15 Aug, 2023
15 : 29
In March of this year, Zeke, a student from YCIS Shanghai (Pudong Campus), received an acceptance letter from Carleton College, where his parents met, fell in love, and where he had always dreamed of studying.
Ranked sixth among liberal arts colleges in the United States, Carleton is known for its academic freedom, excellent faculty, and tight-knit community. To top it off, it boasts one of the most beautiful campuses in the US, which is precisely what Zeke have been hoping for.
Shortly before receiving his acceptance letter, Chris, another student from YCIS Shanghai (Pudong Campus), was accepted by the University of Southern California. As a lover of maths and science, he will be studying Applied and Computational Mathematics from this month.
These two graduates, seen as role models by their peers and juniors, have been at YCIS Shanghai since they were very young. How did those seemingly ordinary days shape them into who they are today?
In this article, let us follow the footsteps of Zeke and Chris and explore their stories.
Finding a Spiritual Utopia through Continuous Endeavors
Zeke's musical journey began with mandatory violin classes at YCIS. Little did he know that these once unfamiliar notes would become a major part of his adolescence.
In Year 4, Zeke enrolled in the school's Individual Instrument Instruction Program (IIIP), where he systematically learned the guitar and gradually developed a love for music. He was always seen practising for hours on end to perfect his skills.
Despite the school day being over, Zeke was still experimenting with new techniques in the classroom, completely absorbed in his music.
During the summer holiday of Year 6, "Because my teacher needed a bassist and I happened to have experience playing the guitar, I was invited to join the school band and learn the bass from my teacher." It seemed fate had played a hand, binding Zeke to the bass until graduation.
By Year 7, Zeke became known as a campus ‘celebrity’ due to his passion and skills in music - he joined a rock band, established a CCA: Stage Show Band and even performed with renowned musicians in Shanghai. It was then that he realized music was more than just a hobby, it was his calling.
The Senior Jazz Band was the place where Zeke felt most comfortable in his later years of school.
Here, each student was much like him - improvising or enthusiastically discussing with peers, hoping to create a beautiful piece through spontaneous collaboration. Meanwhile, the teacher encourages them to freely express themselves and offering suggestions only when needed.
Sometimes, Zeke's dazzling musical talents can distract us from the fact that he is also a fervent environmental activist.
It was in his Y9 Humanities Class that his teacher presented various degrees of natural disasters such as air pollution, land degradation, decline in biodiversity and global warming, making him realize for the first time the severity of the ecological crisis we face.
As he deepened his understanding and awareness, Zeke became more convinced that humans should take responsibility to protect the earth and cherish nature.
He began to proactively reduce his energy consumption by practicing recycling and reusing items, riding a bicycle to school, and embracing vegetarianism.
He also became a member of the school's Eco Club, aspiring to start with small steps and enhance his classmates' environmental awareness.
In Year 12, Zeke became the school’s Eco Prefect, where he organized a series of activities. Through these social practices, he not only garnered wider attention and recognition but also successfully conveyed his environmental beliefs to more people.
Unlike many schools, students at Carleton College don't declare their majors until their second year. Zeke himself admits that he is not entirely sure whether to choose music or sustainable development.
However, we have reason to believe that as someone who dares to explore and challenge himself, Zeke will take full advantage of the vibrant and opportunity-filled community at Carleton College to find and pursue his dreams.
Whatever path he chooses, we trust that he will bring more positive, healthy, and beautiful sounds and energy to the world.
Passion Opens Possibilities
Every teacher and classmate familiar with Chris knows that he is a boy who is passionate about science.
He once achieved the highest score in China and received an Honor Certificate from the American Mathematics Competition (AMC10). He has also won awards in various computer and robotics competitions.
When it comes to STEAM, Chris's first impression is that the classes at YCIS is very interesting. He gave an example of his favorite teacher, Mr. Akutsah, who is from Minnesota and teaches mathematics.
"If a class cannot arouse the interest of all students, it cannot be counted as a successful one." This is Akutsah's belief. In his class, exams have become the most popular activities for students.
Akutsah divides students into groups and those that solve the problems the fastest can receive carefully prepared gifts from him, such as 3D-printed models or a box of candy and cookies.
This ignites the competitive spirit among students, "Many students start preparing for this competition before class", and the atmosphere in class is always particularly lively.
Akutsah likes to incorporate stories and games into his math classes.
Chris has always strived to find goals and achieve something substantial in his studies.
In his final year of high school, despite academic pressures, Chris designed a website for the school out of interest. It was dedicated to registering and keeping track of various competitions held on campus, showing who participated in which event and how many points they earned.
Chris's idea impressed many teachers, with Mr. Platten, the Computer Science and Technology Integrator, offering him plenty of database support.
“He is a very distinctive teacher who has taught in Africa, and to this day, a Zimbabwean flag still hangs in our math classroom.”
Creating a website involves many skills. In addition to his expertise in programming and mathematics, Chris learned numerous ways to design webpages more aesthetically pleasing thanks to an electronic design internship program provided by the school.
"It's not realistic to expect to learn everything in class; you still need to do some research on your own after class," he said.
In fact, Chris has a strong interest in Arts, as well. At YCIS, every child is encouraged to enjoy music and art regardless of whether they will pursue it professionally.
Chris deeply appreciates that the school doesn't place art on a pedestal that's out of reach. He believes that the greatest aspect of his experience at the school is how easy it is for anyone to participate in artistic activities.
He first picked up a guitar in primary school. Though he was a bit introverted and uncomfortable with performing in public places, there were so many concerts and performances organized by the school that Chris decided to actively participate with encouragement and support from his fellow students.
He feels that after all these years at YCIS, the biggest change in him is that he has become more open-minded.
From a young age, Chris had a love for photography. At the photography club, he further developed his skills in shooting and editing.
Moving from perplexion to maturity takes more than just time. Behind this lies countless attempts, failures, and struggles. Through Zeke and Chris, we joyfully witness their growth, believing that in the future, they will continue to earnestly experience life in different dimensions, defining themselves through their own thoughts and actions.
We also hope that through their stories, more YCIS students can enter into various fields, encounter more fresh things, care for more people, and pay attention to more practical issues.
Congratulations to the graduating class of 2023! To the future graduates, keep it up!