The 2024 Commencement Ceremony was a memorable evening that embodied pride, joy, and the excitement of new beginnings. The gathering brought together esteemed faculty, proud families, and distinguished guests, all united in celebration of the graduates' achievements. The event beautifully reflected the mission of ACS Athens to cultivate excellence, inspire innovation, and foster global citizenship, setting a warm and inspirational tone for the entire evening.

Dr. Peggy Pelonis, President of ACS Athens, opened the evening with a heartfelt address that captured the spirit of the occasion:

"Τoday is a day of great pride and deep reflection. This is a special class, and we’re here to celebrate their remarkable achievements. They began their high school journey amidst a global pandemic, adapting to new learning environments and overcoming unprecedented obstacles. Their resilience and adaptability will serve them well in their future endeavors."

Dr. Pelonis' words were a testament to the strength and perseverance of the graduates, setting an inspirational tone for the rest of the evening.

H.E. George J. Tsunis, the U.S. Ambassador to Greece,  also delivered a powerful and personal address. Ambassador Tsunis, a prominent businessman and philanthropist, shared his deep connection to ACS Athens and his admiration for the graduating class. 

"You have an opportunity and an experience that is so rare. Take time to reflect on this. You've gone to school with people from over 60 countries. This invaluable perspective will help you build the world you collectively want to see. Embrace these values of responsibility, integrity, and compassion."

Adding to the evening's inspiring messages, Mr. Tim Ananiadis, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, shared his wisdom and support for the graduates. 

"As you leave this school, remember that you are prepared for the world. The diverse experiences and relationships you’ve built here are invaluable. Stay connected to ACS Athens and continue to be ambassadors of our values."

This year’s Commencement Speaker was Mr. Tom Mustin, a respected TV news anchor and proud ACS Athens alumnus. Mustin's speech was both inspirational and entertaining, resonating deeply with the graduates and their families. 

"You conquered some incredible obstacles along the way. I'm not just talking about sustainable development projects or community service. You survived a worldwide pandemic. To quote that great American poet, Taylor Swift, you managed to 'shake it off.' This resilience will carry you far."

One of the evening's most touching moments was the presentation of the Global Conscious Citizenship Award. Established in memory of two ACS Athens alumni who tragically lost their lives during a humanitarian mission in Libya, this award recognizes individuals who exemplify academic excellence, leadership in humanitarian efforts, and a commitment to improving life and living conditions for others. This year's recipient, Lauren Fox, was honored for her outstanding community engagement, volunteerism, and intellectual curiosity. The award ceremony was a poignant reminder of the values that ACS Athens instills in its students.

The ceremony also featured inspiring student speeches. Katerina Self, the Class Salutatorian, delivered a heartfelt address expressing gratitude to the faculty, administration, and her fellow students. She reflected on the collective journey of the Class of 2024, emphasizing the importance of the support system that helped them reach this milestone. Self encouraged her peers to carry the values and lessons learned at ACS Athens into their future endeavors, highlighting the importance of adaptability and perseverance.

Class Valedictorian, Sevinch Ochilova, echoed these sentiments in her speech, emphasizing the transformative power of education and the lifelong friendships formed during their time at ACS Athens. Ochilova urged her classmates to embrace their future with confidence and a sense of purpose, leaving them with an inspiring message:

"We are not mere graduates. We are future leaders and change-makers. Therefore, we must leverage our potential to the best of our capabilities. Even though our collective journey may be ending, our individual adventures are just beginning."

Academy Principal, Dr. David Nelson, who is departing after more than 30 years of dedicated service, added a touch of nostalgia and gratitude to the ceremony:

"It has been an honor to be part of this incredible institution. I have valued learning deeply but have valued people even more. As you move forward, remember that you have the power to shape your future and the world around you. Stay connected with your peers and your alma mater. Together, as part of the greater network of ACS Athens alumni, you can achieve the impossible."

His farewell was a moving tribute to the impact he has had on the school and its students.

Overall, the 2024 Commencement Ceremony was a poignant reminder of the school's mission to develop responsible global citizens. It celebrated not only the academic achievements of its students, but also their growth as individuals ready to make a difference in the world. The evening was a testament to the community's resilience, innovation, and unwavering commitment to excellence. As the graduates move forward, they carry with them the values and spirit of ACS Athens, ready to embark on their next chapter with pride and determination.

Congratulations to the ACS Athens Class of 2024 – the future leaders and change-makers of our world!

A heartfelt thank you to Ms. Evelyn Pittas and the entire Organizing Committee for orchestrating such a beautiful and memorable event!

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Relive this inspiring evening by watching the recording below: