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SCIS Hongqiao: A Community of Growth, Support & Global Learning

By Dr. Amy Valerio, Upper School Principal at SCIS Hongqiao 

At Shanghai Community International School (SCIS), we pride ourselves on being a welcoming community that develops our students academically and personally. During the week before graduation, I asked several 2024 graduates to reflect on their time at SCIS. Several themes emerged that highlight the key components of an SCIS education: a nurturing environment, a diverse and inclusive community, a strong IBDP, supportive faculty, and a lifetime of experiences and memories 


A Welcoming Environment 

One of the most consistent themes among the students’ reflections is the supportive and inclusive community at SCIS. Students emphasize the welcoming nature of both teachers and peers, creating a familial atmosphere. As Chaeun Lee (who will study Psychology at The University of Hong Kong) put it, "The best things about SCIS are the students, the teachers, and the environment in the school!" This sentiment is echoed by Kaito Ohara Ang (who will study Finance and Asset Management at The University of Hong Kong) who described SCIS as a second home, stating, "I've been here already for 8 years and it feels like my home... it’s my second home, I can come back anytime." 


Diverse and Inclusive Community 

The diversity of the SCIS community is another highlight of the SCIS community. Students appreciate the opportunity to interact with peers from various cultural backgrounds, which enriches their learning and social experiences. Chaeeun recognizes this, "The community of SCIS was very diverse and it provided many growing opportunities for me, such as being able to meet many diverse people from many cultures and countries." This diversity fosters global citizenship and a deeper understanding of different perspectives, preparing students for a multicultural world. 


The IB Diploma Programme 

The International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme (DP) at SCIS plays a crucial role in our students’ academic journey, allowing students to study subjects of interest. Chaeeun expressed gratitude for the ability to choose subjects aligned with her future study of psychology, which would not have been possible in her home country. Kaito highlighted the rigorous nature of the IB Diploma, which prepared him for higher education, stating, "The IB Diploma Programme has been really meaningful to me as I was able to learn a lot of different languages. I was able to learn Chinese and improve my English and Japanese skills, and I was also able to explore subjects that I wasn't familiar with, such as chemistry and even business and economics, which I'm going to major in university. So, I was able to expand my knowledge.”  Jessie Chen (who will study illustration at The School of Visual Arts in New York) described the impact of the CAS, TOK, and EE opportunities, “I have been able to meet with other students which has allowed me to build my collaboration and communication skills.” 


Supportive Faculty and Extracurricular Opportunities 

SCIS students value their teachers and the strong relationships they have built over their time as students here. The teachers’ dedication to nurturing students' talents and interests has positively impacted them. As Ashika Govindan (who will be attending the Honors College at Rutgers University to study engineering) described, "Everybody here is so welcoming and kind and nurturing of your passions and what you're interested in."

Johnson Wei (who will attend Pennsylvania State University) said “The community has been meaningful to me, especially when the athletic programs. Throughout the ACAMIS tournament, I connected with my teammates a lot. And the SCIS community has been promoting the concept of inclusion which makes me feel good.” 


Memorable Experiences and Lasting Friendships 

Ashika identifies the special place that SCIS is, “It's a family that I'm a part of. I've moved around a lot in my life, and I have various families all over the world that I've made. And I say the SCIS community is my last school family because after this I'll be going to college, which is huge, and who knows what I'm going to find over there.” Minsoo Kwak (who will study electronics and information engineering at Imperial College London) acknowledges that "The sense of community extends beyond academics, students also will miss the communal spaces like the library, which serves as a hub for meeting friends and socializing. Lilian Chen (who will attend the University of London to study philosophy) nostalgically reflected on her time in the library, describing it as "a special place, not only for the books but it's where the friends hang out... it's a communal space." 

These students will all remember SCIS as a place beyond academics where students can thrive. The diverse community, dedicated faculty, and enriching extracurricular opportunities prepare students for the future and wherever life will take them.  


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