Head of School, Brandie Smith – 30th Anniversary Gala Dinner Speech

It is my great pleasure to welcome you all to this momentous evening, to this celebration of thirty years of excellence at Leipzig International School.

It’s really exciting to look around and see this gathering of individuals and representatives from all the organisations who have played a part in the founding and continued existence of the school.

Our motto this school year is Once a Lion, Always a Lion.

The people sitting in this room are all lions. You and the organisations you represent have had a positive impact on the growth and development of Leipzig International School.

I would like to extend a special welcome to a few of these lions:

From the US Consulate

Consul General Ken Toko

From the State of Saxony

Head of the State Ministry for Education and Culture – Wilfreed Kühner

Member of State Parliament – Holger Gasse

President of the State Office for Schools and Education – Ralf Berger

From the City of Leipzig

Head of the Office for International Cooperation – Gabrielle Goldfuß
Director of the Office for Schools – Peter Hirschman

From the Stiftung International Education Leipzig

Our esteemed Board Members: Chairman Elio Curti, Patrik Fahrenkamp and Axel Möring

Former Founding Stiftung Members

Former Heads of Leipzig International School

We’d also like to welcome the entire team of learning leaders, educational and administrative staff – past and present – of Leipzig International School and Leipzig International Kindergarten, who work tirelessly to help us fulfil our vision of learning to be a citizen of the world.

Welcome to all of our learning community members including partners, parents and friends of LIS.

And last but not least the reason we are all here – our students and alumni!

I invite you to image – three learners and their teacher eating breakfast together around a cardboard box while construction workers still finish renovations around them. This is Leipzig International School in 1992.
Elke Urban – a teacher who protested for education free of ideology prior to 1989 – and Todd Becker – the first US Consul General in Leipzig, after the reunification of Germany – were the courageous visionaries, who conceived the idea of an international school here in Leipzig – in this time of tremendous change and uncertainty. Todd Becker himself stated: “LIS was founded on a dream, nourished by hope, faith, determination and a spirit of sacrifice and cooperation.”

First Day of LIS 1992 – Eating Breakfast while construction finishes around them.
Than Mai Vuong, Julia and Therese Pauselius and teacher Jame Penson in the Kirschbergstrasse Campus.

This image is an artifact that encapsulates their belief in their vision and their determination to overcome the incredible number of obstacles to open the doors of Leipzig International School.

We are here tonight to honour our incredible past and the organisations and people who have helped shape and continue to impact our school.

Nothing is possible without people’s visions and nothing is lasting without the foundational support of organisations. None of us sitting in this room this evening were present when the idea of Leipzig International School was born. What all of us here have in common is the shared experience of Leipzig International School. This shared experience is what connects us and allows us to identify with the motto Once a Lion, Always a Lion.

Tonight, we celebrate the incredible journey LIS has had over the past 30 years. We are probably one of the only schools in the world to have such an incredible history. To have been part of this unique moment in time. This experience has had a lasting impact on the school and is visible today in our school values. While visiting recently, Todd Becker expressed deep appreciation for how connected these values are to the founding vision of Leipzig International School. 

We have the courage to listen, empathise, persist, follow our passions, and grow.

We have the courage of our convictions knowing that we are members of a supportive and respectful learning community.

Lions are INCLUSIVE:

We embrace diversity by celebrating our common humanity, empowering all learners on their personal journeys of growth.

Lions are PROUD:

We recognise the unique opportunity we have as members of the LIS community and we enthusiastically embrace our responsibility to make a positive impact on ourselves, each other, and the world.

It is my pleasure to welcome you all this evening as we proudly celebrate this courageous vision and thirty years of inclusive education at Leipzig International School.

We’ve put together a montage to look back at some of the highlights from the past three decades. We hope you enjoy this as much as we enjoyed making it.

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