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Shekou International School & International School Services Celebrate 30-year partnership in SZ
Date: 2019-05-13

The student choir and band of Shekou International School perform at Thursday’s event. Photos courtesy of Shekou International School

(From L to R) Lai Qiaozhen with China Merchants Shekou; Chen Nanxian, founding head of Yucai Education Group; Guan Su, a counselor with the Shenzhen Municipal Education Bureau; Liu Genping, director of the Nanshan District Education Bureau; Xia Guangzhi, vice dean of Shenzhen Graduate School, Tsinghua University; Dale Cox, vice president of International School Services, Asia Pacific; Greg Smith, head of Shekou International School; Chris Unger, former principal investigator of Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts; and Michael Ludwick, founder of Near West, pose for a photo at the G&G Creative Community in Shekou on Thursday.

This year, Shekou International School (SIS) celebrates 30 years of providing expatriate students with the highest standard of education and a truly international experience in Shekou.

International School Services (ISS), a not-for-profit organization based in Princeton, the U.S., is celebrating more than 60 years of providing quality services for a wide range of educational institutes around the world. The relationship between SIS and ISS began in 2004 when SIS signed over full ownership and governance to ISS.

In honor of their partnership, SIS and ISS held a three-day celebration from Thursday to Saturday, at the G&G Creative Community in Shekou, kicking it off with an official joint ceremony Thursday morning for leaders from the Shenzhen government, as well as education and commerce, who spoke about SIS’s contributions to the development of Shenzhen and its role at the forefront of international education.

“On behalf of the Shenzhen education bureau, I would like to express my deep appreciation for the contribution SIS has made to the international community in Shenzhen,” said Guan Su, a counselor with the Shenzhen Municipal Education Bureau. “It is my hope to see more collaboration amongst our international schools and local schools, to promote cross-cultural understanding and communication between our faculties and students.”

“More than 1,000 expatriate families call SIS home,” said Liu Genping, director of the Nanshan education bureau, “...along with all international schools in the region, SIS has contributed to the 6,500 expatriate families from all over the world who have chosen Shenzhen as a place to work, raise families and contribute to the development of our great city.”

“SIS and China Merchants Shekou (CMSK) are deeply related, with the genes of our ‘Shekou’ identity,” said Lai Qiaozhen with CMSK. “ISS has supported SIS with world-class resources and educational expertise,” she added, “we look forward to great collaboration to create a brilliant future together.”

Chen Nanxian, the founding head of Yucai Education Group, also shared fond memories from the early days of SIS, explaining how his involvement and collaboration with the leadership of SIS and ISS over the years has helped to form and develop the SIS of today.

Dr. Chris Unger from Northeastern University in Boston in the U.S state of Massachusetts, and Xia Guangzhi from Shenzhen Graduate School, Tsinghua University also had opportunities to present their visions for the future of education.

Later that same evening, the SIS community came together for a celebration with students, teachers and parents, where SIS performing arts students performed several beautiful pieces, involving 65 band students and 130 choral students. Additionally, an all-school art exhibition represented the development of creativity and skills in SIS students from Pre-K through Grade 12.

On Friday evening, the French community in Shenzhen came together for a soiree to celebrate the coinciding 10th anniversary of the SIS Programme Francais Bilingue. The French Bilingual Program offered at SIS began in 2009 and was approved by the French Ministry of National Education in 2012.

The culmination of the three-day celebration concluded on a high with the SIS Parent Support Association’s (PSA) inaugural gala, “Back to the 80s,” on Saturday evening, themed in recognition of the year of SIS’s founding, 1988. Nine members of the PSA, led by PSA president Poppy Tedja, worked tirelessly for months to prepare for the gala, which also supported the Liang Jin Foundation.

“This gala represents the PSA’s contribution to the SIS 30th anniversary celebrations,” said Tedja, adding that they “chose the venue, the G&G Creative Community, to showcase the creativity of our students.”

Throughout the numerous events, the theme of community was recurrent, with the message “Once a Gecko, always a Gecko” on everyone’s lips. The SIS community was able to hear testimony from two wonderful SIS alumni speakers Carly Fraser (Class of 2017) and Sandy Uy (Class of 2009), who provided inspiring insights into their years at SIS and beyond.

“My advice for current SIS students would be to take advantage of the opportunities you have been given. Learn as many languages as you can. Make connections with a variety of people. Educate yourself on more aspects than just academic, and strive to be a compassionate, well-informed citizen,” advised Fraser, adding “Thank you SIS for being such a huge contribution in teaching me so many lessons, and helping me learn the true value of what it means to be a global citizen.”

“I am beyond honored to be able to stand here today in front of you to share a glimpse of what SIS means to me,” shared Uy. “They say it takes a village to raise a child, I am forever grateful for my SIS tribe, thankful for lifetime lessons, unimaginable experiences and for my forever friends turned family.”

SIS is located in a unique location where the innovation and vibrancy of China is most active, and is proud to be the oldest and most trusted international school in Shenzhen.

“Our community is proud of our reputation as a truly international school with strong academics and care for each student. We are inspired by the success of our city of Shenzhen and look forward to your trust for another 30 years,” said Greg Smith, head of SIS.

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