The recent graduation ceremonies at ACS Athens celebrated the achievements and bright futures of students with inspirational keynote speeches from two distinguished speakers: Tom Mustin and Steve Vranakis. Both speakers, hailing from diverse professional backgrounds, delivered powerful messages filled with guidance, encouragement, and thought-provoking ideas. Their speeches underscored the importance of purpose, resilience, and passion in navigating the journey ahead.

Tom Mustin: Resilience and Passion

Tom Mustin
Tom Mustin, a multi-Emmy-winning TV news anchor and proud ACS Athens alum, addressed the Academy Commencement Ceremony with a heartfelt and motivational speech. Drawing from his personal journey, which includes diverse experiences in acting and journalism, Mustin shared five key lessons with the graduates, emphasizing resilience, passion, and the courage to pursue dreams.

"Dare to be great. Find out what you love and pursue it with passion,"

Mustin advised, encouraging students to follow their passions regardless of the obstacles they might face. His own career trajectory, from aspiring pro-football player to successful news anchor, exemplified the importance of adaptability and perseverance. "It's okay to change direction," he reassured the students, sharing how he navigated career shifts and embraced new opportunities.

Mustin's emphasis on the value of failure as a stepping stone to success was particularly poignant. "If you want to achieve your dreams, don't be afraid to fail," he stated, drawing parallels with the famous perseverance of athletes and innovators. He also highlighted the importance of hard work and accountability, encouraging students to "check [their] excuses at the door" and strive for excellence in all endeavors.

The emotional core of Mustin's speech was his call to live without regrets. "Don't live your life with regrets. Figure out what you want to do and go for it," he implored, urging the graduates to seize every opportunity and pursue their goals with unwavering determination.

Steve Vranakis: Purpose, Challenge, and Impact

Steve Vranakis
Steve Vranakis, an award-winning professional and innovator, addressed the Middle School Graduation Ceremony, with a speech that resonated deeply with the audience. Drawing from his extensive experience working with tech giants like Google and influential projects such as the launch of the iPhone, Vranakis emphasized the transformative power of purpose and the necessity of continual self-challenge.

"Find your purpose, always challenge yourself, and make an outsized impact,"

Vranakis urged the graduates, highlighting the pivotal role these elements play in achieving personal and professional fulfillment. He encouraged the students to embrace the exciting yet daunting era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, a time marked by rapid advancements in AI, space exploration, and biotechnology. "What an incredible time to be alive and what an incredibly difficult time to be alive," he noted, stressing the dual nature of contemporary challenges and opportunities.

Vranakis passionately spoke about the significance of making a difference, whether through innovative contributions or by addressing global issues such as climate change and inequality. His three guiding principles—Purpose, Challenge, and Impact—served as a roadmap for the graduates, encouraging them to discover their unique paths, embrace risks, and strive for significant contributions.

A Unified Message of Hope and Determination

Both speakers brought unique perspectives and experiences to their speeches, yet their messages converged on common themes of hope, determination, and the pursuit of excellence. Tom Mustin's lessons on resilience and passion, combined with Steve Vranakis' focus on purpose and impact, provided the graduates with a comprehensive framework for approaching their futures.

As these graduates embark on their next chapters, the words of Mustin and Vranakis will undoubtedly serve as guiding beacons, reminding them to embrace challenges, seek purpose, and make impactful contributions to the world. The ACS Athens community can take pride in the accomplishments of these speakers and the bright futures of their students, inspired to "make a dent in the universe" and to "dare to be great."

Thank you, Tom Mustin and Steve Vranakis, for honoring us with your presence!