Yew Chung International School of Beijing’s class of 2012 graduated in elegant hooded black graduation gowns with blue and red trim on Wednesday, June 6. The secondary orchestra and a student and teacher trumpet and drum duo played as the 14 graduates entered the school’s auditorium.
The ceremony began with a message from Deputy Director Priscilla Yeung and was followed by a series of diploma and award presentations, various speeches and performances by members of the graduating class.
The Director and Co-Principals presented the graduates with their diplomas and teachers of each subject presented awards to deserving students. Roll Awards were presented to Seung Yeon Nam, Ji Eun Jung and Jackie Chung and a Highest Academic Achievement Award was presented to valedictorian Jackie Chung.
Speeches from different speakers were intertwined with these presentations. The first speech following the subject awards was delivered by alumnus Justin Lei who currently attends the University of California, Berkeley.
The next address was given by the Co-Principals after several presentations and performances. Co-Principal Christine Xu delivered her discourse in Chinese while Co-Principal Wayne Richardson spoke to the audience in English. Both speeches were centered on the theme of responsibility and reminded students that if they wanted to keep their feet on the ground, they needed to put some responsibility on their shoulders.
Immediately after the Co-Principals’ message, valedictorian Jackie Chung gave a speech on behalf of her fellow graduates. She began her speech with thanking the parents and teachers for their “guidance, love and care” and urged her peers to remember how parents and teachers have affected the students’ lives. Jackie also encouraged the graduates by saying, “I don’t know what our future holds, but I know who holds the future. It is us."
The full text of her speech can be found at the end of this post.
To spice up the graduation ceremony, graduates demonstrated their talent through several performances. Ji Yoon Hwang, Ji Eun Jung and Seung Yeon Nam performed the song Umbrella in harmony, Archana Sharma wowed the audience with her Bollywood dance and Hovin Wong finished the performances off with a heartfelt rendition of the song Time of Your Life.
The ceremony closed as the graduates exited the auditorium to the Yew Chung school hymn and were welcomed by every student as they did their “victory walk” around the school. After the graduation, students, teachers and parents enjoyed a celebratory luncheon.
Graduates of YCIS’s class of 2012 were given offers from universities all around the world including McGill University, University of Toronto, University of Hong Kong, University of Exeter and Northeastern University.
For more pictures of the event, visit our online gallery.
Below is Jackie Chung’s speech, in full:
Good morning. We are very privileged today to have with us Assistant Director Miss Priscilla Yeung to celebrate our graduation.
Co-principals, teachers, family, friends and fellow graduates,
We stand here today on the edge of our future. It is not a distant reality anymore. It begins here. It begins today. My fellow graduates, most of us have only been here at Yew Chung for a few years but let us take a look at what we have become now; look at us in these gowns; indeed, it is already time to leave school. We began high school as children, but now we are leaving as young adults. How did it all go by so fast? It seems like only yesterday we were those skinny little junior students that screamed and ran along the corridors from one class to another, and looking generally clueless to all the senior students. Now, we are those seniors, those that are standing here ready to graduate, ready to launch ourselves into our future.
I remember vividly the graduation ceremonies of the two previous graduating classes; I was sitting here in one of those seats attending their celebration. Each time a senior class graduated and prepared themselves for the next chapters in their lives, I felt a pang of jealousy. I remember how much I wanted high school to end, how much I wanted to attend university and just live independently without my parents. Students, a lot of you might perhaps be thinking the same right now: “Yes, I would love that too! Being independent, no parents to nag me, no teachers to force me to complete assignments…freedom!” But hold on a second; use your time now to give it a second thought. Without our mother, what would we do with our used dishes, dirty clothes, and who would be preparing our 3 meals per day? Without our father, would we even have a chance to be standing here being in this cozy community that prepares us to become global citizens? I have to say that I have witnessed the importance of my parents in my life. Our parents are the ones that give us life, but I have to remind you, parents do not only have the duty of taking care of you. They choose to. Let’s admit this, we have all been troublesome at some point, whether it was on purpose to catch their attention or not. I admit I did, however, my parents have always supported me, through all my ups and downs. They are the reason why I am able to be standing here today sharing my thoughts with you. So dear parents, thank you. Thank you for everything that you have done for us. 亲爱的父母们， 谢谢，这些年辛苦了。(Dear parents, thank you, these years must have been hard for you.) Perhaps we do not always explicitly show our emotions and some words are too cheesy for us to say, but here we go. We love you just as much as you love us.
Three weeks ago, we finished our IB exams. I will never forget that moment when I threw away my two years worth of IB notes. You would think that it must have felt good. It did. But simultaneously, I felt a great sense of emptiness. We studied for two years, wrote notes, had tests, exams and now, it is all in the bin. So what is education all about; just copying and pasting words from our memories on to a piece of paper? I soon realized that the true meaning behind schooling is the values we take with us when we leave. Without our teachers guiding us, we would not be who we are today. Teachers, you did more than just giving us homework, giving us deadlines and teaching us how to gain the top marks, you helped mold who we are as a person. When I first came to Yew Chung, I was timid, someone you did not pay attention to. Most of the time I would just sit in a corner and quietly wait for the day to be over. But look at me now, speaking in front of 300 people. I would like to thank our teachers, thank you for your patience, guidance, love and care. We would not have survived through IB without you. 感谢老师们的耐性，鞭策，爱与关怀。(Thank you teachers for your patience, your push, love and care.)
Finally, to my dearest fellow graduates, we made it! We are now ending a chapter in our lives and moving on to our next. I am sure that you will miss the times that we have had as much as I will. Remember the experiencing in china trips? Remember the times when we stayed up late together finishing off our assessments due the very next day? Your support was what helped me plod on, pushed me to continue. Thank you and congratulations, class of 2012. Remember, what doesn’t kill us only makes us stronger, and gets us nearer to success. 加油！I don’t know what our future holds, but I know who holds the future. It is us.
Our schooling may be over, but remember that your education continues. We learn through failures, which eventually lead us to success. So never give up!
Once again, thank you and congratulations.
Photographs by Sui.