Nana Oteng Koranteng, the second, Nananom, the President of the University, Dr Patrick Awuah, the other university executives, the guest speaker, Mr. Kofi Appenteng, our lovely parents, family, and friends gathered here, those unavoidably absent, and the graduating class of 2023: I greet you all. My name is Christabel Kuwornu-Adjaottor, and I am honoured to be the voice for this exquisite class, to say the least.

By the beaming smiles you see today, it is evident that we have waited for this day for so long. The idea that “it is not over, until it’s over” is one that Ashesi students know well; but I believe we will all finally be able to let out that sigh of relief as we come to a milestone in a journey that has not been easy. We have worked hard and come a long way in the past four years, and it is fitting that the only thing we feel right now is extreme excitement and pride for persisting. Today, all those who have had graduation TikTok sounds and drafts saved can use them. In case you missed it, the hashtag is #Ashesi2023.

It feels like just yesterday when we got that email titled "WELCOME TO THE ASHESI CLASS OF 2023”, from the admissions team. I didn't even know how to feel because I didn't know what to expect. I remember the very first class, which was an 8am calculus class. Some of us went to the Calculus I class because it ensured that we wouldn’t have to take the extra Applied Calculus class. But halfway through that class JoeMens managed to send Chasya, Flavian, Chantel, Mabel, Noelle, Blessing, I, and many others to the pre-calculus 1 class because of the things we were seeing on the board. That was our first lesson: at Ashesi, there are no shortcuts.

We have all cried at some point because of that “Hello World” code from Introduction to Computing that did not want to say hello to you too. Nonetheless, while some of us were struggling to understand programming languages, Elijah Boateng was already building systems like the peer tutors booking app, Target GPA calculator and, with a team of other students, built a current voting system for the student council; while Ebenezer Amoah was working on an artificial intelligence framework which identifies and classifies smishing messages.

Courses like embedded systems had our engineers getting scores like the beginning of my phone number: 0,2,0,1. Our computer scientists who took Robert Sowah’s computer organization and architecture (COA) class, we hope you have healed from the grades you got. For that statistics code that did not want to knit into the Word document because one line of code had a comma that wasn't supposed to be there; we hope the comma is in a coma now.

Just like Liverpool, we never walked alone. For many of us coming from religious homes, Ashesi helped us deepen our faith: because Heaven knows that our being here today is not by strength or by might. Can I get an amen, Class of 2023?

We were all here, ready and pumped for our first Student Council week dubbed ‘Astro World’ when we received an email that campus was being closed because of a global pandemic. In a split second, everything changed, and staying indoors was our new lifestyle. I used to pray that we would not have our graduation online, like the class of 2020 and the class of 2021 (sorry oh). The way the University community adjusted through the pandemic taught us that it was possible to grow and thrive even in seemingly dark times. We learned that if we held on long enough and acted with the faith that it was possible to move past difficult periods, we could ultimately emerge stronger. Sitting here today, not wearing masks, and carrying gallons of hand sanitiser, still feels like a dream.

Coming back on campus in 2021, after a year and five months, helped us appreciate each other and our talents even more. Our Berekuso Celine Dion, Emly, who has performed during many school events ever since the class discovered her, thank you. This class has over 17 active entrepreneurs, such as Benjamin Nkansah (who owns ChopBox) and the founders of Nektar who provided us with food when we were hungry. Our own entertainment minister Ato Sekyi, who organized parties for us on Friday nights, now owns a bar. Michael Ofori, who sold anything and everything from nose masks to phone accessories; Beryl Bempong's Snapchat story (I’d like to call it the Berekuso Broadcasting Corporation-BBC), because it had any information you may have been looking for.

To the class of 2023’s footballers, thank you for teaching faculty and staff during this semester’s games that when it comes to football and scoring goals, we are the teachers. To the all-time top female goal scorer, the Greatest of all times, Emmanuella Andam, we salute you! And to those of you who took the place of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, are your parents aware of your relationships, or will you explain to them after the program? Some people even came to Ashesi and found backbones. For those of us who didn't find backbones, let's graduate quietly with our back pains.

The Steph Curry, Michael Jordan, and LeBron James of the class of 2023, who destroyed the basketball rims not only in this school but at Lancaster University, Papa Kwame Ofori Asante, Harry Lamptey, and Prince Yeboah, keep up the good work! We had one of the greatest coaches of all time, Sir Alex Ferguson, come in the person of Papa Kofi Baiden, who won both the Ashesi Premier League and Ashesi Champions League in one season. Not forgetting the diving saves of Evans Ghansah that won us the interclass trophies, not once but twice. I would miss the most fun day of the ASC week (crazy day) especially Aseda, Ayeyi, Maxwell, Tsatsu and Amenoraking, who gave us the ‘Men in Black’ theme this year accompanied by a Tiktok video none of us expected. It wasn’t until Ubora 2022 that I discovered Peaky Blinders had a branch or franchise in Berekuso that is into Latin quotes.

There is one thing that Dr. Millicent Adjei said to us during the seniors' lunch that I would like to remind us of. Class of 2023; Don’t forget to thank whoever made this 4-year journey possible. When I sent the graduation bill to my dad, he said “mo last aa nono” (this is your last chance) because I knew daddy had already psyched his mind in January that he was done paying school fees. To our parents, from the bottom of our hearts, thank you very much for your provision these past four years. Even when times were hard, you still came through for us and it is our turn to come through for you. Thank you to Ashesi’s staff and faculty for teaching us and giving us space to learn and grow. We made many mistakes, but you often gave us permission to make more and learn from them. Thank you!

Class of 2023, we have all done our best. We are graduating with skills to move forward in life and into the world. We should use every opportunity that comes your way to its maximum capacity. It is better to do something right now and be sorry that you did it, than be sorry later that you did not even try. Let us add value to ourselves. If there is something you're passionate about, please do it! Go for it! Everywhere you find yourself, make sure you leave a valuable mark there. Most importantly, let people remember you for your scholarship, leadership, and citizenship - at work, at home, and wherever you may find yourself.

My people, after 19 billion quizzes and 1500 assignments, we are closing one more chapter today; so, we want the whole world to know that the class of 2023 is unavailable for any form of academic work until further notice!

Congratulations, Class of 2023! We did it.