I'm writing this as I sit here on the bench in your school garden. It's only my third time visiting your school but I already feel quite attached to this place. I can only imagine what it feels like to be here for six years... and then leave this place.
It's hard for me to remember exactly what it was like to leave school; only the excitement of freedom beyond the school walls still lingers in my mind. I remember driving out of my school in my dad's old 1982 Toyota Corona, windows down, wind in my hair. It was the best feeling then.
However, I didn't have a graduation ceremony. I just finished my last exam paper and that was it. Now, being a teacher, I'm lucky that I've been able to attend my students' graduation for the past ten years; but this is my first in Hin Hua High School, and it's also the first formal graduation ceremony I've ever attended. That makes it really special. Sitting in the hall, watching every student stand together as the choir sang your school song, it felt like I was in the movie, ; a movie that brought back memories of a time when I was young, like you.
I'm glad I had this chance to be here today with you, to witness such an important moment in your life. Seeing you today reminded me again how fast time flies and how precious are the moments we shared. From our first day in class, to our poetry writing in RT Pastry, to our cooking class, to your group project, to our final class, and now this, your final day in school - everything has happened in the blink of an eye.
In truth, I never wanted you to graduate, I never wanted you to leave, but that would be so selfish of me. You have brought me joy at a time when I wanted to give up on everything I had built. You made me stay and love the life I'm living. Now that our time together has ended, I'm not sure if I'll be as happy as I was with you. But leave, you must. Life goes on, and so do we.
I'm about to leave this bench now and continue to do what I love doing - teaching and growing with my students. And as I leave your school with fond memories and a smile, I want you to know I will always smile when I think of you. I hope you will smile too.
Congratulations, my dear friends. You have graduated, and I am so proud of you.