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ISR mom gives heartfelt speech at 2013 graduation

At the Class of 2013’s graduation, the kickoff to a year-long celebration of ISR’s 10th anniversary, Mrs. Tatjana Breloh shared heartfelt memories of what it has been like to be an ISR mom over the last 10 years. She was asked to speak on behalf of the Parent Network, and her words were so moving that it was, in that moment, a shame that ISR’s graduation isn't an open invitation to the entire community. Given ISR’s 10th anniversary celebration(pictured) which took place on Sunday, 15 September 2013, we thought it appropriate to share Mrs. Breloh’s speech – there wasn't a dry eye in the house! We hope you can share in our pride when you read the following:

I am happy and proud to stand here today. Happy for those brilliant young people who, hopefully, all got their IB, and proud for all parents who are here to celebrate their child.

My family knows ISR and the part of staff that is still here for almost 10 years.

Maybe that is why Ms. Lyons called me some time ago to ask me, as one of the "oldest" mothers, to speak a few words. Don't worry it will not last long. But, let me look back for a moment.

Ten years ago when our son, Leopold, joined ISR, the school was located at Hammfelddamm. When we got there for our first visit, the first person we met was a good-looking security man wearing RayBan sunglasses on a foggy winter day. We were immediately impressed. The second person was Caterina Irving, and she is still here! A wonderful lady with short hair and a big heart. The School Director was Lisa Grote, followed by the CEO – I mean, who else could it have been? Of course, it was the unshakeable and rock-solid Mr. Uhling!

So we started at this school long ago and so much has changed. Almost ten years ago ISR started with 65 students, and now? Now, we are nearly 600.

As the old ISR grew, Kindergarten kids had to work and play in containers outside the main building. Maybe some of you remember this, and now they have a little paradise with their own section in the building and a large playground.

At Hammfelddamm, there used to be a traffic jam every morning, mainly with SUVs, because there was not much space to park, especially not directly in front of the entrance gate. Now there is a huge parking lot. We even have our own roundabout! I think it was made for those parents who never stop their car when picking up their kids, who literally have to hop into a rolling car.

The old school building was not very nice; it was a bit worn and shabby. And now? Now there is this modern and beautiful building.

Oh, by the way. There was a sauerkraut company near the old school, and very often in the mornings there was a penetrant smell of freshly cooked Sauerkraut in the air. And now at the new ISR? Here, we are surrounded by green fields and even have a little park with trees that carry the names of our students! The students might have gone out into the world, but their trees will still be growing here at their school! Isn't that wonderful?!

So, apart from growing, becoming more and more professional, getting more and more students, more and more superb teachers, a roundabout, new computers, a cantine for all tastes, new playground, a huge sports hall, coloured flags, personalized trees. Whatever.

There is something that was there from the ambitious and pioneering very beginning. I think it is the spirit. The spirit of SABIS® and ISR. 'Always try. And, do your best' are two credos of ISR. But for me, it is also the spirit of care. The spirit of care for one another. The spirit of care for the community. The spirit of practicing honesty and integrity. It is also the spirit of tolerance. The spirit of courage and encouraging. Of supporting and bringing out the best in every single student.

That ISR really brings out the full potential of the students we can all witness here today.

I think that when you come to the school, just on a normal day, you see happy students, caring teachers, teachers who are open and approachable, teachers who really care about their students, and you see children and parents of all nations chatting and laughing together. To me, this really makes a difference.

The staff of ISR is positive and attentive, and I think most of them really like what they do. Did you know that Eileen Lyons knows almost all students by name? And, this reflects the overall atmosphere and is one of the reasons for the success of the school and the students.

And now, talking about full potential and academic success. On my right-hand side, I have result of the special ISR spirit. 15 wonderful young people. Today, you are our heroes!

But my dear heroes, I do hope that every one of you knows that you were very privileged and lucky to be able to attend such an excellent school. And, I do hope that you will be able to give back some of this to those...not so fortunate.

As civilization is facing some severe challenges, maybe some of you will be able to change things for a good future for all. And I am sure you will, because emphasizing quality before profit is also a core value of ISR.

But now, life is going to change for you. And life will change for us: the parents, too. You will step out into the future and into the world, find your way, make things happen, fall in love and out again, make your living. Please be courageous, try out things, live life to the fullest and yes, maybe even take some risks and fail. And then? Then, you will do your best, and start again.

And being one of the "oldest" mothers may I say this:

Don't overestimate the bonuses of a big career, or of status and status symbols for a fulfilling and happy life. Practising honesty and integrity and being a well-rounded citizen who contributes positively to the community will really make you happy in the long term. And believe me, I know what I am talking about.

And we, the parents? Well, we parents spent time and effort. We have paid nice sums of money to be left with an empty nest in the end.

We also always tried and did our best. Those of us with only one child will be real "empty nesters" soon. But dear parents, before we crawl back into our empty nests, I would like to thank the teachers and all staff of ISR. I want to thank them on behalf of all families here and also very personally. And again, big congratulations to our IB students and their families—you all made this special day possible.

Ladies and gentlemen, let us celebrate this wonderful occasion and please applause the school, the teachers, all staff. And of course our most important and dearly loved heroes who make us so proud—our children! Thank you very much.