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Congratulations Graduates of 2010!

June, 2010
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It is the time to say good-bye. It is the time to start a new journey. There is a lot to be memorized. There are a lot of expectations. More than 300 students are graduating from international schools in Shanghai this summer. For them, this summer will surely become a turning point in their life. Exciting, upset wishful, sad… Whatever feelings they have, they should be proud of themselves after years of effort in school. 

Congratulations to the graduates of 2010!


sas-song-max-sMax Song is a graduate of Shanghai American School, and he will attend Brown University.

The graduation ceremony, in which we walk from seat to stage center, is at once the shortest and longest journey we have ever taken. Scratching across hardwood floors, it is physically only a matter of steps, but with each step we walk a one-way path to that uncertain, exciting thing we call ‘The Future’. 

What does it mean to graduate? In the march of life, there exists no clear divide between what is past and what lies ahead.

With the submission of our college applications, we have entered a new stage of our life for both good and bad. Already, most of us have realized this unconsciously: we have all been guilty of that phenomenon known as “senior year second semester” in one form or another. But senioritis is not a disease. Rather, it is much like the exclamation of a prisoner in discovering a sudden open door: the wind of an unchecked, radical freedom buffets his face, and he stands dumbstruck.

But during this transitional period between high school and the real world known as college, there is a struggle ahead for each of us to define the meaning of our lives within the vacuum of freedom. Freedom is the single most powerful attribute that defines and limits us as human beings. Born as vectors, we are free to choose the direction of our lives, and can end far from where we begin.

Yet at the same time, keep in mind that we cannot choose to be not free. This is the ever-present limit and burden of choice, that even our decision to surrender passively into the currents of life is still a choice—and we hold the responsibility to answer for it. As PJ O’Rourke once said, “There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences. ”

From here on, there will be no more mountains, other than the ones you choose to climb. No more struggling, an uphill battle of will against despair, other than those you begin yourself. For your sake, and for the world’s sake, I hope you will. 

I’d like to thank those who made us and our journey here today possible. To our teachers, thank you for a lifetime of guidance, for paving the road with your own footprints for us to follow. To our parents and family, thank you for all of the support and encouragement along the way, for catching us when we fall, and helping us up when we slip. We couldn’t have done it without any of you. 


sas-jamie-li-sJames Li is a graduate of Shanghai American School and will major in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of California at Berkeley.

There is quite a mix of emotions. On the one hand, this is separation from almost everyone, and the end of childhood. On the other hand, it is the beginning of a new phase in life. It has not completely sunk in, and so I am somewhat devoid of feeling at the moment.

It’s had its ups and downs, but overall, my experience has been quite positive. I will definitely miss SAS.

I’ve been at SAS for three years. I arrived at Shanghai American School at the beginning of sophomore year; the year that the first senior class graduated. After being in a high school with over 2,000 students, this was a drastically different environment. The are many differences among students, and not just in terms of race or culture - for a class of only 85 seniors, we have quite a variety of interests and skills.

As we graduate and move toward the real world, we need to take time to relax and enjoy the small pleasures of life. If you are so inclined, use the swings in a park, ignoring those who cast dark glances at you, considering you childish or even insane. Class of 2010, do not be too caught up by the judgment of others, but listen to your friends, both present and future, who know you and care for you.

Words for fellow students and friends: Try new things, and don’t be afraid to fail - there are so many opportunities here, and not using them would be such a waste.


ssis-lei-nuo-yee-sLei Nuo Yee is a graduate of Shanghai Singapore International School and will be studying marketing at Fordham University.

Still shocked at how far I’ve come since the first day I stepped into SSIS, I am finally about to graduate from this school. I now feel a conflict of emotions between nostalgia, excitement, fear and happiness. Nostalgic for the memories I have had over the years, excitement for the new step I am about to take, fear of the unfamiliar environment I am about to live in, and happiness that I am done with 12 years of education.

I enjoyed my high school life. It has been a comedy show set in the Shanghai Singapore International School. The friends I have made school not a burden, but more of an experience to remember.

I have been studying in an international school for about 8 years. The most memorable thing to me in my international school was when I made my first friends on the school bus. We were young then so the way to get friends was to ask them if they wanted candy. It turned out to be a good few years of friendship until they had to leave Shanghai.

The best skill that this unique environment has provided me with is adapting to the whole world. Being an international school student makes us not only aware of our own culture or backgrounds, but everyone else’s as well.


ssis-teo-walter-sWalter Teo is a graduate of Shanghai Singapore International School. Before going to university, Walter will be doing his duty in the Singapore Armed Forces for the next 2 years.

For six years I have studied in Shanghai Singapore International School, and now the time has come for me to graduate and move on. It will not be easy to forget this school as well as the city of Shanghai. 6 years may only be a third of my life but it was in these years that I had to develop and grow. Without the help of the teachers and this school I believe I would not be at my current level of confidence and ability, and for that I have to say thank you.

As to whether I am delighted or upset that I am graduating from SSIS, I believe that the answer is a little bit of both. For me graduation is the start of yet another chapter in my life, a signal that I am moving on and that I will have more challenges to face in the future. Not many would admit that they are disappointed with leaving school, but these were the years of our lives where we were given leeway and second chances. To quote my Secondary One English teacher, Mr. Alric Chong: “It is a very dangerous world out there.”

SSIS has not always been the perfect place for a high school kid, although what we lack in facilities, the school more than compensates for with the colorful teachers that have taught me, making the experience here so much better than if I were to be in a local school back home in Singapore. Nothing can prepare a future global citizen of the world better than an international school. It has not always been an easy ride, deadlines always had to be met and free time was always sparse, but that is no different than any other high school program. I have enjoyed my time in SSIS, and I believe that if I were given the choice now between studying back home or in SSIS, it would be a simple choice to make.

Having spent 6 years in SSIS, I have countless experiences. Furthermore, being part of the student council has allowed me to go behind the scenes of some of our school programs such as sports day, graduation ceremonies and other activities. The student council has also been to many of the camps designed to teach leadership skills to prefects from the primary school and student councilors from the secondary school. Having been to all of the camps, starting out as a pupil and emerging to become a leader, I have been led and I have led. To me there is no greater joy than when a group that I lead achieves something.

To me, completion of high school is an important step in life; it is the completion of 12 years of education, from the primary level to high school. It is where we students built our futures. Thus I encourage and hope that one day the students of this school will realize like I did the opportunity that Shanghai Singapore International School offers and hope they appreciate it like I have.


scis-ekansh-sEkansh Sharma is a graduate of Shanghai Community International School, and he will be going to UIUC (University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign) and will be majoring in either aeronautical or mechanical engineering.

Being one of the first ones to graduate from SCIS HQ does make me ‘special’ in a way. I feel very happy because I have achieved something that no one from SCIS has achieved before.  

I joined SCIS in grade 11; and these two years have definitely been the most special two years of my school life. At SCIS I have made great friends; and these friends encouraged me to try new things that I probably would have not tried otherwise. Despite the fact that I had to endure the IB Program, it was not uncommon for me to have fun in school.  In all, I feel that a High School student’s life at SCIS is a balanced life that includes both fun and challenging school work.

I have been studying in international schools for the past 9 years. Meeting new and different people, by far, has been (and will be) the most memorable aspect of my international life. Seeing friends leave every year is painful; but at the same time the hope of seeing them in the future makes the experience even more memorable.

In an international school, although we may not realize it, we have access to incredible amounts of information. We have teachers and students from different backgrounds that we can learn from. I think that in order for one to make the best use of this environment, one needs to be social at school.  By communicating with people from different backgrounds, I feel that one becomes a more ‘learned’ person.

People often say that I have very good general knowledge. This is because I talk with people from different backgrounds, and learn from their experiences. What I am trying to say is that studying from good and expensive books is not the only way to take advantage of this international environment; we can also learn from the experiences of different people.

Words for fellow students or friends:

Have fun in high school; this is the right time to have fun (although some argue that college is the time to have fun). Don’t let IB or AP classes dominate your lives. Be on top of your work, as by doing so you will have time to do other “fun” things. Be active outside of school!


ycis-alexia-s1Alexia Cohade is a graduate of Yew Chung International School of Shanghai. Next year Alexia will be attending the Wharton’s Huntsman Program in International Studies and Business at the University of Pennsylvania.

Graduating from high school, in my opinion, is the perfect example of a bittersweet event. On one hand I am so happy to be done with school, especially with the IB, and I am thrilled to be attending university in the fall. On the other hand, I am also very sad to be leaving everything behind and I will definitely miss my high school years. Although many doors have now opened in front of us, it is very difficult to close the one behind us, especially when it is filled with great memories.

My high school life has been amazing. I could not have asked for a better place to spend high school in. Shanghai, with its constant activity and expansion makes it probably one of the most interesting places to be right now. Also, since it is incredibly safe for such a large city, our parents have usually given us more freedom than we would have had elsewhere. 

YCIS SH has also played a big role in my wonderful high school experience. YCIS is a small school and so everyone is very close to each other and everyone knows each other. Although some people might not appreciate this, I thought it was great that seniors hung out with sophomores or even middle school students. 

The sports at YCIS have also allowed me to develop much as an athlete and leader. Because of its small size, everyone is given an opportunity to play in sports teams. I know that in a large school I would not have been able to play for so many teams but at YCIS SH i was given that chance and it allowed me to really improve. 

The faculty at YCIS SH is also amazing. On a personal note, I have gotten along exceptionally well with all my teachers, while academically, they have provided me all the resources to excel. The passion and ability with which they taught stimulated my desire to learn.

I have lived all my life overseas, in 7 different countries over 4 continents, and so I have been in international schools all my life. I absolutely love it. The students are generally very open-minded and friendly, as they have been exposed to so many different cultures and are used to having to make new friends. The teachers are also very friendly and usually involve themselves personally in their students’ studies. 

The most memorable part of my international school experience was taking a 2-week class trip to Thailand. Traveling abroad is one of many advantages of an international education and this trip was incredibly fun!

I think that to make best use of the unique environment of an international school you need to keep an open mind and appreciate all the things around you. During your international school experience you will encounter so many interesting people with so many different cultural and social backgrounds and it is important to keep in touch with as many people you can, so as to develop a very promising network of friends.  

International schools also offer so many opportunities apart from academic excellence and it is also very important to try and benefit from these. Learn to balance work with all the other things that living abroad allows you to do.

Words for fellow students or friends: Enjoy high school while it lasts! It will go by faster than you think!


ycis-akiyo-sAkiyo Kaneko is a graduate of Yew Chung International School of Shanghai. Akiyo will be attending Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia this September.

I am happy that the IB program is finally over because I had to work very hard during the IB. But I think the saddest part is that I will miss everyone at school because we might not see each other again anymore.

High school life in YCIS was very interesting for me because everybody came from a different country with a unique background. It was challenging to understand that there were differences between one culture and another, but once you are bonded with your friends the differences in culture do not really matter anymore.

I have been studying at international schools for over four years. The most memorable thing was probably when I could not understand any word in English. In Japan, we do not learn English at an early age. It was a good experience because every word was just like a sound to me and it actually motivated me to create a piece called “Sound” later on. It was embarrassing but at the same time, I think I will have the same experience if I am to learn another new language later on.

International school is a unique environment in which students are given the opportunities to be independent for their assignments and their projects. In most schools in Asia, students are often told what to do by teachers and that was how I was taught in the Japanese schools before I came to YCIS. In other words, international schools have the unique environment where students can develop their thoughts and ideas freely. And I believe that teachers matter a lot when it comes to teaching students a particular subject. This is because students can be inspired differently depending on how much a teacher is motivated to lead students to understand the significance of the subject.

Words for your fellow students or friends:

Thank you to all the people who have been supportive and caring, especially Ms Yorke who has been my art teacher for the past two years! If I had not been taught by this great teacher, I do not think I would have ever understood how important art could be in my life. She has inspired me to expand my knowledge about art and also expand my ideas and thoughts, which are things I would not have been able to accomplish by myself.


ciss-jasen-sJasen Tjahjadi is a graduate of Concordia International School Shanghai. Jasen is going to the University of Notre Dame to study biochemistry.

At the moment I’m feeling quite nostalgic as we are all going down different paths, but I’m extremely determined to make the most out of this summer to hang out with friends and to keep in touch during university. 

My life at Concordia has been a very exciting journey. The opportunities this school provides are immense and I’ve learned so much. I’ve been able to serve on the Student Council, go to Yunnan to dig trenches for water pipes, and perform in various concerts and celebrations. I also enjoyed life in Shanghai A LOT. Notre Dame will be very different compared to Shanghai. I’ll miss the food.

One of my teachers once told me that “yes, school is a place to learn but you’ll never remember that Tuesday in 10th grade when you were sitting in Algebra II class”. My memorable moments have been those where I’ve interacted with my friends and teachers whether it’s on a project, bowling, or just hanging out. These connections are what I will cherish and remember for the years to come.

One specific experience that I will always remember is my trip to Yunnan where I helped dig trenches for water pipes. It was a very rewarding experience and I learned so much about Chinese culture and about myself.

To make best use of this unique environment of an international school, be yourself and take the opportunities that are given to you. Don’t just sit around…take advantage of your surroundings and reach out of your personal bubble. TAKE RISKS.

Words for fellow students or friends: Always put in the effort to keep in touch. Being an International student is emotionally draining as we always have to deal with friends who have to repatriate. Don’t let this bog you down though, because as long as you put in the effort to keep in touch the bonds between friends will remain.


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