As the days get longer, the temperatures rise, and the summer holiday draws ever-closer, the students, teachers, and staff at YCIS Pudong have started to reflect on another successful academic year at the school, which, as always, seems to have flown by. While the school campuses have been abuzz with excitement and anticipation of summer travels and the next school year, one group of students – those in Year 13 who make up the Class of 2019 – were in a contemplative mood as their time at YCIS has come to a close.
The day before the graduation festivities began, the graduates donned their ceremonial caps and gowns and spoke at two sessions with all students from Years 4–6, answering questions about their experiences in Secondary and encouraging the Primary students always to aim high. On average, the Year 13 students have each been at YCIS Pudong for over eight years (some as long as 14 years!), so leaving the school will mark a significant change for them, and graduation is a major milestone in all of their lives. The graduates left a lasting impression on their younger peers with their accumulative knowledge about their school, their teachers, and all of the fond memories they made.
The next day on Friday, May 31, the YCIS Pudong Class of 2019 came together at the Century Park Campus for one last time to celebrate the end of an academic era. The graduating students once again donned their regalia, and the celebration began with a ceremonial procession, as the graduates walked to the campus theatre, flanked on both sides by all faculty, staff, and all students from Years 6–12, who applauded and cheered as the group walked by. This gesture showed just how deep the sense of community runs at YCIS Pudong.
The graduates then joined the Secondary School Awards Ceremony, after which they enjoyed a spectacular lunch with their families and teachers at the Bund – with the iconic view making an excellent backdrop for some beautiful photos! In the evening, the ceremony began with a lovely reception for families and staff. Afterwards, once the guests were seated in the theatre, the YCIS Pudong Sinfonia group performed a beautiful rendition of ‘Pomp and Circumstance’ as the graduates made their way to the stage. The ceremony was then opened by Mr Fred Runkel, YCIS Pudong Secondary Principal, who welcomed all of the guests and then introduced a video entitled “A Day at YCIS,” created by graduate Bobby, the soundtrack of which featured his original music composition.
Then, Mr Timothy Gartz, YCIS Pudong University and Guidance Counsellor, took the stage, welcoming and introducing the YCIS Pudong Class of 2019. Afterwards, the audience was treated to additional musical features, including a fantastic rendition of ‘Cantaloupe Island’ performed by Bobby and Year 11 student Kevin, as well as a lovely version of ‘Beside You,’ performed by graduate duo Hannah and Rheanna. Graduates Oliver and Hannah gave a speech, sharing memorable moments from their more than 10 years of studying at the school, and Mr Dudley Stuurman, YCIS Pudong Social Sciences teacher and the form tutor for the Class of 2019, was selected by the Graduates as their Keynote speaker. After Mr Stuurman’s reflective and inspiring speech, Mr Matthew Grady, YCIS Pudong IB Coordinator, shared his words of wisdom for the graduates before their diplomas were awarded by YCIS Pudong Co-Principals Mr Damien Hehir and Ms Mary Yu.
Mr Gartz reflected on the evening, saying, “It was a thrill for me to be able to introduce each graduate to our audience by sharing a few of their accomplishments and presenting them with the chance to thank their parents personally by giving them a rose during the ceremony. It’s been such a joy seeing the Class of 2019 come so far, and I wish them the very best!”
Graduation is always a bittersweet time, as it means saying goodbye to our amazing students but, at the same time, we know that they are embarking on new adventures all around the world and that YCIS Pudong has been a driving force in these journeys. We wish the YCIS Pudong Class of 2019 all of the success that they deserve and look forward to welcoming them back on campus whenever they’re back in Shanghai.