you……nurture it, feed it…….do something remarkable with it! Fire is magical….it brings light and warmth and it is transformational; I challenge you 12 to go forth from this place and do the same!

date authored: 

Friday 26th May 2017 Africa/Kampala


School Director - Steve Lang