19 Jun, 2018
10 : 00
Good morning, and welcome to our last Flag Raising Ceremony of the academic calendar. We have observed these occasions all year, in Autumn, Winter, Spring and Summer, different times of year with different weathers, but with one purpose, to celebrate our community and to pay respect to our nation.
Last night, I had the privilege of enjoying the sunset on the beach in Kaifaqu (Economic and Technological Development Zone) with family and friends. We are blessed to live in Yantai in such beautiful surroundings, to live in peace, security and harmony. Yet we live in a world of turmoil and change, and my hope and prayers are that we can reconcile our differences and move forward as one people. Our community can be an example to others.
I took some, but little, pleasure on Friday having you throwing water balloons and cream pies at me, but Mr Jeremy and I did this for several reasons. To show that school is fun, as it should be, to show that we are real people, not just teachers and administrators, and to show that we are willing to sacrifice our dignity to help others – the money that we raised so easily for a few short minutes of discomfort, and the efforts that you all made to raise money for Seeds of Hope, is incalculable to those who will receive it. You have changed lives.
I was deeply proud of you all on Friday as we celebrated International Day, students, teachers and parents, those who have heard the message of unity and community which we have promoted this year. Those messages have been about reminding us that we are not defined as individuals, nor can we simply hold one country as dear or one perspective as true, but that we need to work to share an understanding that strengthens us all, and we need to be understanding and forgiving.
We are joined today by our K5 students who will soon become Grade 1, and welcome to them all. They may know few of the words, and it will take many years for them to fully comprehend the significance of these occasions, but despite their young age, they will understand that our meeting together today is serious, solemn and important.
We are coming to the final weeks of the school year. Our Character Trait is Creativity, and I would like to pay tribute to all those students and staff who have given up their weekends recently to display our holistic education in action.
Yet for all our students, I would urge that you consider “constancy” and “patience”. The holiday will come soon – your rest and that of your teachers is close. But now is the time to give your best, even if you have not done so all year, to prove that you can do it even if you or others have doubts, and to build a strong foundation for the future.
The scholar Lao Tse says that when a good leader has done his job, the people will say “we did it ourselves.” I don’t claim to be an especially good leader, but I will say – teachers, and students, you have supported this School through a difficult year, and I thank you all.
This is also our 85th anniversary year, and I have constantly reflected on the vision of Madam Tsang Chor-hang. She was a believer. A believer in God, but also in the power of the human spirit and the resolve of conviction.
Let us remember her becoming a Principal at 19 without the skills and experience she required, in a war-ravaged landscape. Let us remember the staff who went months unpaid so that the children could be fed and heated. Let us remember the humility and purpose with which she lived and worked and passed on to us.
Our world and our organisation has grown far more complicated than she perhaps ever would have imagined, bur she remains an icon and an inspiration to us all. Her vision remains and we can be proud of what we have accomplished in her memory:
Yew Wah will align with
Science and Technology
Culture and Arts
Love and Charity.