30 Mar, 2020
07 : 08
Jackson Chow spent 11 memorable years at YCIS Shanghai, attending from kindergarten to high school, before going abroad for university.
After all of these years, I consider Yew Chung part of my family. My brother, David, was the very first student enrolled at the YCIS Shanghai Hongqiao Campus, and my sister, Angela (Class of 2012), studied at Yew Chung for 16 years, from K2 until she graduated from high school. She is currently pursuing her doctoral degree at the University of Tokyo. When I take a moment to think about it, I realise that 12 members from my family are either alumni of Yew Chung or current students at Yew Chung!
People often ask why my family is so committed to Yew Chung. Well, that story goes back to my father's generation. The city of Hong Kong is crucial to my father's career, and since both my sister and I were born in Hong Kong, my parents wanted us to be part of the Yew Chung family as soon as YCIS Shanghai opened.
Yew Chung has had an unforgettable and meaningful impact on my life. Some of my classmates became my life-long friends, and we have been together for many milestones, including our matriculation at the same university - UBC, Canada. Post-university, we have continued to be part of each other's important events over the years, and I will always remember when they flew to Shanghai to witness one of the most important moments of my life: my wedding!
Although it has been years since I graduated from Yew Chung, I still have fond memories of its inclusiveness and the warm personal interest the teachers and staff had in all of the students.
In the years when I was at Yew Chung, there were not many students, so each grade typically consisted of three classes. Therefore, it was easy to get to know each other. My classmates were from all over the world, and most of them joined Yew Chung because of their parents' work in China. However, each year, some students had to return to their home countries as their parents were relocated. It was a natural routine for us to welcome new friends and wave goodbye to the old ones.
Students at Yew Chung come from diverse cultural backgrounds and have different ways of thinking. This diversity allowed us to naturally accept the differences of others and learn to be socially inclusive. Rather than forcing others to adapt to our cultural values, Yew Chung alum tend to understand and appreciate others' experience. Growing up with this diversity of thought and experience has positively impacted some of my lifelong decisions and career choices. I'm able to get along and make friends with people from all over the globe, and I am able to think in both eastern and western mindsets. This is why Yew Chung alum are truly ambassadors of the world, and this continues to benefit me today in my work today at ESPN China (A Walt Disney Company).
Beyond the inclusive atmosphere, I am also thankful for the school's culture of respect. At Yew Chung, respect was our way of life, permeating the culture of the campus. Everyone at the school, from bus drivers to ayis to teachers to staff, modelled the value of respect to us in their actions.
Recently, the school held an inauguration ceremony for the newly refurbished 'A Building' at the Hongqiao Campus. I was very touched to be part of this momentous occasion, and I enjoyed spending some time catching up with school leaders. I was also delighted that the school invited a number of retired ayis to join this meaningful event. Surprising enough, one of our lovely former ayis still remembered me and asked me to send her best wishes to my grandma. These heart-to-heart connections with my Yew Chung family are what I cherish most!
This is why I loved my time at Yew Chung. The school's atmosphere, the environment and the people, all taught us the true meaning of learning. The holistic education that the school provided moulded us into good students and good people.
In my opinion, a good teacher isn't necessarily someone who simply imparts knowledge but, rather, is someone who truly cares about their students and makes learning fun with their own unique charisma.
Thinking back, Mr and Mrs Polson are two of the teachers I remember most. My first impression of Mrs Polson was that she was a rather stern teacher whom some of the students found a bit intimidating. But as I spent more time with her and got to know her, I realised that she was actually a very sweet and caring teacher on top of being an excellent educator. Mr Polson, on the other hand, was more like a friend to us than a teacher. He would patiently listen to us and show concern, even when we were not in class. After I returned from Canada, we are able to see each other again and many happy tears were shed.
I could speak for days about the impact Yew Chung had on me. Words are not enough to describe my experiences and feelings. But when people ask me about my alma mater, I am always proud to tell them I attended Yew Chung International School of Shanghai. When people ask me which school I will send my children to, I always answer: "definitely Yew Chung!" And now we have great news - our young son will join YCIS Shanghai soon, and my wife and I could not be more thrilled that he will have the opportunity to study at this amazing school and carry on our family tradition.