Around 580 students from 29 different regions in Lebanon (North, South, Bekaa, Beirut and other areas) participated in the Graduation Ceremony.
The Access 10 Graduation event started with a brief welcome by AMIDEAST Country Director Barbara Batlouni, followed by the Lebanese and American national anthems. The U.S. Ambassador Elizabeth H. Richard congratulated the students for their hard work and explained the importance of English language for future development. Each class was then presented with their graduation certificates, personally signed by the Ambassador, and took a group photo. The Access 10 teachers were then recognized with certificates of appreciation and took a group photo with the Ambassador.
Newly graduated Access alumni spoke about their recent achievements. Loubaba Wazir (Qobbe) attended the Yale Youth Scholarship Program. Raneem Diab (Sarafand) and Salwa Al Khatib (Beirut) spoke about their participation in Quanta 2016 debate in India. Access Alumna and LAU USP Program Officer Wissal El Chaaban addressed the students about the USAID USP Scholarship. She encouraged them all to apply and hopefully get accepted to this life changing program as she had in the past. Fidaa Al Fakih the U.S. Embassy Alumni Coordinator informed the students about that Lebanese State Alumni Association and invited the students to apply to the LSAC. He distributed to them an alumni registration card. Fidaa also introduced the Access Alumni committee members present – Jhonny Yaacoub, Reem Bazzal and Eliane Aoun. Public Affairs Officer Alan Holst and Assistant Cultural Affairs Edith Bitar were introduced. They congratulated the students on their completion of the program.
Thereafter, special recognition was given to the top scoring student in each class who received a certificate of award and the book 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens. Forty-five students received certificates of award for perfect attendance after completing 400/400 hours in the Program. Four students received a Becoming a Master Students book for achieving a perfect score (900/900 on the exit TOEFL Junior test. Five classes were recognized for their community service projects (the list is below). The event ended with students enjoying a celebratory lunch and the chance to visit with the friends they had met from other villages nationwide during their two-year Access journey. The event finished with traditional Lebanese dabkeh.