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Throughout the years of adolescence, when we are at our most vulnerable state, when we are still struggling to reconcile ourselves to the adult world, there are a few who stand by us and help us through our moments of uncertainty. These people can be anyone-a friend, a parent, a sibling, a priest, a teacher.
Today is a special day. Today, we recognise the great sacrifices that our teachers have made for us, and today we commemorate those who have taken up the task of educating us, and guiding us through life itself. Today, we honour our teachers, all of you who have in one way or another, played a part in the shaping of who we are and who we are yet to be.
A teacher is more than an educator. A teacher can play all roles-the roles of a friend, counsellor or mentor. A teacher can be the guiding force in our lives even after we pass through the portals of our school and step into the world that lies ahead to be conquered.
In these years of our youth and adolescence, when the friends we make are likely to be the friends we keep, it is our teachers who guide us on our path. When we fall, more often than not, it is a teacher who picks us up, dusts us off and gets us back on our feet. When sorrow comes our way, and all who surround us can offer no solace, it is not uncommon for a teacher to lend us a shoulder to cry on.
How many of us have gone to a teacher for help? I can assure you today that all of us have at one point or another, sought a teacher's help, be it help with homework, or help with a difficult situation at hand. How many of us have been comforted by a teacher in moments of distress? How many have received good counsel from a teacher, or had a teacher listen to our problems?
Today we, the students of IJ, would like to honour you, our teachers, for all that you have done for us. You have always been there when we needed you most. You have never failed us in any way. You have accepted our failings with good humour. You have always forgiven us our many wrongs. You have never turned away anyone who sought your help. You have never begrudged us your grey hairs. Today, we honour you for the wonderful people that you have been, that you are, that you always will be. Today we can say that although we may be aggravating at times, perhaps even many times, we appreciate you for who you are.
You have been all things to us. You have been a friend, a counsellor, a mentor, a guide, an educator. You have shown us by example the way to lead our lives as we continue to tread the roads of our lives. You have given us your love, and we could not ask for more.
You have been our teachers