On Saturday, June 11, the 98 members of the Class of 2016 gathered on TASIS England’s south campus for the 39th Commencement Ceremony.
Head of School, Dr. Mindy Hong, greeted the audience of students, faculty, families, and friends before introducing Commencement speaker Mr. Lyle D. Rigg, Headmaster, TASIS The American School in Switzerland.
Recognizing the many years that Lyle served as TASIS England headmaster, Dr. Hong thanked him for his long-standing commitment to TASIS. "I feel privileged to call Lyle a friend and a mentor. He is a true gentleman, a leader with integrity and authenticity."
Lyle admitted that although he had graced the commencement stage 15 times as headmaster at TASIS England, he had never had the daunting task of giving the address. “And the task,” he remarked, “is made even more daunting after the impressive banquet speeches given by members of the graduating class. What an amazing and uplifting evening. Class of 2016, thank you for inspiring me.”
Lyle offered sage advice to the graduates, stressing the importance of kindness, gratitude, and civility and recalled the guidance and support he received throughout his career from TASIS founder Mary Crist Fleming. “Mrs. Fleming felt so strongly about the importance of certain values that she had wording included in the TASIS Paideia to ensure that they would always be emphasized at TASIS,” Lyle said. “As stated in this document, one of the School’s guiding principles is courteous behavior. At TASIS we believe that good manners matter and that we teach them best by modeling them. Courtesy keeps us—teachers and students—happy, purposeful and poised, able to show the respect for one another we ought to feel, and quick to treat one another with cordial dignity."
Valedictorian speakers Rachel Maerz and Alyssa Spaeth shared further advice with students, emphasizing perspective and grit in their respective Commencement addresses. “Here at TASIS, we are fortunate to have teachers who care so much about our education, who are willing to dedicate time outside class to help explain to us course material, and who help us catch up on work that we have missed,” Alyssa shared. “We will all no doubt remember the very personalized approach of our education and the benefits of being in such an intimate academic environment, valuing this opportunity we have been given as we move into the future.”
Rachel Maertz employed her love of literature to emphasize the importance of determination and courage in the face of challenge. Quoting a favourite passage from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Return of the King, she remarked, “Frodo and Sam seemed too insignificant and powerless to undertake such a critical and burdensome mission. And yet, these unexpected creatures were the only ones who were able to accomplish this challenge. Now that we are graduating and we've finished a chapter of our lives, we can't forget that we are nowhere near the end, but filled with potential. We are now even more qualified to achieve greater feats than before. We have a responsibility to ourselves and those we've gained knowledge from.”
With the speeches delivered, Dr. Hong, Jason Tait, Upper School Head of Student Life, and Academic Dean Michele Bett called each of the seniors to the stage for the presentation of diplomas. VIEW VIDEO
Commencement Awards Presented at the Ceremony
The H . Miller Crist Award Ceremony
The Service Award
Aitana Alzugaray Pascual
The C.I.S. Award for International Understanding
Che Li Lin
The Diana Dearth Award
Sofia Hidalgo Perea
The Headmaster’s Award