CDNIS students say goodbye after 15 great years
Canadian International School of Hong Kong (CDNIS) has had a big impact on the city during its brief 27-year history. And this May, the school will celebrate another milestone as members of its first ever Pre Reception class will walk across the stage and collect their diplomas after attending the school for 15 years. Five star pupils from this inaugural Pre Reception class, set to graduate this year, spoke about their time at one of Hong Kong’s top international schools.
“I’ve never really seen this place as a school, it’s more like a second home,” said Eugenie, who plans to study at a Canadian university in the fall.
“Even though people in the school come from different cultural backgrounds and the school is very welcoming to everyone, there is definitely a ‘Canadian vibe’”, said Eugenie, who has been part of the school’s volleyball and touch rugby teams throughout secondary school. “It’s hard to explain, we’re just really friendly and nice to each other.”
But the school doesn’t just nurture athletes. Jackie, who was recently accepted into the musical theatre programme at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, said CDNIS’ creative programmes helped him become the person he is today.
“Through the school I was able to be a part of theatre, music, and art clubs, all of which helped me decide to pursue musical theatre,” he said. “My counselor has also done a great job of helping me pursue my college dreams and getting me excited for the next adventure. But still, after 15 years here, there are things I will miss.”
Jackie said that CDNIS has an “extremely inclusive” student community.
“I have friends in other international schools, and I know that things get to be a bit cliquey,” he said. “It’s not like that here; we’re so well integrated, there are no groups that aren’t willing to hang out. We are always together as a unit.”
Charlotte, a mathematician who hopes to study Economics at a university in the UK, said CDNIS has always had extremely caring teachers who are willing to go the extra mile – both inside and outside of the classroom.
“The school has a really good balance of academics and extracurricular activities,” she said. “Teachers are very knowledgeable and helpful about their subjects, but also encourage students to pursue interests outside of the classroom. For example, all five of us are very different people with very different interests, but the school has allowed each of us to pursue what we love.”
Vance, for example, has a passion for service work, as the leader of the school’s Model United Nations.
“The school specialises in giving students opportunities,” said Vance, who received the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and will most likely attend the University of Exeter on a full scholarship. “For example, there are many student led initiatives in which students can start their own projects. They can find teachers to supervise them, but the students still have the freedom to set the direction for their initiatives. This provides students with the type of autonomy you wouldn’t get in most other schools. This opportunity has been brilliant, and something I’m very grateful for.”
Finally, Nicole, who was recently accepted into the University of Pennsylvania, isn’t yet sure where her passions lie, as she’s still figuring out what to study. Still, she said CDNIS has prepared her for what lies ahead at one of the world’s top universities.
“The teachers are so supportive and encouraging which has helped me as a student and an individual, so I’m ready for my post-secondary education.”
All five students shared their favourite memories, which encompassed a wide array of experiences. For Jackie and Nicole, they recall travelling to various countries and doing service work during the school’s “Experience Weeks”. For Eugenie, it was participating in sports tournaments against other schools in the region.
Charlotte remembers travelling overseas for the CMAC – a Mathematics competition in which she got to meet and bond with “mathletes” from around the world. Vance’s favourite memory took place on campus, as he recalls hosting an MUN conference for 200 students from other international schools.
And although these five superstars are sad to be saying goodbye, they are confident that, with the help of social media and the school’s tightknit alumni network, they’ll be friends forever as members of the CDNIS family.
“Some of the things that surprise me most is talking to people who came to CDNIS 2-3 years ago, and they always say it’s crazy that we’ve been here for 15 years,” Vance said. “15-years is the majority of our lives and it feels weird to be moving somewhere else. To be honest, it’s a little daunting.”
“But I think our time here was well spent and I’m quite excited for the next chapter of our lives. I’m pretty sure we’re all going to keep in touch, and I hope we’ll see each other a lot in the future.”