On June 17th, 2008, the IGCSE Certificates were handed out to the current Year 11 students, and special awards were given to the students who attained the highest marks, both in specific subjects and for overall excellent performance.
Congratulations to the whole year group as they have obtained the highest results ever in the history of the school.
Below is the very inspiring speech Dr. Ignacio Barrenechea, class of '99 and current TOK and Sociology teacher addressed to the students.
Why should we sit for international examinations? A first attempt to answer the question could be to state that “We should sit for them, because that is what the school obliges us to do”. It could be also important to highlight that these programmes have qualifications that are widely recognized by the world’s leading universities. Even in Argentina, gradually more and more universities are recognizing the importance of the IB Program in particular. It is also true that international examinations provide you with a tool to compete fairly for future job positions or in future admission processes with students from ALL over the world. Why not think also about the thousand of boys and girls who would like to enjoy the opportunities you are given? Some others could even praise the possibility these exams give students to CHOOSE what subjects they want to sit for. Lastly, we could also defend international examinations when thinking about future job interviews you could as professionals. After all, you could quite easily be asked about your INTERNATIONAL EXPERIENCES. Believe me, it won’t be enough to describe to the employer your wonderful holidays in Punta del Este, Cancun or why not, Disney!
Still, I don’t think I have given you solid reasons to show the importance of the international exams our school offers. Many times, people describe these days as an era of the disposable. What is useful today might not be necessary the following year. As the lyrics of RENT, a Broadway musical, state, our generation strongly believes that “There is NO today but TODAY”. Even when there could be possible outcomes of this line of thought, there are also some serious risks. Within those, I believe that many times EFFORT as such, loses its value. After all, what is the point of striving to produce good results if what we accomplish could be obsolete in a few years’ time?
Big accomplishments are rarely built from one day to another. The new Seven Wonders of the World, the Taj Mahal, the Coliseum or even the Christ Redeemer in Brazil, are the result of constant and progressive effort. I am a strong believer that Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out. Luckily, the IGCSE and, perhaps even stronger, the IB Programmes, both foster the importance of daily effort. The results you achieve are not entirely the product of a single exam. In many subjects there are internal assessments or different pieces of work that contribute to your final mark. That is to say, what you do TODAY has a direct impact on the final result. It is true that today counts, TODAY is important, but that does not mean denying that tomorrow’s results depend on today’s work. Many times we dream about success; it is useless: wake up and work hard at it.
We should embrace the approach the school has given both to the IGCSE and the IB, by considering them a challenging two-year curriculum. Your current performance is important for next year’s results. Enjoy the process; make the best of it. The school, by offering these TWO year programmes, is supporting the idea that for every disciplined SMALL effort there is a multiple reward. Some might tell you you have a responsibility to your parents or to your teachers to do well in exams you sit for because of all the time and money that is being invested. Even when that IS true, you should realize that above all you have a duty to yourself. After all, it is by what we ourselves have done, and not by what others have done for us, that we shall be remembered. Going back to my school years, I remember that once a year I d an extremely challenging moment: THE CROSS COUNTRY. Usually I finished sixth or seventh, counting from the last. Still, I remember the satisfaction of crossing that final line. I remember it felt as if I was about to beat the world record. I will never forget the constant support of my PE teachers that told me that what matters is to cross the final line. You are sitting here because you have crossed a final line and I am pretty sure that in two years’ time we will be celebrating your crossing of another finish line. It doesn’t matter if you make it first, tenth or even last, as long as you have worked the best you could. As Mahatma Gandhi once proposed “Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment”. Full effort is full victory. Be not afraid of going slowly, as long as you keep going as fast as you can.
Throughout my years as a student I have always had a critical attitude towards many aspects of the school. After all, the perfect institution does not exist, and very likely never will. I try to foster critical thinking and constructive criticism; nonetheless, at your age many times it is very easy to fall into the temptation of disbelieving nearly everything. Today, I want to close this speech with a request. I want you to trust your parents who decided to send you to this school and I want you to trust the school that has chosen to ascribe to these two international programmes. We are no longer citizens of a country; nowadays we are definitely citizens of a globalised world. The school is offering you a chance for you to show an academic standard that is competitive and that can be used to compare YOU with students from all over the world, even with students from much more developed countries than ours. Work hard, strive to produce good pieces of work and remember that “It is not your aptitude, but your attitude, that determines your altitude”; JUST DO IT!