On September 5, 2023, Robert College opened its doors for the 160th time with an uplifting Opening Ceremony. Turkish director Nilhan Çetinyamaç and Head of School Adam Oliver gave a joint speech to kick off the 2023-24 academic year.
This year's faculty speeches were delivered by Headmasters Award recipient Allison Finn and Jane Page Award recipient Neşe Yıldırım,
Finn shared these inspiring words; "After this ceremony, we will go back to our classrooms and we will engage in the work of learning. We might think of learning as a solitary, individual task. After all, you each came into RC on your own, having navigated the maze of the LGS to achieve the highest award. And you enter these RC classrooms as whole people - with unique voices and perspectives, individual cultures and belief systems, varied experiences that inform the way you see and engage in this world. You already know so much.This year, then, I want to challenge all of us to find - or to refind - the joy of NOT knowing something. To delight in listening to experiences other than our own. To get lost in the maze of fascinating research. To wander in awe and wonder at the majesty of this campus, reconnecting to nature, to each other, but most importantly - most formatively - to ourselves. To renew our confidence in our individual and collective brilliance."
After her speech, Yıldırım concluded with the following words: "When I ask myself why I have been teaching for 28 years, the answer is shopping. Not regular shopping :) Being in the classroom, being with you, learning from you...I hope you learn from me as much as I learn from you.All this is why I remained a teacher for 28 years.Whatever you do in life, do it with passion, with love.If you can't do whatever you do with passion and love, find something you can hold onto with passion and love.Life will present it to you."
The ceremony proceeded with a speech from Student Council President, who expressed, “Now on the 100th year of Turkish Republic, I wish all of you an academic year and a future, enriched with the opportunities you have, filled with curiosity, creativity, and compassion.”
Finally, Adam Oliver and Nilhan Çetinyamaç conveyed their hopes and aspirations for the upcoming academic year as “We thought about what we’d like your year to be…The lighting of a fire inside-not the filling of a bucket,The discovery of a passion-not the dreariness of dull repetition, The sharing of warm laughter-not the spite of scorn and mockery, The unearthing of truth-from the wastelands of fake news, The carving out of new questions-not repeating worn-out answers, The forwards journey of personal growth-not the backwards decline of diminishment, Action and engagement with the challenges facing our unique planet-not passivity, pessimism and apathy, Genuine curiosity about others and the world-not disinterest and disdain.Be all these positives, as much as you can.”