第7回卒業証書授与式 校長式辞 2020年3月1日 Principal’s Graduation Address March 1st, 2020

Ladies and gentlemen, good morning. I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to all of you for attending GKA’s 7th graduation ceremony. 
I am extremely grateful to be sharing with our dear parents the greatest pleasure that today brings. It is the fruit of all the cares and efforts that parents have made in bringing up children with deep affection to reach this momentous achievement, graduation from Gunma Kokusai Academy.
Even though it is a smaller size, I’m relieved to have graduation ceremony today. I think we should regard the pandemic of novel Coronavirus disease as a kind of disaster just like a huge earthquake. So, it’s inevitable that every event is being canceled all over Japan. Even in such a difficult situation, I would like to have at least graduation ceremony for twelves graders. I’m happy to be here, making a speech in front of you right now.
At this time of the year, we usually feel the chilly breeze of March. Japan is a country where we enjoy four seasons which gradually change throughout the year. However, this year, it has been unusually warm even at the beginning of March. Recently, the climate of Japan is sometimes said to be on the way to changing into a tropical one because of global warming.
Not only the climate but also the economy and politics of the world are changing so greatly that we can’t predict easily the world you will enter upon after graduation. But I believe most of you have learned, through the education you received at GKA, how to think, how to cope with challenges you face, and how to adjust yourself to the ever-changing environment of the modern world.
Graduating students, you were born about 18 years ago without the ability to do anything except to cry. Human beings are born with infinite possibilities. If we were raised by a wolf, we might be human-shaped wolves. Human-beings become human-beings through meeting and interacting with other human-beings.
So, the kind of human-being that you become largely depends on what kind of people you meet and how deeply you share feelings and thoughts with others in your life.
That’s a critical reason why you need to carefully choose people who you will have close relationship with. What’s more, including books written or speeches recorded by people many years ago, everything that expresses human thoughts helps you grow as human-beings.
I think everyone knows that choosing people who have something to help us change for the better is critically important in improving ourselves.
But I think we are likely to forget that, while choosing, we are chosen by the people around us. You may think a person is worthwhile to talk with, but at the same time that person might be thinking exactly the same, whether you are worthwhile to talk with.
With self-reflection, we need to improve ourselves and others need to improve themselves too. So always trying to improve ourselves and others as well is the way of living which brings us mutually beneficial co-existence and co-prosperity.
Then, what kind of measurement should we use to make sure we are improving, that we are changing for the better, that is, we are moving in the right direction?
I know there are lots of viewpoints about deciding the right direction toward which we should make efforts to improve ourselves. Even among them, I recommend you have one simple criterion to judge the level of improvement of human beings, that is changing from a selfish mindset to an altruistic mindset.
Selfish people spend most of their time in thinking of themselves, thinking about what’s beneficial to themselves or their own troubles. On the other hand, altruistic people tend to spend their time thinking of and doing things for others. Altruistic people are always generating a good atmosphere around themselves and are thought to be reliable and thus chosen as good partners to work with or to live with.
I believe all of you have learned, through the IB philosophy, how to become lifelong learners. The goal of your life, hopefully, will be to ensure that you are altruistic people, who can feel others’ pleasure as one’s own pleasure, who can feel other’s happiness as one’s own happiness.
For the graduating students, your education at GKA will end soon. However, you are all on a continuous journey of learning and self-improvement. I hope each of you will be a lifelong improver.
Finally, I would like to send you some words as a parting gesture.
I am proud of you. I hope you will do your level best wherever you are.
And I wish each one of you many, many possibilities that will come on your way.
May God bless you all.  
Thank you for listening.ご参列の皆様、おはようございます。本日この式典にご参列いただきました全ての皆様に、心より感謝申し上げます。この栄えある日を保護者の方々と共有できますことは、私たち職員にとりましても限りない喜びであります。