21 Oct, 2016
10 : 00
Last week, the Yew Chung International School of Beijing (YCIS Beijing) celebrated its 21st Founder’s Day with a full day of sports and celebration in remembrance of the founding of the Yew Chung Foundation more than 80 years ago.
Students and teachers alike greatly enjoy Founder’s Day thanks to the medley of fun activities and sports (plus the time off class!), but, sometimes the true meaning can be lost on observers. Christine Xu, teacher and Co-Principal at YCIS Beijing for 18 years, talked with us about the true meaning behind Founder’s Day.
What is Founder’s Day and what does it celebrate?
Having over 80 years is quite a long history for an educational institution, so our Founder’s Day is a time to remember and highlight this extensive history. We also commemorate the Yew Chung’s founder, Madam Tsang Chor-hang, and the value of the Yew Chung education model.
What is the importance of Founder’s Day?
Founder’s Day serves to emphasize the school motto as well as the values of Madam Tsang Chor-hang. Two statues in our lobby in particular express these values. The first is of her in her Principal role greeting the children each morning. She did this every day, emphasizing the message that educators should be loving towards their students. The other statue is one of the Bible with “shuzi.” The values and character education classes we teach at Yew Chung schools are based upon Christian moral values, such as love, charity, and kindness to others.
We also use this as an opportunity to celebrate what we’ve accomplished and how we’ve grown. This year, we shared the success of the Beijing Yaohua school opening in Beijing as well as the Yew Chung Community College in Hong Kong. This celebration of the growth reminds everyone that we are the ones building this storied Yew Chung history. Discussing this idea of legacy helps students appreciate their impact on the institution and how important what they do today is for the future.
What are some of the traditions that take place during the celebration?
The most impressive part of the day is the shared broadcast across all the Yew Chung campuses. This helps to build the identity amongst students and staff that you are a member of a larger Yew Chung family across the country and across the world. This in turn helps to foment a connection between yourself and history; as a part of a larger group, you can really feel the impact that you’re making.
Of course, students and staff love the sports and games that take place on the day. Sports, besides being fun, increases the feeling of comradery and familial feeling. House-based competition also offers a friendly spirit of competition and comradery with their classmates.
What makes YCIS Beijing’s founder and her vision unique among international schools in China?
The uniqueness of the city of Hong Kong where the mission and values of Yew Chung were originally developed. The city and environment aided and influenced them in developing this unique model of co-teaching and truly global education. If you consider the tumultuous historical events that have transpired in Hong Kong over the past 80 years, Yew Chung’s staying power is a testament to the perseverance and drive of the founders and educators as well as the strength and quality of the education model presented.
To see more photos from our 2016 Founder's Day, please visit our Flickr page!