The River Thames outside DLD College London

Dr. Aris Rogkotis' Prom Speech

7th May 13

Prom Speech to A level, BTEC and IFP students  

“It is a great honour to address a few words of farewell to Year 13 students leaving us at the end of this academic year.

This is only our 2nd Prom but we are determined to keep this event as a permanent fixture in the college calendar.

We are extremely pleased as a college to be able to offer you this Prom.

And it is not only because of the glamorous setting, great food, drinks and entertainment which you have so deservedly earned.

Our vision at DLD is to offer our students a first rate education in the classroom but also a sense of community outside the classroom, a sense which our students can take with them and remember for the rest of their lives.

Events like this, prove that our vision is becoming a reality.

But there is another reason why we are so happy about this evening and it has to do with its symbolic dimension.

This is an momentous rite of passage in your lives, a turning point where you are leaving behind the relatively carefree and rather predictable life of a teenager and looking ahead into the adventurous  and unknown journey of adulthood.

So I would like to invite you to reflect on the past few years and what you have achieved as a DLD student.  Try to reflect on how much you have grown in these years both academically and as a person.

I wish we could have a video of you arriving for Induction in September two or three years and play it against a video of you from today.

And trust me the clothes you are wearing would not be the only difference.

It has been a joy and a privilege to witness you blossoming day by day from the shy, reserved and often introvert young boy or girl of a few years ago to the confident and self-assured young man or woman of today.

We could spend hours talking about the various skills and qualities you have developed at DLD in the past few years. I would like here to single out one of the most important.

When you joined DLD, you joined a non-selective, diverse and multicultural community. Throughout your studies, you worked and socialised with students of various academic abilities, personalities and coming from a remarkably diverse social, ethnical and religious background.

As a result, the invaluable quality you have developed over the past few years is acceptance and respect of other people’s difference, freedom, equality and life-choices.

Looking into the future in your lives as adults, this is my first advice. Keep your minds open and don’t fall victim to dogma, discrimination and absolute ideas.  Our world needs light. It is your duty to carry the torch.

Another important advice: don’t be afraid of failure and life’s adversities. Success is of course your aim and it is exhilarating but if you think about it there is little learning in it. True learning comes from failure, from falling down and standing up on your feet again, from facing difficulties with patience and perseverance.

Along these lines, I would like to share with you one of my favourite  quotes from literature, which has become an important guideline in my life:

‘The things you think are the disasters in your life are not the disasters really. Almost anything can be turned around: out of every ditch, there is a path, if you can only see it.’

Also:  Whatever you end up doing in your lives, however successful, rich or famous you become, do not forget your sense of humanity. This year our charity events aim to raise money for the renovation of the Chileleko community school in Zambia. This has been a striking reminder of how our privileged lives  reflect only a small fraction of this world, so please in the future try to make a difference, however small.

And a final piece of advice: with the advances in mobile technology it’s easy to rely on virtual and remote communication. I may be one of the last people in the western hemisphere without a Facebook account and a  smartphone, so I feel quite strongly about this. Nothing can replace the face to face human communication, so however busy you are in the future do make an effort to go out and meet in person your friends, your family and new people.

On this note, on behalf of DLD’s management, tutors and administrative  staff, I would like to congratulate you on the completion of your A-Level studies and wish you the best of luck in the future. Enjoy the rest of the evening, drink responsibly and create a memory.”