20 Messages for the Class of 2020 from 20 ASP Alumni around the world
Our beloved Class of 2020 has shown their grit, determination, and strength of spirit during this unusual springtime. Our alumni, trustees, and past parents have come together to celebrate our graduating seniors with their words of wisdom and welcome into the alumni community. No matter how far your paths may lead you from Paris, you will always have an academic home at ASP!
Congratulations, Class of 2020, we are so proud of you!
Peter Barnet '61
ASP Board of Trustees, University Professor
"Dear 2020, you shall be remembered as the resilient class. Welcome to the ASP alumni; we embrace you with pride and respect."
Sieste Goffard '11
Public Policy Masters Degree Candidate, Harvard Kennedy School
"Congratulations, ASP Class of 2020!! You have been thrown so many unexpected challenges this year, but in true Rebel spirit you persevered and emerged stronger than ever. As you go forth and navigate these uncertain times, stay positive – even in the darkest moments, there are rays of hope. Cherish your family and close friends. And as much as possible, use your education and privilege in society to help others. Our world feels incredibly broken right now, but your creativity, knowledge, and passion can help make it better and fairer. Continue stepping up to lead and serve whenever you can. Congratulations again! I have so much respect and admiration for you. "
Rosanne Zanvliet '11
"ASP will contribute to your education and your life without a doubt, cherish these memories and these friends forever! No matter how much you or your life may change, stay motivated, stay unique, and stay true to yourself, this is just the beginning! Whether you're graduating in 2011, like me, or in 2020, your high school experience will be a big part of your life forever. Your year is especially unique, you will remember this time for the rest of your life. Congratulations on your accomplishment!"
David Pendery '68
Photographer, Gardener, Architect
"It is a pleasure to participate in the commencement of ASP 2020, although from afar, unfortunately. The year of my graduation from ASP was the first that the school held on its “new” campus in Saint-Cloud: 1968. It took place in the unrenovated “auditorium”, where your beautiful performance center is now located. We were lucky it took place at all, because 1968 and 2020 have something unique in common. Both France and the United States were in the midst of great turmoil. Public services were disrupted. There was difficulty for the average person to go out and do the normal activities of life. I can’t remember if the ASP Prom was cancelled or not (it was held on the Eiffel Tower in those days!) The Rice University historian, Douglas Brinkley, recently wrote, “This will be a year that lives in the history books… Not since 1968 have things been so decision-fraught. We are going to have to decide what kind of people we are going to be.” Challenges and change can rise unexpectedly. The power of something small (a local Chinese food virus, or a minor Paris manif) can become large and widely disruptive. From these events can spring significant change. Sometimes the effects are durable; sometimes the battles continue for decades, as we now see in the continuing American struggle for civil rights. When you talk about the year of your graduation in the future, no one will fumble to remember what was happening that year. You are the ones who will help decide what kind of people we all will be."
Tim Plump '15
Engineer, Boston Dynamics
"Congratulations, ASP Class of 2020 on all of your amazing accomplishments! Graduating an international high school is no easy feat, let alone in the midst of a global pandemic--and yet, here you are. That is something to take pride in, and nobody can take it away from you. Cherish this feeling of accomplishment and remember how achievable things became when you worked hard. Take some time off and look at how far you've come in the last 5 years. And more importantly, what's up next."
Peggy Leong '62
Research Biologist, Acupuncturist
"Congratulations on your graduation, ASP 2020!! Although your paths may diverge greatly through the years, absolutely stay in touch with your classmates, with whom you share so many special memories. You are now members of the world-wide network of ASP Alums! Welcome from an ASP '62 "oldie but goodie"
Naz Panahi '91
Asset Manager and Philanthropist
"Congratulations to the class of 2020! Go out there and make that positive difference in the world, your way, your style!"
James L Jones '61
General, US Marines (Ret),
Former National Advisor to President Obama
"To the Class of 2020,
Congratulations on your graduation from the American School of Paris. One thing is certain; you will all discover what a great experience you have had in being fortunate to attend this great school. That appreciation will only grow in time as you navigate through the years and the challenges and opportunities you will experience along the way. My first bit of advice is to encourage you to stay connected from this point on. The day will come when you will wish you had done so.
The American School of Paris, with its culturally diverse student body and faculty prepares you for “global citizenship” (and responsibilities) that will stay with you forever. Your exposure to the events of our time, by virtue of your geographical location, has allowed you to watch and understand why it is that different nations, and cultures, can look at the exact same event and come up with a completely different conclusion regarding what to do about it.
During my lifetime, I have learned that being a good listener before becoming a good talker is key to arriving at a good solution to most problems.
For those of you that might be seeking a future in public service, I encourage you to do so. You will find that calling to be very worthwhile.
Best of luck to each of you, and welcome to the ASP Alumni!"
Rodney Ingram '10
Broadway and Television Actor
"To the tune of High School Musical: We‘re all in this together. Both as ASP alums, and as humans living in the world right now. The world needs you exactly as you are with your unique voice to lead with courage, humility and empathy. Congratulations, class of 2020! You really did that."
Ousman Jobe '91
Corporate Public Policy Manager, LinkedIn
"Congratulations class of 2020! You are joining a global network of leaders, philanthropists and creative thinkers. The many lessons I learned at ASP still impact how I work, live and approach relationships to this day. I hope we can continue to remain connected on LinkedIn, the world's largest professional network. With almost 700 million members, 50 million companies and 90 thousand schools, this is where professionals come to to advance their careers. Please join me and over 2,000 ASP alums in staying in touch way after you leave Saint - Cloud."
Shayan Sanyal '93
Corporate Head of Business Development, Amazon Web Services
"It's been 27 years since I graduated ASP ('93). Today, I truly hope that you can look back, as I have done recently, and realize that what you got here, wasn't just an education, or a ticket to college. You developed an openness of mind, of heart, and an ability to empathize with others, regardless of race, color, creed, religion or gender preference. You will have developed critical thinking, and will have learned to stand up for your beliefs. I hope that this above all, is what you will carry with you as you venture out into the world. Especially now, in this time, in this era, where your international spirit and humanity will count the most. You are truly a global citizen. We are counting on you. Make us proud."
Francesca Zambello '74
Theater and Opera Director, National Opera, Washington DC
"Hello, I am Francesca Zambello, class of ASP ’74, now I am the Artistic Director of the Washington National Opera at the Kennedy Center and the General Director of The Glimmerglass Festival. I am writing you from my home in Cooperstown, New York. I spent five years in Paris growing up and they were live changing, I hope it was for you as well. Now, it is my honor to offer you congratulations on your graduation day and for all the accomplishments leading up to this moment. With your world class education and experiences from the American School of Paris, you enter society as high-caliber individuals, more equipped than many to truly understand and to face the challenges of the “new normal" regardless of your path. In this school and by living in France, you were given something richer and deeper than many people experience in their whole lives—I hope it includes the empathy, compassion and open mindedness it takes to be a true contributor to the world and the issues we must overcome. I wait with great anticipation to see and hear what you each offer to society."
Alexandre Bossoni '86, P'18
ASP Board of Trustees, Real Estate Developer
"Félicitations Class of 2020! Vous faites partie maintenant d'un réseau d'alumni unique au monde dont le coeur est Paris. Bienvenu!"
Ardavan Amir-Aslani '82
"Always remember never to take no as an answer and that success is only about perseverance."
Tomas Leijtens '07
Co-founder, CTO, Swift Solar
"Congratulations to you all on your graduation! Although this might not have been the senior year you had envisioned, I hope that you will look back on your years at ASP with joy, as I do, and will stay in touch with your diverse group of friends over the years. You are lucky to have met people from around the world, learn about different cultures, become open minded, and receive an excellent academic education. Understand that this is a privilege and provides you with great opportunities as you move forward in life - I hope you use these to give back to a world faced with many global crises. As many of you go on to university educations, I encourage you to find topics that inspire you (my mission has been fighting climate change) and take advantage of the networks, clubs, and experts available to you outside of the classroom to help you make an impact. Go forth and prosper!"
Pauline Kress '13
Engineer, General Motors
"Dear Graduating Class of 2020,Congratulations! You have many reasons to be proud of your accomplishments, not least of which is persisting through this last semester. What you've lost in moments and memories you've gained in perseverance and strength. Your graduating class is unique, because you are heading into a new world that will be vastly different from the one we lived in before. I am confident that the skills and talents you developed at ASP will be put to great use as you become leaders in society and agents of change. We need your vision, energy and hope! My advice to you: be bold, and challenge yourself to never stop learning."
Carlos Legarda '89
"Dear Graduating class of 2020. Congratulations! You have graduated during one of the most challenging times in history as far as I can remember. When I studied at ASP we had to contend with flooding, bomb threats, and a fire. That all seems insignificant now in the face of the current pandemic. A pandemic that the world needs to work together to bring under control. Your experience at ASP will have equipped you to be discerning, inquisitive, and inclusive. Being the global citizens that you are confers upon you the responsibility to be respectful of other cultures and mindful of how your actions or inactions affect others. Be the change you want to see in the world and it will definitely be a better place to live in."
Tomek Ulatowski P' 07, 09, 13
Former ASP Board of Trustees; Banker, Investment Manager
"We are like a low lying island surrounded by rising stormy seas. What to do : leave,stay, build defences?
First, learn why the sea is rising , try to understand the science behind and the objective truths. Separate dogma or propaganda from the scientific facts.
Second , look past the horizon and use your mind in caring for the suffering, with empathy and respect. You are not alone in this world.
Try to change for the better but start with yourself. Be more aware what impact you are making on the world: in consuming, in respecting less fortunate, in compassion for others. Follow constructive criticism but not negativism. Look for goodness and respect in all living creatures. Remember we have one planet which we need to pass on to the next generations."
Kira Laura Ferrand '72
ASPF Board Member, Kinesiologist
"Welcome on board Class of 2020! My time in Paris and indeed ASP are woven into a major part of every aspect of the tapestry of my life. Growing up an expat deeply enriches every fiber of daily living and as a result of living in Paris, I continue to relish the expat life, proudly honing my French language skills..and making a yearly pilgrimage to Paris..."
Candice Parise '05
Musical Theater Actress
"Dear future graduates. As we know, the past few months have been a bit different to a normal school year and you might feel disappointed or sad to leave in this different, yet « special » way. Keep in mind that the best is yet to come. A new year full of dreams to pursue and new projects to achieve. Be passionate and enthusiastic in each and everyone of your moves and never forget your final goals. Be inspired, determined and positive. Life is a fantastic adventure! » ‘Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today’ – Malcolm X"
A Vibrant Alumni Community
As our students graduate and set off on a new adventure, we welcome them as a member of the ASP alumni community, enjoying special bonds with over 18,000 alumni across the globe, with solid representation in almost every professional realm.
- asp alumni office