From today, join us as we cover this year’s Beijing international school graduations. Each week we bring you a recap of the ceremonies, speeches and festivities as each class of 2012 bids their high school years adieu.
On May 23, 2012, Dulwich College Beijing (DCB) graduates from 18 countries donned their black robes and black caps with red tassels. As is tradition, they were led by the Senior Head of the school (Chris Woolf), as they marched around the school, out the door and down the stairs. As they stepped out the door and down the steps, they left their secondary school years behind and said hello to their new future.
Graduates will be heading off to Oxford, Yale, the University of Southern California, University of Virginia, University of Toronto, University of British Columbia, The Rhode Island School of Design – among others.
Headmaster Neal McGowan congratulated the 57-strong graduating class. He explained how the secondary school years often encapsulate the most wonderful times in a person’s life. And that education is the means to an end: With education, students can land a successful job. He mentioned Leonardo da Vinci’s take on how people should be free, that when people have the will to be free they can achieve great things.
He also quoted Steve Jobs:
"Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
Headmaster McGowan expressed how Dulwich College students have learned to try and close the gap between rich and poor. He enlightened the graduates about the real dangers of the world, how there is always someone working harder than yourself. He alluded to the importance of creativity, emphasizing the fact that Dulwich graduates are “part of a bigger canvas, a moving network of high achieving people.”
Afterward, graduates received their diplomas on stage. The graduating class of 2012 gifted the school with a blue terra cotta warrior, signed by each graduate. The Dulwich graduating class of 2011 also donated a red terra cotta warrior last year. Senior Head and English Teacher Chris Woolf joked, "When this [the blue terracotta warrior]joins the camp ,the army will start to grow.” He was referring to Dulwich Beijing’s growing alumni network that has started to grow with its three years of graduates. Graduates were greeted with the warmest applause as they returned to their seats.
Alumni speaker “International Old Alleynian Class of 2010” and current NYU student Jorge Zarate dispensed his college wisdom to the graduating class: “In college, you have to treat your roommate especially well, because they know where you live and have constant access to your stuff." He advised graduates on how to master their future university schedules and how to deal with core courses in college, and even dispensed tips on how to do laundry.
Jorge told the graduating class to never forget where they come from. He still remembers how an English teacher at Dulwich told him a good essay is like an “umbrella.” And even though it sounds cheesy he says that growing up in the adult world and interacting with people is really all about “building bridges.” Finally, he told the graduating class with affection, “The world is big and mean, but you’re ready.”
Graduates Kathryn Chua (vocals) and De Rui Lee (guitar, vocals) performed a heart-warming song that they composed together.Kathryn is from Malaysia and has been in Beijing for five years, she is going to NYU in the fall to study English and American literature, De Rui is from Singapore and has been in Beijing for two years. They are both 17years old. Kathryn’s voice was astoundingly beautiful and De Rui’s guitar rhythm was very upbeat.
Maximillian Afnan 17years old, is from Britain, and has lived in Beijing for two years, after a gap year in Beijing; he is going to Balliol College College in Oxford to study law. As student speaker Max enlightened the students on how the 80 or so teachers they have been taught by at Dulwich College have made a great impact on their lives. “Dulwich has changed us all,” he reflected. He gave thanks to the two most important groups of people in a graduate’s life: the teachers and parents. He also talked about the Dulwich experience, and how the graduates have changed Dulwich, and have set the bar for years to come; how as graduates they must now go out to the world on their own.
The ceremony came to a close with the graduation group photo on stage and a lakeside reception. The Dulwich 2012 graduates celebrated the ending of one chapter in their lives and will welcome their next chapter with an evening dinner and dance at 798 Art District this Friday.
Headmaster McGowan reminded students how as Dulwich graduates they are always part of the Dulwich alumni network; a growing network of achieved individuals. The Dulwich International Old Alleynian alumni plans to meet in London in January 2013.
More on Old Alleynians and the prestigious Dulwich alumni network
The term Old Alleynians (OA) refers to Dulwich College London’s graduates who are 16 years or older and are part of Dulwich’s 400-year old history. There are approximately 10, 000 Old Alleynians worldwide. International Old Alleynians (IOAs) refers to year 11 and 13 graduates of Dulwich College worldwide. The first gathering held for Old Alleynians and International Old Alleynians took place in London, January 2012.
See more photos from DCB’s graduation here.
Photos by Judy Zhou.