Graduation Ceremony for the Class of 2013

Oct. 22, 2013 – Tuesday was a day that’s been in the making for nearly a decade. While most Cambodian schools don’t have a graduation ceremony to celebrate the outgoing class, Cambodian Children’s Fund organized one of its own to mark the occasion. The event was lighter than the typical Western graduations, with lots of laughter and thank-yous. CCF had a 100 percent pass rate for the national exams, and all 30 college-bound students were offered an opportunity to share with the crowd.

“I’m very happy I was a kid in CCF, but now I’m not a kid,” said Tevy.

Indeed, these young adults are now embarking for things that seemed impossible just a few years ago.

For CCF founder and executive director Scott Neeson, this day has been a long time coming as the organization was started almost ten years ago. The goal was to provide a better life for children and their families in difficult situations. At the time it was a dream, and now it’s become tangible.

“I remember very distinctly the first time I met all of you. I remember what we talked about. I remember what you wanted to study,” Neeson told the students. “Here we are, years later. I couldn’t be more happy. I couldn’t be more proud.”

As students took the stage to speak – first in English and then in Khmer – they reflected on the ways their lives have changed in the past few years.

“For nine years [at CCF], I received a lot of experience and made a lot of friends. I received an education,” said Lim. He received a full scholarship to attend university and will be studying media and communications.

Other students said at that they’re exactly where they want to be at their age.

“I’ve always wanted to stand on this stage,” said Seyha, with a microphone in hand.

The ceremonies included an original song written by a CCF student, speeches by proud parents and a lunch to cap off the celebration.

Next year, CCF is expected to have more than 100 students enrolled in universities. Help provide higher education to these students by contributing to the University Fund

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