ESH celebrates its first European Baccalaureate
Monday 8 July 2019

In just the same way that ESH is a young school, pioneering, and laying our roots for educational success, so too are these graduates. This event marks a very significant moment in their lives, and is a historic day for our school.

- Frans van de Kerkhof, Director, Europese School Den Haag

European Baccalaureate Results

The European School The Hague is thrilled to announce that every student in our first group of European Baccalaureate candidates was successful in achieving their diplomas. This 100% pass rate means that all of the students in the Class of 2019 were able to celebrate their graduation together at the school's first EB graduation ceremony on Friday afternoon.

This European Baccalaureate was the school's first, and we have been highly impressed with the level of maturity that our students have demonstrated during this examination period. They attended their examinations on time and arrived well-prepared, and we are proud of the high-level of dedication that they have shown toward their studies. At the beginning of the examination period, we hosted the European Schools' inspector and Vice President of the European Baccalaureate 2019, Ms Tuulamarja Huisman from Finland, who monitored our examination procedures to ensure that we were following all of the relevant protocols. We are pleased to report that everything proceeded according to plan, under the direction of the Orientation Cycle Leader, Ms Caroline Emery.

After a stressful period of written and oral examinations, it was a nervous wait for our S7 students on Thursday night in anticipation of the official communication of results from the European Schools. The students were invited to gather at the school at 21.00, which was when they learned that everyone would be receiving their European Baccalaureate diplomas. The students were joined by their teachers, and everyone enjoyed a celebratory drink together.

Your success is a testament to your determination and commitment to excellence, and we are very proud to have you as our first graduating class.

- Frans van de Kerkhof, Director, Europese School Den Haag

ESH's first graduation ceremony

There was an air of anticipation in the Secondary theatre on Friday afternoon, as parents, families and teachers gathered to witness ESH's very first EB graduation ceremony. They were joined by representatives from European Schools, Rijnlands Lyceum and the European Agencies. The nationalities of the 20 graduating students reflected our strong focus on multiculturalism and multilingualism, with graduates from the Netherlands, France, Belgium, Spain, UK, Italy, Poland, Lithuania, Greece, Bulgaria and Canada. The students entered the theatre to the anthem of Europe, Ode to Joy, performed by the ESH Classical Ensemble, before taking their place on the stage.

Delivering his welcoming address in Dutch, English, German and French, Director Frans van de Kerkhof said, "students, we are honoured to be awarding these diplomas to you today. The European Baccalaureate diploma that you are about to receive is a very valuable key, that can be used to open the doors of your future".

He went on to thank their parents for "supporting us so that we could support your children, and for entrusting us with your child’s education".

"I believe that the overwhelming key to a child’s success is the positive involvement of their parents. And in this room today, is a group of parents who can look at their children with pride, and who can share in their child’s feeling of achievement".

Mr van de Kerkhof also reconised the role that the teachers have had in the students' success. "Just as I am proud of the achievements of our students, I am equally as proud of the teachers who helped them get here. Our teachers have played a significant role in the shaping of our students; coaching, supporting and enabling them to play their part in shaping our school".

Similar sentiments were shared by Maria Aguilar, the Chairperson of the Secondary Participation Council in her address to the students. "I truly believe that the European School has given you the values and knowledge that you will need in the future", she said.

Graduating student, Julia Baranowska spoke on behalf of her peers, and thanked all of the teachers and staff "for the great time we had at ESH", adding, "its the small things that will make us miss our time here".

A highlight of the event was the solo performance of one of our graduates, Carmen Rueda Lindemann, who captivated the audience with her accoustic rendition of Elvis Presley's Falling in Love With You. After recieving their diplomas, the graduates were applauded off stage to Don’t Stop Me Now, performed by the ESH Student and Teacher Band, which set the tone for the reception that followed afterwards.

As you know, achieving things for the first time isn’t always easy. When no one has walked a path before, there are no footsteps to follow. It takes courage and confidence to walk a new path.

Not only have you paved the path to graduation, but you have done it with such grace and determination, that we would be proud for our future students to follow your lead.

- Frans van de Kerkhof, Director, Europese School Den Haag

Presentation of awards

With so many significant achievements by our first graduating class, we thought it would be appropriate to recognise those students whose performance over the last year was outstanding.

Frans Koks History Award

There was one person missing from Friday's ceremony, History teacher, Mr Frans Koks, who passed away earlier this year. It was decided that the Frans Koks History Award be created in his honour. The award will be presented at every ESH graduation ceremony going forward, to keep his memory alive at the school.

The award was designed by Nicolet Teunissen, Head of the Art department, and is a very symbolic piece. To represent the rich history of the Netherlands, the sculpture is designed in the form of an artefact, similar to many uncovered around the Hague, and is inspired by the Venus sculptures unearthed by archeologists. Carved into the sculpture is the crest of the the Hague, and the stars of Europe.

For outstanding ability in History, the very first Frans Koks award was presented to Noémie Faure. Presenting the award, Frans van de Kerkhof said, "because she has shown strong skills and consistent interest in the subject of history, ESH’s history department would like to award the Frans Koks History Prize to Noémie Faure. Throughout her years at ESH, Noémie has impressed her teachers by her level of maturity and her will to always reach her best potential. These qualities have particularly shined in her history class".

ESH was honoured to host the family of Frans Koks at the ceremony, so they could be there to witness this very significant event.

Languages Award

Dr Maarten Knoester, Executive Director of the Rijnlands Lyceum, said he thought it was appropriate that he was asked to presnt the languages award, as he had spent much of his career working in language education. The award, which recognises the student who displayed outstanding ability in languages, was presented to Carmen Rueda Lindemann.

"It is a measure of just how outstanding Carmen is in languages that she was studying L2 English until S6 when she switched to L1, in order to facilitate her progress to study English Literature at university. Nevertheless, she managed to achieve amongst the highest L1 scores in the class. This pattern is reproduced in her L2, Spanish and L3, Dutch. It is a point of some sadness for her English teachers that she has subsequently decided to pursue a career in psychology and has successfully applied to courses at Leiden, Tilburg, Erasmus and Radboud".

STEM Award

The European Patent Office sponsored the STEM Award, in recognition of the student who displayed outstanding ability in Maths and Science. Jan Boulanger, Director HR Operations & Shared Services from the European Patent Office presented the award to Niva Beije.

"Niva is a very bright young woman. She is an independent learner who needs very little help from her teachers. She is mature, organized, calm and determined. She deserves the prize because she is academically the best of her year. Her performance has always been excellent and we are very proud to have taught her. We wish her all success in her future studies in Molecular Science and Technology at Leiden and TUDelft as part of a prestigious joint BSC program run by the two universities".

All Rounder Award

Maria Aguilar, the Chairperson of the Secondary Participation Council presented the All Rounder Award to Konstantinos Tzoumkas, in recognition of his outstanding level of all-round achievement.

"Konstantinos joined the European School The Hague at the beginning of S6, having previously studied in Greece. While he was familiar with an academically challenging environment, studying L2 humanities subjects in French as well as his other subjects in English, officially his L2, is hugely impressive. He adapted quickly to the Baccalaureate and his results across both arts and sciences are excellent. It also speaks to his maturity and character that he has made such a success of his move to a new culture. He is a very talented student and we are confident that he has a bright future ahead of him. He is currently holding an offer in Molecular Genetics at Kings College, London".

Student Award

The Student Award recognised the student who contributed most to student life, and Julia Baranowska was voted the winner by her peers. The award was presented to Julia by the S7 Mentor, Suneel Madahar.

"Julia is the one student who managed to put others before herself in most matters. When the class needed something, they usually looked to Julia to help. The S7 have often regarded her as the 'mother' of the class, and this name was never used to tease her or to make fun of her. It is representative of the immense respect the class has had for her all these years. She has a place to study at Erasmus University Rotterdam next year".

Progress Award

"In the end two students were nominated for this award, which recognises the student who has made outstanding progress with their studies," explained François Roosegaarde Bisschop who was joined by Caroline Emery to present the award to Sara Castellano and Mats Kuijt.

"Both students have impressed their class teachers, not simply with their ability and commitment to their studies but also with their attitude. They are warm and funny and above all, they are kind, not just to their peers but to students in lower years and also to staff. Their academic results are excellent and represent consistent hard work and self-reflection. Sara is holding a firm offer at Bristol University to study Electrical Engineering and Mats has a place at Nyenrode University to study Business Management". 

ESH Alumni: New beginnings, endless possibilities

Rather than representing an ending, this graduation ceremony represents new beginnings and new opportunities.

- Frans van de Kerkhof, Director, Europese School Den Haag

ESH will keenly monitor the success of our first graduating class through our newly establish alumni network. Class of 2019 graduates are invited to sign up to the ESH Alumni to continue to feel connected to, and supported by ESH, long after leaving our school. We aim to support our graduates during their transition from school to university and into their career. By using the European Baccalaureate to build the bridge between our school, international universities and the corporate world, our graduates are an example to our future students, demonstrating what ESH graduates can achieve. Class of 2019 graduates have been offered places at a variety of universities, from Leiden, Erasmus and TU Delft, to King’s College London, Bristol and other universities further abroad, and we cannot wait to see what they achieve.

Here is what some of our new ESH Alumni members have had to say about their future:

"I am enrolled at the University of Maastricht as a European Law student. I plan on finishing my Master's degree in the UK, as well as completing the LPC exam. Ideally, I would like to practice law in several European countries" - Irena.

"I would like to get a PhD. I am not sure which career path I would like to follow, possibly cultural-social anthropology"- Maria.

"ESH overall offered a very warm and understanding environment in which to pursue the most important years of my Secondary education" - Irena.

Special thanks

On behalf of the European School The Hague, Kris Radkov presented flowers to Ms Tuulamarja Huisman, from the European Schools, who was present to provide support and guidance to us during our very first written and oral examinations.

Sara Castellano presented flowers to Maarten Knoester, from the Rijnlands Lyceum, for supporting our school during his time as Executive Director of Rijnlands. Mr Knoester will be leaving Rijnlands Lyceum this year, and his support will be missed.

Pol Lobao Florez presented flowers to Caroline Emery, who in her role as Cycle Leader, took on the big responsibility of organising our first Baccalaureate exams.

Irena Marjanovic presented flowers to Suneel Madahar, who was the Mentor teacher for the S7s this year. Suneel is leaving us this year, and we are very grateful for his enthusiasm in preparing our students for university.

Special thanks also goes to the European Agencies and the Secondary Participation Council for their continued support. To Deirdre Byrnes, Lina Suardi and Danielle Eijkenbroek for organising the event. To the concierge for preparing and packing up the venue. To the Music department for their wonderful musical contributions to the ceremony. To Nicolet Teunissen for designing the Frans Koks History Award, and to Mr François Roosegaarde Bisschop for his role as Master of Ceremonies.

Thank you also to the following contributers;

  • Front of House: S6 students
  • Photographer: Lambert de Jong
  • Catering: LOF Catering
  • Lighting: Aveco
  • Event artwork: Class of 2019 graduate, Elzé Vilkelyté  
  • Graphic design: WhiskyFriday

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