Back to School and Leaving School

Apr 22, 2022

It has been a significant week for our school with the resumption of face-to-face classes after a prolonged period of online learning during the fifth wave of COVID-19 in Hong Kong. I am sure everyone in our community is relieved to be returning to something approaching a normal schedule! While we are still adapting to the new conditions connected to class resumption, we hope that this is the start of an orderly transition back to regular routines in the lives of our families.

This week is significant for another reason. Today, we bid farewell to members of the Class of 2022 who have had their final formal lessons before sitting for their International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme (DP) examinations, scheduled to commence in late April. For these 60 students, their educational and personal journeys over the past two years have been disrupted and challenging, at times absurd, and perhaps a little surreal. Typically, this is a time in the lives of most adolescents, when the demands of the final years of school education come to a finely honed point of focus and effort in preparation for whatever comes next in the adult lives awaiting beyond the school gates. Instead, our graduating class has endured endless disruption and distraction with closures, online learning, phased resumptions, modified timetables, and adapted assessments – all the while coping with what the future will no doubt judge as a major event in the history of humanity. While they have not endured in isolation, we must spare a thought for the particular pressures and stresses that come to bear at this point in the life of a young person.

It is all the more remarkable to consider that with all these uniquely challenging elements, that members of the Class of 2022 have received an incredible number and range of offers from the world’s leading and most selective colleges and universities to continue their formal education at tertiary level after summer. Previous graduating classes have done extremely well in securing offers from prestigious institutions around the globe. This year’s graduating class seems poised to set an even higher benchmark in this endeavor.

After lodging more than 1,000 applications, the Class of 2022 has received more than 400 offers from 140 tertiary institutions in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Hong Kong, Ireland, Australia, and China. Accompanying these offers are numerous scholarships totaling more than HK$10 million. The list of institutions is too long to detail here, but includes the following famous universities: Tsinghua, Stanford, Princeton, Cornell, Dartmouth, Yale, Pennsylvania, Chicago, Johns Hopkins, Pomona, Berkeley, Los Angeles, Oxford, Cambridge, LSE, Toronto, McGill, British Columbia, and Sydney. The University of California alone made 63 offers. In a time of global crisis, our senior students have almost miraculously forged numerous pathways to the world’s leading universities.

One pleasing aspect of these offers is the truly impressive range of courses being pursued by ISF students, reflecting a remarkable breadth of interest and talent. Perhaps unsurprisingly STEM related courses make up nearly 40% of the total number of offers, including Medicine, Physics, Engineering, Chemistry, Computer Science. Other notable interests include Classics (Oxford and Stanford), Music (Royal of Academy of Music) and the Arts (Emily Carr, Central St Martins and Rhode Island School of Design).

With such a bright future awaiting members of the Class of 2022, there is still the time of testing in their IB studies just around the corner. I am sure the entire ISF community will join me in wishing each member of our graduating class an uneventful, undisrupted, and above all healthy examination season in the coming weeks!



Dr. Malcolm Pritchard

Head of School