Two Memorable Days
May 21, 2021
I am writing this week to comment on two important days in our school year, one just passed, the other scheduled to take place this coming Monday.
After a year of disruption, interruption, and sustained uncertainty, our Grade 12 students completed their International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (DP) examinations yesterday. To have reached this milestone in a year in which COVID-19 related school closures around the world were felt in every classroom is, in itself, a remarkable achievement. Our Grade 12 students, the Class of 2021, who will graduate, in person, at a formal ceremony hosted in the ISF Academy Auditorium on 11 June, have met every challenge with quiet determination and unyielding commitment to do their best, no matter the circumstances. I have commented at several Head of School Coffee Mornings about the impressive range of university and college acceptances achieved by this, our tenth, graduating class. At the time of writing, the 60 members of the Class of 2021 have received 362 offers from universities around the world, including the University of Oxford and Stanford University. These offers include just under $14 million in scholarships from some of the world’s most selective and prestigious tertiary institutions, including the University of Pennsylvania, the University of St Andrews, the University of Toronto, the University of British Columbia, the University of Hong Kong, to name just a few. The University of California (UC) extended a remarkable 46 offers to our students, including five from UC Berkeley, and three from UC Los Angeles.
As the Class of 2021 prepares to embark in the next phase of their personal and educational journeys, we must acknowledge with great pride their accomplishments and wish them every success for the future!
Next Monday, we are scheduled to resume full-day lessons for all ISF Academy students. In the course of a normal education for a child, a day spent attending classes at school should be unremarkable. However, in the current academic year, with the difficulties noted above, an occasion in which we can welcome all students on campus for a full day of learning is indeed a day to anticipate and celebrate. Since last August, our children, along with their parents, have endured a year that has been memorable, but for all the wrong reasons. From the first day of school in August, 2020, we have moved between online and in-class learning with alarming frequency, as the threat of COVID-19 forced learning online. We last offered full-day, in-class tuition at the end of November last year. Since the Chinese New Year holiday break, we have moved steadily towards our goal of resuming normal school operations. Most recently, with all faculty and staff participating in regular COVID testing, we have been able to resume close to the equivalent of a full day of tuition, albeit in a compressed form. Next Monday, however, we can resume something closer to a normal school day for our children and their parents, even when fully-masked and socially-distanced! It is a small, positive step forward at the end of a challenging year.
These two days are memorable for reasons that are closely linked: one, an ending of sorts, sees our Grade 12 students participate in their final school examinations; the other, a new beginning, sees all other students resume their own journey, in school and in person, towards the day when they too will graduate with pride and honor from The ISF Academy.
Dr. Malcolm Pritchard
Head of School