30 December 2009 Excellence as usual at ORT Argentina ORT Argentina has ended the year on a high note, with a magnificent ceremony for 789 graduates. Some 4,500 filled the Luna Park Stadium in Buenos Aires. They included students and their families, staff, and special guests including representatives of the capitals Ministry of Education, senior representatives of the Jewish community, and representatives of Christian churches whose schools cooperate with ORT Argentina on educational projects. A celebration of excellence: the crowd at ORT Argentinas graduation ceremony Although slightly smaller than last years record graduation class of 802, this years graduates have attained similarly high standards. The students had very good results and we expect more than 95 per cent of them to continue their education at university level, said Luis Perez, the Head of ORT Argentinas International Liaison Department. These are very good figures but for us they are nothing special: they are consistent with the results attained over the last five years. And among the high achieving students have been some exceptional ones, such as Sebastian Vishnopolska, who graduated from the chemistry track at the Almagro High School. He qualified to join the team representing Argentina at the 20th International Biology Olympiad in Tsukuba, Japan no mean feat in itself. However, despite stiff competition posed by 221 contestants from 56 countries, he went on to win a bronze medal the only member of the Argentine delegation to make the podium. Such results go a long way to explaining why there is such great demand among parents to find a place for their children at ORT Argentinas Belgrano and Almagro high schools. And once the ultra-modern science and technology centre is completed in December 2010 many more of those students will be accommodated. The four-storey centre, partly funded by World ORT, will provide a dazzling array of superbly equipped laboratories and interactive multimedia classrooms catering providing cutting edge facilities for students of traditional sciences as well as mechatronics, mathematics, design, architecture and media. In addition, its construction will free up much needed space at the heavily oversubscribed Almagro High School. Once it is finished enrolment can increase and we will go on to beat last years record graduation class, Mr Perez said. The graduation ceremony was a magnificent spectacle with two huge screens displaying the events on the stage so that even those seated at the back could enjoy them from the lighting of the Chanukah menorah to the closing performance of John Lennons Imagine by the schools junior choir. ORT Argentina President Dr Hector Rosenzvit addressed the crowd, reminding them of the proud heritage which had culminated in the opportunities opened up to ORTs graduates the efforts and achievements of generations of Jewish immigrants from the Russian Jews brought to work the land in 1890 onwards combined with the founding of ORT Argentina in 1936 56 years after Jews in St Petersburg had founded the education and vocational training organisation and its development into a world class provider of quality education. You are the descendants of those long and important traditions, Dr Rosenzvit told the graduates. You are the heirs to the pioneers who worked the land, the heirs to the ORT schools that we have been shaping with the support of the community, of the teachers and of all the students. I think you must be especially proud of both lines of inheritance. We should like to be proud and I am sure we will be proud of the contribution you will make for Argentina and for the community as a whole. World ORT Treasurer Judy Menikoff also addressed the ceremony noting how ORT Argentina had given its students a strong connection to their Jewish roots as well as the intellectual wings to fly high. Your graduating class, like the classes that came before you, can be proud of your legacy, a link between generations building a future worthy of your heritage and worthy of the opportunities your education has provided, Ms Menikoff said. Your graduating class is the sum total of your experiences the sum of your imaginations, work, values and traditions. You share a memory and a history. But as individuals you are unique. I know that the education you received at ORT has given you wings the wings to soar to become whatever your hearts, minds and capabilities will allow.