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Alive and Well: Ecolint's Student Number One

mardi, 3 octobre 2017   (0 Comments)
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Under the unmistakable light of the Geneva autumn sun, hundreds of students gathered in the Greek Theatre for their Monday morning assembly. In the context of a month dedicated to peace-building, they had already heard from people like Patrick Chapatte, a famous cartoonist, and Julian Boel, who uses theatre to promote radical social change.

This late September morning, students were in for a surprise; they listened attentively as English teacher and Foundation archivist Mr. Rodríguez-Giovo introduced the special guest:

Our school is the world’s most famous international school – the school that created the idealistic International Baccalaureate. It is the world’s largest international school: 4,500 students, 1,200 employees, including some 700 teachers, around 40,000 alumni living all over the world. Our school is the most truly international of the world’s international school’s, with a record 145 nationalities and about 90 mother tongues.

As if all this were not enough, Ecolint is also the world’s oldest international school.

And with whom did it all begin? 

It all began with a sweet little six-year-old girl, who in our famous first-day-of-school photograph is sitting in the foreground, dangling her legs and shading her eyes from the sun. On the 17th September 1924, the name of that little girl was the very first one entered in our school’s original handwritten register – which I keep safely locked away in a display cabinet in the Archives – so she was officially Ecolint’s student number one. 

After graduating from Ecolint, she went on to study abroad and dedicated much of her life to humanitarian work. Wherever she went, she took with her the spirit of our school – a spirit of compassion, of tolerance, of respect for every human life – always trying to make the world a better place, as well as she was able. As the decades went by, and despite her natural modesty, she was increasingly regarded as the soul of Ecolint, the conscience of a school that had become so big and important, that it was sometimes in danger of overlooking its core values.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have her here with us today, that little girl who was our school’s very first student, 93 years ago? 

Wouldn’t that be amazing?

Well, feel free to be amazed – she is here! Dear students and colleagues and friends of Ecolint, I’m honoured and thrilled to be able to present to you today a living legend, Loïs Meyhoffer, Ecolint’s student number one!”

Queue the collective gasp across the Greek Theatre.

After the applause died down (it took a while), Loïs Meyhoffer, addressed her young audience – quietly, sat on her chair, an aura of wisdom around her. She encouraged students to continue working towards peace, and to always be helping others while learning. 

At the close of the assembly, several students lined up for an opportunity to meet Loïs, shake her hand, and thank her for her words. It’s not every day you get to meet the first student who ever attended your school, some 93 years ago!


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