The 16 graduates of BCIS listen to words of wisdom from faculty and staff
It’s graduation season. A whole handful of international high school graduations have taken place this month. We profiled 5 of Beijing’s international high school graduations last week and will continue throughout this week and next.
BCIS (Beijing City International School)
The BCIS high school graduation ceremony took place on June 4th with a graduating class of 16 students from 7 countries — Japan, Mongolia, Spain, Australia, Poland, Korea and Sweden. The graduates wore black gowns with red scarves and black caps with red Chinese tassels at the intimate ceremony held next door to the BCIS campus.
The ceremony featured a special speech from Dean of the Graduate School of Education of Beijing University and also featured exceptional musical performances from two students.
There was joy on every graduates face as they chatted excitedly with parents and teachers. Following the graduation, on June 10th prom was held at the Park Hyatt Hotel, graduates relaxed in the company of their friends and teachers
To check out more pictures from the big day click here.
Valedictorian Charlie Choi says cheese!
BCIS Valedictorian of this year’s graduating class is Charlie Choi from Suwon, Korea. Charlie has been living in Beijing for three years, after graduation he plans on attending a summer program at UC Berkeley in late June.
This is the speech he delivered:
I’m horrible at telling jokes, so I might have to remind you that I am making a joke sometimes.
Good morning everyone! It is a great honor to stand here as the valedictorian of the Class of 2011. Every one of you at this moment deserves the utmost praise and recognition for your talents and accomplishments that make up who you are. At last, class of 2011, congratulations! We are graduating!
The four years of high school was like starship travelling at warp speed, which means real fast in Star Trek. Just getting used to high school as a little freshman seems like yesterday. How did we even get here? What has helped us to become our incredible selves today? Renowned psychiatrist William Glasser once said, “We are driven by five genetic needs: survival, belonging, power, fun, and freedom.” These five genetic needs would not have been satisfied if not for help from numerous people sitting in this room today.
Survival: I come from an average family with very hardworking parents relentlessly sacrificing and giving so I could survive a privileged teenage years. They chose to abandon their potentially luxurious life, and in turn provide an opportunity for me to receive top-notch education and lead a better life than they did. And, it is not just about the money. Their values, philosophies, and love have guided me to grow up into an upright person filled with optimism, wisdom, and compassion. I believe all the parents in this room did so as well. Thank you so much, we will never forget your love, sacrifices and guidance.
Belonging: During my three years in BCIS, I have made so many friends. In fact in a small school like BCIS, it is quite hard not to. My fellow graduates, we all come from different backgrounds and have different stories to tell, but we have laughed, cried, fought, and forgiven together. You were my motivation to wake up at 7:00AM everyday, because with you, I felt like I belonged to a caring group of people. Now as we get ready to embark on different journeys to different parts of the world, we must not forget each other. We will soon belong to different communities, but remember that your roots belong with the BCIS Class of 2011. We will be each other’s most important assets in life when aspiring for that brighter future. I am seriously curious as to our futures five years later. Who knows, Tom might be playing for the Chinese Badminton national team, Daniel might become a Chinese teacher in Korea, Yunan could be playing for Barcelona FC Iga could become a Polish supermodel, or Jong Gwon might discover cure for Alzheimer’s. So people, get Facebook and add each other. ‘Like’ each other’s status once in a while and keep in touch!
Power: My fellow graduates, I would also like to leave you with a thought. Looking back at the last four years of high school, I have so many regrets that I wish I could travel backwards in time. The things that we wished to do but weren’t able to, or the mistakes we made that changed our lives, we all wish we could travel back in time and change them. I sincerely wish to go back to ninth grade and start working out, and stop eating chocolate, and then maybe I could have been a better soccer player.
Unfortunately, we don’t have the power to travel back in time. What we do have is the power to take control of our lives, act immediately according to our will, and take responsibility for our actions. Author Henry David Thoreau once said, "Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined." So, go learn that guitar you wanted to learn years ago. Go chat up that cute girl you fancied since 9th grade but were too shy to do so. Go start studying as hard as you can, so you can be the valedictorian of the class of 2015 at your university. It is never too late to do something that you wished you had done in the past. Today is a perfect place to start. I would like to thank our teachers at this point, for education is a human right with immense power, and without our teachers’ care and effort, we would not have had such power to take control of our lives. Thank you so much!
Fun: Even though the four years of high school were painful, especially the last two in the forced labor camp of the IB diploma (that’s a joke), they were nonetheless extremely fun! Before coming to BCIS, I wasn’t very much a laughing person. Now, I can laugh at anything, anywhere, anytime. Students in Math SL class would know that students love the class not for the math, but for Mr. Patrick. Which other math teacher in the world has such a wonderful collection of newly imported shirts from Africa? Who would have thought that English could be so interesting if not for Mr. Selkirk’s hilarious jokes and sarcasm? Who else could make as many ridiculous noises as our very own Yunan could make? Everyday at BCIS was filled with small yet hilarious moments that alleviated our stress in school and made it a desirable place to be.
Freedom: Although we all loved being at BCIS, we absolutely do prefer life after the IB. Today is the start of that freedom! We are liberated from internal assessments, oral presentations, and all other forced labor on the IB diploma program! But seriously, such rigorous education is what has given us the freedom – which has opened our minds, and our hearts, and helped us to make connections we never would have made. I understand graduation is a bittersweet moment, but please do not cry. Instead, put on a big smile, congratulate each other, and enjoy this moment.
Today is the end, and we have all reached a milestone in our lives. Today is also the new beginning for a brighter future we all dream of. Congratulations Class of 2011. We have made it!