Aga Khan Academy Hyderabad celebrates the graduating Class of 2023 | Aga Khan Academies

Aga Khan Academy Hyderabad celebrates the graduating Class of 2023

22 May 2023

On 20 May 2023, the Aga Khan Academy (AKA) Hyderabad celebrated the graduation ceremony for the Class of 2023. This special occasion commemorated the completion of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme (DP) by 84 students at the Academy. Notably, nine of them had been a part of the Academy since its inception in 2011. The graduating batch was celebrated not only for their academic achievements but also for their extra-curricular accomplishments and their qualities of ethical leadership.

Families, friends, fellow students, alumni, faculty, staff and honoured guests joined in the celebration to congratulate the students and be a part of one of the most significant milestones in their lives. The ceremony was also live-streamed across multiple online platforms and was watched by viewers all around the world.

Before the start of the formal event, the students gathered on the Academic Building steps for one last official group photo. This was followed by the Pinning Ceremony where they were awarded their “Class of 2023” pins by their advisors. Head of Academy Dr Jonathan Long raised a toast to commemorate the soon-to-be graduates.

After the Pinning Ceremony, the students proceeded to the Commons, where they were greeted by the cheering faces and resounding applause of the audience. The programme commenced with welcome remarks from Dr Long, who spoke of the Class of 2023’s phenomenal journey and commended their zeal and resilience. He addressed the graduating batch with a heartwarming yet powerful message.

“You need to influence the environment you're in," Dr Long said. "As an Academy graduate, that is the gift we have given you. Beyond an IB education, you have the values of ethical and compassionate leadership… wherever you find yourself in the world, do not let the environment you are in destroy you. Do not let that environment make you hard or bitter and uncaring. Instead, as Rumi said, ‘Wherever you are, be the soul of that place’.”

The celebratory mood of the event was lifted with a graceful Kuchipudi performance – an Indian classical dance from Andhra Pradesh – entitled Krishna Shabdam by talented DP1 student Mayuka Tulla. Also, the Academy's Grade 10 pianist of distinction, Zanea Ali, enthralled the audience with her piano performance of Beethoven’s "Moonlight Sonata".

The event was also graced by the presence of Academic Director Dr Graham Ranger, who was the guest of honour.  He spoke of the Academies commitment to providing high-potential children with access to high-quality education, regardless of their socio-economic background.

“Although 'unique' is an overused word, the Academy has a unique mission and vision laid down by His Highness the Aga Khan in many speeches," Dr Ranger said. "The vision best aligns with the IB curriculum, which is broad… However, His Highness emphasised in that speech to the IB that the Academy's curriculum is not the IB curriculum, but it is centred on the IB curriculum. There's an important difference here. Our unique contribution in terms of the curriculum is that the student body is socio-economically diverse… and, what we add in terms of pluralism and the development of you as leaders, enriches and makes special the IB curriculum that we offer here.”

This year’s cohort has collectively secured more than $6 million in scholarships. The students have received admissions at universities of global renown, including Duke University, Purdue University, Boston University, University College London, University of Edinburgh, New York University, University of Michigan, McGill University, Vijaybhoomi University, and Ashoka University, among others. Eighty per cent of the Academy's Talent Identification (TID) Programme students are matriculating with full scholarships to universities. This programme was developed in line with the Academy’s vision to provide exceptional students with an international-standard education and leadership opportunities, regardless of their ability to pay. Many students from the Class of 2023 also received full-ride and full-tuition scholarships from universities, including Boston University, Huron University College, Vijaybhoomi University, Wesleyan College, Ashoka University, Concordia University and the University of Alberta.

DP2 student and an Executive Board Member of the Academy’s 2023 Class Gift Campaign Aashna Lakhani said, “Education is the best gift you can give to someone. It not only changes the life of an individual but also transforms the community they come from… The class gift campaign strongly reflects the values that have been embedded within us as [the] Academy students… and here we are leading this campaign. This initiative is our opportunity to give back to the community and we will do the best we can to help transform the lives of other individuals.” AKA Hyderabad’s Class Gift Campaign is an initiative introduced by the Class of 2020 and led by the graduating class every year to raise funds to support the TID Programme.

On behalf of the Aga Khan Academies network, we wish the graduating Class of 2023 the best in all their future endeavours as they embark on a new journey. The Aga Khan Academy Hyderabad’s Class of 2023 graduation ceremony is available to watch online on Facebook and YouTube.