June 22, 2011
The notion of graduation as the start of a new journey was certainly the central message of YCIS Shanghai’s graduation ceremony when 53 students of Class 2011 walked the stage to receive their diplomas.
On paper, this class is as dynamic and interesting as they are in person. College matriculation and intended majors ranged from pre-medicine at University of California, Berkeley to fashion design at Parsons The New School for Design. Students will be moving as far west as the USA to further their studies and as close as Shanghai to take a gap year to fine-tune their Chinese language to a professional level. A full third of the class has been with YCIS Shanghai for six years or longer. The class represents 17 countries and regions, and includes one Beijing Olympic Torch Bearer and one National Merit Scholarship Finalist.
The keynote speaker of the evening, chosen by the students themselves, was English and Theory of Knowledge teacher Terrence Schaffer. Leaving the graduates with one last piece of advice, Mr. Schaffer said, “I am reminded… that this is my last chance to speak to you as students… so I’m going to say one last thing to you. It’s a quotation by Oscar Wilde, ‘Education is an admirable thing, but it would do us well to remember from time to time that nothing worth knowing can be taught.’ If you ever lose your dignity or self-esteem, you will have learned something I can’t teach you. If you ever have to sacrifice your self worth, your view of yourself, your values, your integrity for the sake of money, success, or reputation, then the price is too high. There is no relationship, no cause of love, no hope for eternal bliss for somebody that is worth more than your self esteem… My students, I’m asking you to preserve your spiritual freedom, your independence of mind, your dignity no matter what comes at you.”
All design for the ceremony was provided by YCIS Shanghai’s Artist-in-Residence Mark Montgomery, who opted for a modern drawing of Shanghai’s historical “shikumen”. The shikumen is a popular type of stone gate in the 1860s that combined Eastern and Western elements in its design, reflecting the school’s East-meets-West approach to education.
Among the class are graduates matriculating to the following universities:
- School of the Art Institute of Chicago
- University of California, Berkeley
- University of California, Los Angeles
- Chinese University of Hong Kong
- Imperial College London
- King’s College London
- University of Ottawa
- Parsons The New School for Design
- Stanford University
- University of Warwick