Tassels have been passed from right to left, caps have been thrown into the air and voices have been raised to sing Den Blomstertid Nu Kommer.
Across Sweden, more than 3,000 grade nine Internationella Engelska Skolan students have celebrated their graduation in front of proud family members, and the school staff who have helped them to develop to this point over the past several years.
Now, as they bid farewell to their schools, the students will go forward to the next challenges of their lives.
This year there were five IES schools who were saying goodbye to a graduating class for the first time. At Falun, Liljeholmen, Hässleholm, Kista and Umeå those students graduating marked the first group to move on from the IES school.
The graduation ceremony is a big part of the tradition of Internationella Engelska Skolan. It is held to honour the achievements of the students and all of their efforts, academic and otherwise, during their time at the school. Students wear iconic blue caps and gowns in an American-style graduation, with speeches and performances of live music from the student body.
During the graduation at IES Liljeholmen students assembled in the schoolyard where a stage had been constructed for the occasion, they heard from their president, graduating student David Hjalmarsson-Batman.
He said: “Today is a very special day. Today is the day that we graduate. The first time that we ninth graders graduate. This day is a milestone in many aspects, this day marks the transition towards continuing our studies at our upper secondary schools.
"If it wasn’t for the English teachers who taught me the linguistics, I would never be able to stand here today to give this speech in English.
"Yesterday we were students, today we are graduates, and tomorrow we are proud alums of our alma mater, IES Liljeholmen.”
The school’s Principal AnnaKarin Johansson also spoke to the assembled group of students, parents and staff.
She said: “Dear students, both in year 9 and 8. You are writing history today as the first two classes to graduate from IES Liljeholmen. In a very short year, students of year 8, you will graduate as the first five classes. It is an honour to have been part of your life, even for a very short time. You have taught me a lot. Students of year 9. I wish you all the best for the future.
“The world that you are entering is challenging, demanding and full of opportunities. And my advice to you, is to embrace those challenges. Meet the demands with grit, perseverance, motivation, and sisu.”
IES Falun held their graduation at Lugnetskyrkan conference centre.
Those assembled enjoyed virtuoso performances on the piano, saxophone and clarinet as well as speeches from representatives of the staff and students.
Sara Fahlström, who was named as Falun’s valedictorian, said: “What I will remember is all the amazing people here, and so now that we have the opportunity, we would like to thank them. We want to say thank-you to the teachers, we have learnt so much these past three years and it is all thanks to you."
Balazs Tarján, Falun's school ambassador, added: “I would like to thank my teachers, my fellow students and my mentors. I was a little bit surprised to win this award because I didn’t think I would. For me it is natural to help others, follow the rules, and show respect. It is really important to have a combination of respect and support in order to have a safe environment.
"We also wanted to thank both of the year nine classes, we are are all really different and that is a good thing, because by being different we have all put in a lot of effort and achieved our goals in hundreds of different ways and in hundreds of different situations."
After the summer holidays a new grade nine class will take its place at each IES school, as they work towards their own graduation day and do their best to meet their goals, academic and otherwise, so that they are as prepared as possible for their future.
First of all, I would like to thank the school's present and resigning principal Ms Forsberg for her effort and wish her luck in her new endeavours.
Then, I want to share, that not only do I feel a great honor and privilege to take over the role as the principal of Internationella Engelska Skolan Falun. I also feel very happy, as I feel I have come “home” again.
My connection with Falun began in my early years of youth, when I spent a lot of time in Falun with my bicycle friends in Falu CK and my ski friends in IFK III Falun Alpin during the 1980s. This connection continued when I studied at Dalarna University with a teaching degree in 1997.
Now, I'm back in this beautiful city and during the month of May, I have done my utmost to prepare school in the best way. I am proud to present our well-educated staff of 51 people, who will meet you in August and prepare all students for the future. The balance between Swedish-speaking and English-speaking is ideal for our bilingual school, 25 Swedish-speaking and 26 English-speaking, and the number of qualified teachers is 37. Together we will ensure that IES's three pillars; "Command of the English language", "A safe and orderly environment" and "High academic expectations and aspirations" is complied with. We will also focus on providing more sport, which we have chosen to call "health and movement".
I am indeed happy to be back in Falun and am look forward to getting to know you in August. The school will start on Wednesday 23rd August and further details will be posted on Schoolsoft during the summer.
In August I will invite you to a simple gathering, followed by the traditional parents' meeting some weeks later.
If you have any concerns, do not hesitate to contact me.
Students from several IES schools have taken part in an English-language poetry contest.
The competition, encouraging students to explore their poetic side, was arranged by five IES schools north of Stockholm - Uppsala, Gävle, Falun, Sundsvall and Umeå.
Students from years 7 - 9 were asked to write a poem with the theme of ‘Hopes and Dreams’.
The overall winner of the contest was Louise Berntsson from IES Uppsala (pictured, right).
She said: "This was the first poetry contest that I have ever entered and so I felt very surprised to win. I was very happy to take part and also to have my poetry recognised by IES."
Rebecca Ryberg, the organisation’s subject facilitator for English, took on the challenging role as the contest’s judge. The schools taking part selected 29 poems for her to choose from, a maximum of three poems per year group from each school. After looking through the talented and diverse entries, Ms Ryberg chose the winners for each year group.
She said: "There were so many great poems written by the students; it was quite hard to judge. The quality was extremely high, and I know their teachers are really proud of their work and efforts."
The winning poem:
The girl on the boat
She has that look in her eyes,
Like the life in her was drawn out by the mouth,
Unable to speak,
she looks so tired and weak.
The girl on the boat has dreams.
She dreams of a world where the only thing falling from the sky is rain,
Not shell casings
She dreams of a world where the only things that crack open are watermelons,
Not innocent skulls
Or paper ribcages
She dreams of holding a math book in her hands again,
Of curling her fingers around a pen,
Of walking outside to see the sun smiling,
And at night, the stars twinkling.
The girl on the boat dreams of a world where living,
is not the same as surviving.
The other results of the contest by category were:
First place: Molly Åberg from IES Gävle. Poem: "Peace and Death."
Runner up: Kian Esfandiari from IES Uppsala. Poem: "Hopes and Dreams."
First place: George Makso from IES Umeå. Poem: "Life is Not a Dream."
Runner up: From IES Falun, would prefer not to be named.
First place: Louise Berntsson from IES Uppsala. "The Girl on the Boat."
Runner up: Emma Hansson from IES Umeå. "A Single White Flower.”