20 Oct, 2017
10 : 00
Last week, Yew Chung International School of Beijing celebrated Founder’s Day, marking the 85th Anniversary of the Yew Chung Education Foundation (YCEF). Though it began as a single kindergarten class in Hong Kong in 1932, YCEF has since grown into one of the world’s largest school networks with 34 campuses in Hong Kong, Mainland China and the US, providing education for students from kindergarten through Primary school, Secondary school, and even bachelor’s degree programmes in early childhood education.
But what exactly is the annual Founder’s Day celebration, and how does it help students and staff throughout the school network to feel a sense of togetherness and a common shared purpose? Don Collins, Head of Secondary at YCIS Beijing, shines further light on the event and the meaning of Founder’s Day.
10,000 Cheers & 10 Seconds of Spirit
One of the most important activities every Founder’s Day is the live broadcast connecting schools and students throughout the Foundation. Led by two student emcees from the YCIS Hong Kong Secondary campus, the video feed is watched by more than 10,000 students and staff who, when their school is called, stand, wave and cheer for “10 Seconds of Spirit” as a way to greet their sister schools.
When YCIS Beijing’s turn came, students had prepared an elaborate display of school spirit featuring six Chinese tanngu drums and a choreographed card stunt featuring a picture of YCEF founder Madame Tsang Chor-hang. Beijing’s short performance made every second count, garnering cheers and applause from all of the other school locations.
House Teams Reinforce Togetherness
The rest of the day saw activities in which students and staff were organized according to one of five House Teams – the Red Phoenixes, the Yellow Tigers, the Green Dragons, the Purple Monkeys and the Blue Mustangs. Wearing their House colours, teams engaged in friendly sports competitions towards the ultimate goal of aiding their House in winning the House Cup at the end of the academic year.
Yet more than simply an opportunity for fun and to celebrate YCEF’s 85th birthday, the House Cup is also emblematic of the unity and togetherness of the school community as a whole. The House Cup isn’t a way to create divisions amongst students, but rather, it’s a way to build bonds and relationships through a shared purpose. During the games, that purpose is to win. But with the House Cup students are reminded of the unity, shared purpose and values of the Yew Chung network as a whole.
85 Years of Community
As the House Cup illustrates, one of the things that sets YCIS Beijing apart from other schools is the strong sense of community and connectedness; there’s a palpable sense of belonging. And all of the activities during Founder’s Day were designed to bring even greater connectedness to the school.
During period 7, the auditorium was fill to capacity with students chanting for their House. When Primary school students were presenting their House banner and dance, Secondary students yelled and cheered at the top of their lungs – the room was alive with enthusiasm.
That same energy and feeling of connectedness isn’t present in many other schools. But at YCIS Beijing, there is a family environment. The school is large enough to present real options for students (in terms of course selection and facilities), but small enough that everyone knows one another. Students don’t get lost here the way they do at larger schools. That’s part of the advantage.
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