The Class of 2017 celebrates their IB Diploma Graduation in style

Congratulations to our Class of 2017 who with family, friends and faculty recently celebrated the achievements of our young graduates at the Dorchester Hotel, London.

Our annual Diploma Graduation ceremony is always an emotional affair. Parents, relatives and faculty sit before the graduating class and reflect about the journey their children have traveled. For parents in particular, this is often a bitter sweet moment. To see their ‘child’, all grown up, yet still at a tender, relatively inexperienced age, is hard to comprehend. Furthermore, knowing that their child will soon leave home for university and take another step towards independence is another tear jerker!!


But take comfort parents! We are witnessing the rise of Generation Z (GenZ or iGen). A generation of young people characterised by the fact that they do not remember a time before social media and whom live much of their lives -  from interacting with friends and family to making major purchases -  online via their smartphones.

This is a generation, research suggests, that are increasingly self-aware, self-reliant and innovative. Adept at web based research, this generation self-educate with online sources and learn complex things from upgrading their computer’s operating systems to learning how to make Gurkha chicken curry with a homemade marinade, one video at a time!  Furthermore, all evidence points to this generation being much more diverse in their thinking, plus being more open-minded, loyal, compassionate, responsible and determined.


Our student class speaker this year, gave a tremendously compassionate and inspired speech which he has kindly allowed us to publish below. Thank you Colin.

As this group of students proceeds onto universities around the world, we feel privileged at ICS to have been part of their lives and now watch in anticipation as they set off for life’s next exciting challenge.

Good luck to all of you, and please enjoy Colin’s words as much as I did.

Rose Threlfall

Head of School


The Top 10 GenZ and iGEN Questions Answered, The Centre for Generational Kinetics. Web 4/06/17

Is Generation Z more conservative than previous generations? Web 4/06/17

Generation Z Goes to College, Web 4/06/17

Hello, and thank you all for coming out this evening to celebrate our classes proud and collectively achieved completion of the IB diploma program.

I’m not going to lie and say that when asked to deliver this speech I instantly knew what to say, and that words immediately began flowing forth from pen to page. How, I pondered, could I summarize and reflect on the hugely formative last two years in a simple five to ten-minute speech, as I sat, multiple times, in the diploma center staring at a blank page for what seemed to be hours on end. Not stemming from a lack of inspirations, stories, or appreciation for our time at this school, but rather an overflow of memories and an abundance of lessons learned, I found myself quite puzzled as to what to say during this time. However, during one of these what I can only imagine to be seemingly unproductive and time squandering sessions, I got up to get a drink of water.

On my way to the canteen, and the sought after water, I happened to look up at the wall and read the ICS vision statement. I know that it’s beyond cheesy to quote a school’s vision statement during a graduation speech, and I am even judging myself a little now for relying on it, but I truly feel as if this school is one of the few which consistently and fully achieves theirs, as in that moment, reflecting on the past two years and walking underneath those words each and every school day, I confidently understood that ICS, its staff, and its students, had strived for, achieved, and represented “a community of compassionate and inspired world citizens” during our time here.

Let’s begin with the sense of community. Before moving to London, I had only experienced toxic schools full of fake and petty individuals, and clique culture. Students, instead of collaborating and building relationships, backstabbed and put each other down. But, at ICS, it is well and truly different. Even though our class did not go out together every weekend, and came from incredibly diverse backgrounds, from the first day of classes two years ago we formed a fun and inclusive community for us all. Through bonding over inside jokes such as DJ Cedders, or my uncombed fringe hair, class trips, our shared overwhelming stress and exhaustion, and some light and friendly teasing (I’ve somehow been labeled both a jock and a nerd in the same sentence), I truly believe that this group of wonderful and unique individuals will remain friends for life.

Speaking of our incredibly diverse backgrounds and perspectives, these not only aided in allowing this community to thrive, but also in the transformation of our class into world citizens. As we grew closer we learned to appreciate and come to personal understanding of each other’s wonderful cultures and personalities. Bringing together and embracing out perspectives from four different continents and 10 different countries, we undeniably fostered a worldly community and became global citizens.

This global perspective was only furthered by ICS’s programs. Although the entire class did not go on the India trip, those of us that did not only noticeably widened the extent of our world views and experiences, but also gained unique memories which we will carry with us for the rest of our lives. That trip, among many opportunities brought forth by this school, houses some of mine, and I’m sure my classmates’ as well, most cherished and formative moments, none of which would have been possible without the final aspect of the ICS vision statement, and thus practice, the labelling of its community as compassionate and inspired.

These labels not only applied to its students though, but also to its teachers and administrators. The IB curriculum, for those of you who do not know, is indeed rigorous, and I can say with confidence that none our class would have achieved to the extent we did without our teachers’ compassion and inspired guidance. At no other school would the teachers and staff so consistently push each student to their individual academic limits, while simultaneously being compassionate enough to understand and work through academic lapses as the work load in classes other than their own increased. I can confidently state that beyond the school, our class, and the opportunities presented, the staff at ICS have truly enabled this vision statement to be fulfilled, and my class and I are sincerely thankful for that.

This compassion and inspiration that drives the ICS community extends beyond the classroom as well. Whether it be, Mr. Stefan laboriously striving to assist us in discovering, applying for, and achieving our post IB dreams, the highly competitive staff-student soccer matches, Ms. Alex bringing in sweets in an attempt to carry us through stressful times or simply taking the time to inquire about our day, or even the ongoing mostly friendly banter between staff and students, the environment created by all the individuals, staff and student alike, at ICS is in fact what nails their vision statement into place, and grants it a wonderfully special atmosphere.

Whilst I’m confident my class’ time here will have a lasting impact on all our lives, I am also sure that we will all have successful futures as well. With all of us heading to fantastic institutions in the fall, across all of Europe and North America, I am confident that each and every one of us will discover a prosperous life, and I can say with complete sincerity that I look forward to seeing what we all accomplish, in university and beyond. That being said, none of the class of twenty-seventeen’s accomplishments, past or future, would be possible without our parents and families support, as I’m sure our sleep deprived and caffeinated selves weren’t easy to deal with at times, as well as the tremendous effort put forth by the ICS faculty and administration.

On behalf of the class of twenty-seventeen, I would like to thank you all, we owe our collective success to each and every one of you in this room.
During our time at this school, ICS has gone beyond simply aiming to be a community of compassionate and inspired world citizens, it has overwhelmingly represented one. Thank you for taking the time to sit through this, and I hope you all enjoy the rest of graduation.
Ben Toettcher