Some of the students and teachers attending yesterday's anniversary ceremony pose for a picture.
THE International School of Nanshan Shenzhen (ISNS) opened its doors yesterday morning to celebrate the school's 15th anniversary.
The celebration ceremony was held on the playground, welcoming founding family members Francis Pang and Joyce Pang, government officials, VIP guests, and families of the students.
The one-and-a-half-hour event included speeches by government officials, Francis Pang, Joyce Pang and David Swanson, head of the school, a special performance by the school choir, and a declaration of the first official ISNS time capsule, in which special items were locked away and placed in a safe spot for the school's 25th anniversary.
"We want to bring the best in education to our students, to ensure we equip our students with the knowledge and know-how to become global citizens and to contribute to society," said Joyce Pang, ISNS executive director, at the ceremony.
ISNS has developed from a school solely offering internationally recognized Canadian curriculum in 2002 into the first International Baccalaureate (IB) World School in Shenzhen that is authorized across all three IB Programs: Primary Years Program (PYP), Middle Years Program (MYP) and Diploma Program (DP). Today, ISNS has over 800 students from 43 countries from kindergarten through Grade 12.
"I am fascinated that I've grown with my school, and as the number of students has increased, we have moved onto a new campus, and we now have more extracurricular activities, such as bands, sports teams and art clubs," said Kathy Hu, who has been studying here for 12 years and performed as the drummer of the stage band for the ceremony. "Teachers are open-minded and they have a two-way teaching style, through which we are encouraged to learn by ourselves," added Hu, who is also the president of the Students Council. "In this multicultural community, we respect each other and learn from each other."
Hu has received an offer from Stanford University.
"We always encourage students not only to focus on academic achievements but also to recognize the importance in serving society and others," said Francis Pang, the founder of ISNS, adding this is an essential requirement for education to enhance the integrity of our society and social development.
"I challenged students' thoughts about what they believe," said high school economics teacher Jennie Chapman, who has been teaching here for five years. By deepening students' thoughts about how the world works, Chapman hopes students can better serve society with an open mind.
The philosophy of ISNS focuses on developing a culture within the school that reflects the importance of community engagement, technological integration and service learning, according to the school.
"The consistency of class community makes ISNS different from other expat schools, as the students there come and go," said Isabel Grimsel, whose son and daughter are studying here. "My son has been studying here for seven years and most of his classmates have remained the same."
"The study trip to Cambodia was really memorable, since I got to know more about my students," said Chapman. Additionally, different staff activities, such as yoga, basketball, book club and so on, which are held every night, have developed a sense of community that allows the teachers to socialize a lot, said Michael Stafford, who has been teaching physical education here for eight years.
"It is because of the dedication of our education team, operations team, parents and students along with the continued support from the government bodies, that we have banded together into a true community, supporting and respecting each other," said Joyce Pang.
Through annual community initiatives, such as the ISNS Cultural Fair, Charity Month in November, Anti-Bullying Week and seasonal celebrations, the school prides itself on fostering a welcoming, supportive and active family. "Successful growth of a school is not the work of one individual, but truly the hard work of a community," adds Joyce Pang.
"Since international education is the future, Chinese education, as a part of international education, must be connected with the world in educational philosophy, management strategy, curriculum and school culture. Most international schools in the city are located in Nanshan District. ISNS, serving as an international education institution for the children of expats, prides itself on its high-quality curriculum and advanced educational program experience. ISNS plays a key role in international education in Nanshan District," said Zhou Xinsen, deputy director of the Nanshan District Education Bureau.
"As we celebrate our 15th anniversary this year, we look to draw upon our experiences from the past to propel us forward to even greater success," said Swanson. "ISNS aims to be an international school of world-class caliber, offering students the best preparation for life that a school can offer."