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Lord-Lieutenant praises Pestalozzi students at Leavers' Ceremony

Lord Lieutenant Peter Field and Prabha Upreti
Lord-Lieutenant Peter Field presents the Harvard Book Prize to Prabha Upreti.

Lord Lieutenant Peter Field with CEO Sue Walton and Pestalozzi students
Lord-Lieutenant Peter Field was greeted by Pestalozzi CEO Susan Walton and Pestalozzi students Kunchok Sonam, Suvechchha Ghimire and Prabha Upreti.

David Mtonga gives his speech
David Mtonga was one of several Pestalozzi graduates who gave moving speeches at the Leavers' Ceremony.

Pestalozzi students celebrate graduation
Pestalozzi's graduating students will go on to prestigious universities and important volunteer gap year roles.

CEO Susan Walton addresses graduates
Pestalozzi CEO Susan Walton gave the closing remarks at the moving ceremony.

To see more photos of the evening, visit our Facebook photo album, and see some of our favourites in the flickr gallery below.
23 June 2014

A resounding endorsement from HM Lord-Lieutenant Peter Field, Her Majesty The Queen’s personal representative in East Sussex, set the tone for our 2014 Pestalozzi Leavers' Ceremony.

"I know Her Majesty is delighted"

The awards ceremony celebrates the achievements of Pestalozzi beneficiaries – young people from disadvantaged communities around the world who gain scholarships to study for two years in East Sussex. The Lord-Lieutenant presented awards for outstanding contributions to a number of Pestalozzi students and spoke eloquently about the ongoing impact they have had on the local community and will continue to have on the wider world.

"The Commonwealth has as its core values the belief in giving a voice to the voiceless, bringing people together and promoting cultural expression and exchange," said Mr Field. "I know Her Majesty is delighted with the work organisations such as Pestalozzi do and applauds the way in which it seeks to support all of the world’s communities."

David's moving Zambian story

These values were evident in abundance in the student’s graduation speeches. David Mtonga from Zambia told the story of his life, from selling maize and making charcoal so he could afford to go to school, to his excitement at riding an escalator at Lusaka airport on the way to Pestalozzi. He drew a vivid picture of life in his home community, with children squeezing four to a desk or sitting on the floor during school classes and a village living without safe water, David’s family walking half an hour to the closest well.

David also spoke about seeing opportunities where once he might have seen problems. "With the opportunity at Pestalozzi, I feel indebted to be part of a team actively seeking to change the face of my country," he said. "During my gap year, I plan to dedicate my service to my community, providing clean water through installing boreholes in remote places with an NGO. I also wish, where possible, to assist in the improvement of the local school infrastructure."

Pestalozzi's academic success

As well as taking gap years, many of our graduates will be going on to university, having been offered full scholarship places at illustrious institutions including Princeton, Yale, Duke, MIT and Stanford in the USA, London School of Economics and University of Brighton in the UK, and New York University in Abu Dhabi.

Clive Cooke, Principal of Sussex Coast College Hastings, spoke warmly of the students’ contribution to college life. The audience, including the High Sheriff of East Sussex, Chris Gebbie, and the Chairman of the East Sussex County Council, Colin Belsey, heard the students attribute their academic achievements to the help of their tutors at Pestalozzi and teachers at SCCH.

The evening, held at St Mary in the Castle, ended with moving tributes to the graduating students from Pestalozzi CEO Sue Walton and the first year Pestalozzi students, who will spend the summer volunteering at home before returning for their final year in September.

Did you enjoy this article? Read about the 2013 Pestalozzi Leavers' Ceremony.