[Head of School] Year 12 Farewells

At our modified Year 12 Valedictory Assembly on Tuesday morning, it was heartwarming to hear the Year 12 graduates speak so positively and lovingly about their time at AISHK.

Interestingly, they didn’t speak about grades, results or academic achievements, but instead they spoke glowingly about their overwhelming positive experiences during their time at AISHK.

First and foremost, the students highlighted the incredibly strong bonds they had formed with each other, the strength of the friendships they have developed and the inclusivity of the group. There was a genuine feeling of kindness, care, support and empathy for one another.

Secondly, the students mentioned the wonderful relationships they created with their teachers. They emphasised the dedication and commitment of the staff to go above and beyond. The connections which had been formed between staff and students and the great respect the students have for their teachers were obvious to all who were listening. I am a firm believer that an excellent educator is one who connects with students.

Lastly, the students spoke about the myriad of opportunities they have been so fortunate to experience during their time at AISHK. They referenced Activity Week, sporting trips all over Asia, MUN conferences and Service Learning Activities. The students expressed their appreciation and gratitude for all that had been on offer to them throughout their Secondary years and they encouraged the younger students to make the most of these opportunities.

Listening to each of the student speakers, I felt a great deal of affirmation and pride, as what I was hearing from the students echoed and supported my ideas about what thirteen years of schooling should achieve. Whilst academic results are important, in my view the development of character and strong moral, ethical and community values are what we really aspire to develop in our young people. During these years of formal schooling we hope that students develop empathy and a sense of compassion for others, the ability to connect with others and form lasting friendships, the skills to be able to communicate articulately with a variety of audiences, to be able to appreciate and celebrate diversity and difference in each other and the capacity to be resilient and adaptable in times of challenge and adversity.

I’ve always thought that one of the indicators of success in a school is when students are sad to leave, especially at the end of Year 12. I’ve always said that if you are sad to leave a place then it generally means that you’ve enjoyed your time there. There were more than a few tears shed this week by our Year 12s, their parents and staff, which indicates to me just how much the Year 12 students enjoyed their time at AISHK, and the overwhelmingly positive impression they have left on our school community.

There is no doubt that after the year they have experienced in 2020, our Year 12 graduates deserve our heartfelt congratulations and best wishes, and as a school we have much to be proud of, producing such an outstanding group of graduates.

Mark Hemphill | Head of School