Speech by the Maltese President His Excellency George Vella on the De La Salle Graduation, 11th April 2019

Brother Director

Ladies and Gentlemen

Dear Students

It is indeed a pleasure for me to be here today to share with you this graduation ceremony.

Allow me to thank Brother Director for having invited me.

I honestly wish you could experience my emotions returning to this college which I formally left in 1956, in my present position, after all these years.

Incidentally, it is also the 300th anniversary, almost to the day, of the death of the founder of the ‘Frêver des écoles chrétiennes’, St John Baptist de la Salle.

It was him that preached that education brings hope and opportunity to people to live a better life in dignity and freedom.

Nothing can be more true.

Without education there are little prospects of a better life.

This is why your parents entrusted you in the hands of the Brothers of de La Salle.

I am sure that all of you, more so those that have spent your secondary and post-secondary education in this college, do realise that you are now different persons from the ones you were when you started. Not only as regards age, but as regards maturity.

You are now ending your scholastic life to move on hopefully to institutions of higher learning.

This means saying goodbye to your teachers. I hope this will be more of an au revoir than a goodbye.

While your sight should now be towards your future, do keep a place in your heart for memories of your de La Salle years.

This is not pure nostalgia. This is formative.

I value that many of you will have mixed emotions and apprehensions as to what the future holds for each and every one of you.

None of us has a crystal ball, however I strongly believe that whatever the circumstances, if you make full use of the principle and the ethical and moral values, which I am sure were injected in to you in your formative years in this college, life will be much easier.

Cherish these values. Circumstances change, but principles and moral and ethical values are much more permanent.

None of us can navigate through life without a moral compass.

I am sure that it is not only you that will miss your carefree happy days in the college.

Your teachers will miss you too.

Teachers like Brother Edward are still nurturing generations of students they saw passing through their classes.

Please join me in expressing our heartfelt thanks to your teachers who I am sure did all they could whilst you were in their care to give you the best education possible.

From now on you are ambassadors of de La Salle.

The name of the college will rise and fall with your achievements, or God forbid, your lack of them.

You are venturing in a world which is constantly changing. Where nothing stays still. Where there has to be constant and continuous education to keep up with developments.

There are opportunities out there, which were not available a few years ago.

There are challenges out there for you to take with the vigour and the energy you enjoy in your youth.

I wish you all a prosperous future.

I wish you achieve greater highs.

I wish that throughout your journey in your life you will be accompanied all the time by a sense of fulfilment and of dedication to whatever task you undertake.