At ALA, graduating is no small affair, and extends far beyond the formal graduation ceremony. In fact, the graduation ceremony is the culmination of a week’s worth of celebrations and events, all leading up to the formal certificate ceremony.
This year’s graduation festivities to mark ALA’s graduation of its third cohort of second year students, commenced on Monday 11 June with a special awards assembly. Among the awards presented to students at this years’ assembly were the Values Awards, for students who best reflected the six values of the ALA: Integrity, Curiosity, Humility, Compassion, Diversity and Excellence.
Tambali, held on the Thursday prior to graduation, was led by the first year students to commend and celebrate the graduates and their achievements. ‘Tambali’ is a Wolof word that means ‘the beginning,’ and is an event that marks the official start of the Academy’s graduation ceremonies. Aniekeme Edo-Ukponge, a first year ALA student from Nigeria gave the opening Tambali address. In closing, he said to the graduating class: “You left in us the will and conviction to carry on and that is the true essence of a leader.”
The graduation build-up also included some entertainment: the University of the Witwatersrand choir (the Wits choir) gave a special guest performance on the eve of graduation day.
The choir performed diverse traditional songs for the entire ALA community, and even collaborated on a couple of numbers with ALA’s own choir, ALAPella. To culminate the evening, ALA students had a bonfire and sing-along to mark the start of graduation day, and the end of their lives as ALA students
Graduation day itself was also filled with events leading up to the certificate ceremony, starting off with a graduation blessing in the morning for the entire ALA community.
One of the highlights of the day was ALA’s Leadership Symposium and Student Enterprise Projects Showcase. Based on the theme, “Africa-Impacting the Continent,” the Leadership Symposium was a forum for sharing innovative entrepreneurial ideas and community projects from members of the graduating class.
Five students were selected to present at the symposium. Among them was Sophie Umazi, from Kenya who spoke about her I am Kenyan project, which, in an effort to curb violence relating to the upcoming 2013 Kenyan violence, aims to brings together persons from all over the world, through photography to promote peace and unity. The project calls for people from all over the world to photograph themselves with the words “I am Kenyan” in any language.
Before the start of the ceremony, graduates were also given a platform to display student enterprises and community service projects in the Student Enterprise and Projects showcase. The student enterprises are a graduation requirement and a capstone project to the Leadership, Entrepreneurship and African studies curriculum at ALA.
Mr. Ernest Asante, a Geography and African studies faculty member at ALA, described the graduating class an amazing group. “These students have a lot of potential and they have learned a lot from the Academy. I believe and trust that they will live up to the expectations the school has of them,” he said.
To read more about ALA’s graduation ceremony, click here.