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  • Writer's pictureREI

A Time to Celebrate

by Linzie Wells, REI Field Staff, & Director of International School of Djibouti

 

The end of the school year is a time for celebration, replete with events that honor the learning, growth, and sacrifice that has taken place during the academic year. Educators reflect on the year, noting the growth we have witnessed and our hopes and dreams for the following year. Students breathe a sigh of relief, ready for the rest that summer brings, while trying to ignore that twinge of concern over missing their friends – and even their teachers. The end of the year also brings ceremony, and perhaps there is no greater distinction than successfully reaching the culmination of years of hard work: high school graduation.

              

The 2023-2024 school year has certainly been a time of celebration at the International School of Djibouti, where the school recently honored its first high school graduate, Sagal Said Harbi. Sagal began her high school career at the International School of Djibouti as a freshman, and one of the highlights of my time with ISD has been watching her mature into a driven, highly motivated young adult.

 

Sagal - ISD's first high school graduate

This fall, she will enroll in university in Europe, where she will study Business Administration. Sagal cites her time in Djibouti, seeing financial suffering, as a motivating force in her future plans: “My goal is to bridge the knowledge gap and contribute to the financial empowerment of those facing adversity.” She seeks to bring her skills and talents back to Djibouti.

 

The vision of ISD is “to provide world class education in English to develop creative, problem-solving, noble-hearted, global citizens.” When we see a student like Sagal, we certainly feel affirmed in that mission. During her tenure at ISD, Sagal not only showed increasing commitment to her studies, but she also took initiative to seek the betterment of her school community. Her efforts began with her assisting in STEAM events for extracurricular activities.

ISD students at graduation

Her senior year, Sagal took on the ISD library as her personal project, along with another high school student. They decorated the library, reorganized the books, and implemented a book review system to increase student engagement. In essence, she and her classmate became the school’s librarians. To boost school spirit, she planned and organized a school spirit week this past December. Sagal is the type of student who not only dreams of the impact she will have in the future; she is the type of student who seeks to be a noble-hearted, global citizen today.


ISD’s graduation ceremony has always been unique. For students completing 8th grade, ISD instituted the “order of the knife,” where Grade 8 graduates are presented with a traditional dagger, symbolizing the transition into young adulthood. We can’t forget our five Grade 8 graduates, several of whom have been with ISD for many years, who have also grown into exceptional young men.

ISDgraduating from 8th grader

This year, with Sagal’s graduation, ISD instituted the “order of the bell,” with assistance from ISD founding board member Rachel Jones. Sagal was presented with a camel bell, with the words of a Somali proverb: “Every camel will walk in the way of that which precedes it.” The hope of ISD is that the school will continue to produce leaders like Sagal, graduates with bright futures who will impact the world around them, wherever their journeys might take them.

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