Reflections on Lower Secondary: Preparing Solid Foundations for Future Success
As our Year 9 students transition from Lower Secondary into the critical Upper Secondary years, several members of the cohort recently reflected on some of the ways in which they have developed their skills and confidence during Lower Secondary, and how they feel prepared to face the future.
Hei In is an extremely talented all-around student, mathematician, writer, musician, and visual artist academically placing at the top of her class and recently recognised as the recipient of the Year 9 DUX Academic Award, which honours the student with the highest Grade Point Average (GPA).
“I have always aimed to achieve strong academic results in most areas, but mathematics is definitely my main passion. I’ve loved the camaraderie developed with my teacher and peers in our advanced Maths class and how we’ve pushed each other to think differently and solve challenging problems. I also love Art as it is a subject I can approach academically but also where I can do practical assignments and cultivate a hobby and a way of communicating. I like the release provided by classes like Art, Music, and Science, where I use my brain in different ways. YCIS Shanghai is more than a friendly and inclusive community with supportive teachers; it is home. I like that people care about the well-being of students, and not just grades and quantifiable markers of achievement,” Hei In said.
Rhena is always ready to be challenged academically, is heavily involved in school life, and recently was recognised for her contributions to our school community as the recipient of the Year 9 Co-ordinator’s Award.
“I have been at YCIS Shanghai since Year 1 and I love this school community. When I first started Lower Secondary two years ago, I was a bit unsure of what was coming. But now that I am at the end of my journey as a Lower Secondary student and am starting my journey as an IGCSE student, I have come to appreciate everything that I have gone through to prepare me for my next journey,” said Rhena.
“CCAs and after-school classes such as Sinfonia and IIIP have enabled me to be more prepared for the IGCSE Music course I chose for next year. I am glad that our school is able to equip us with so many opportunities to showcase our talent — be it in music, drama, sports, or in any other field! I never really considered myself an athlete per se, or at least not by design. But I’ve loved the challenge and fun of becoming an athlete at YCIS, where this year I was privileged to join the SISAC basketball team and participate in the ACAMIS tournament in Qingdao. I’ve learnt to work and sweat with my teammates and we have overcome odds and competed and defeated teams with more experienced and talented players. One thing I love about sports, especially in our school, is being able to work well together as a team with students across grade levels and different ages. I’ve been pushed well beyond my comfort zone and challenged, but I’ve also felt supported and mentored. This is the type of school spirit encouraged throughout our school that I love and cherish. It makes everyone more comfortable with each other, therefore making our school feel like one big family,” added Rhena.
Chris joined YCIS Shanghai in Lower Secondary and over the last three years has not only improved his English, but has become an impressive student in subjects from Mathematics to Humanities, and is fully engaged in our community through various activities from maths competitions to sports, photography club, and Model United Nations.
“My favourite subjects are Maths and Humanities. I like calculations and have a good mathematical mind, but what I love is the way our Maths teacher makes me want to learn with my friends and I like the challenging learning atmosphere created. I love reading and history, so Model United Nations is a good fit because it helps me develop these interests while wrestling with real global issues. My experience in Lower Secondary has been great, and the teaching and learning has been effective. This is a tight-knit community where teachers and students care, where you feel connected to the community, and there are great school traditions to be part of, from the ‘MAD Run’ to the Christmas Tree Lighting to the Summer Music Festival. I’m excited for new learning adventures at Upper Secondary next year at YCIS Shanghai,” said Chris.
Eli is a dynamic student who has been involved in many aspects of school life at YCIS Shanghai, taking advantage of a range of opportunities for learning from performing arts to sports.
“I’ve loved Lower Secondary at YCIS Shanghai. I can’t think of many places in the world where I would have had this many opportunities to try and learn new things. I’ve been cast in so many different theatrical productions and musicals; I interviewed the Israeli Consul about the Arab-Israeli conflict for my Global Perspective project for our Year 9 Humanities class; I’ve played on different sports teams and had the opportunity to train with older students; I applied university-level micro-biology techniques to solve real problems in science class; I’ve tried new instruments, composed, and used different software and sound editing programmes in Music class; and I’ve used my drama skills to learn more Chinese. YCIS Pudong is really amazing. I told my parents two days before the Summer Music Festival that I was playing cello in our Year 9 performance of the band Fun’s song ‘We Are Young’ in an outdoor rock concert! I play other instruments, but had never played cello before, so my parents were surprised. But for me, it was one more example of how this school environment makes us feel comfortable and we are encouraged to try new things,” explained Eli.
And an environment where students are encouraged to try new things is what Lower Secondary should be about! Here’s to many more learning adventures for all of our students as they move on to their next set of challenges in high school.
Contributed by Ms Janelle Garrett, Lower Secondary Co-ordinator, Yew Chung International School of Shanghai (Pudong)