How YCIS Shanghai Embodies the Olympic Spirit

On August 8, the 17-day Olympic Games came to an end in Tokyo, Japan. Though people across the world were—and still are—separated by the pandemic, the event succeeded in bringing them back together through solidarity, friendship, mutual understanding, and fairness. This unity through sport created one spectacular and moving moment after another.

Since its founding in 1993, YCIS Shanghai has placed great emphasis on sports. Beyond physical fitness, we hope that students can understand the spirit behind different sports, developing valuable and intangible skills that are useful on and off the field. We share this philosophy with the Olympic Games.

Today, we delve into the stories of four students to see how they embody the Olympic spirit.

I.

In 2008, YCIS Shanghai student Natasha was honoured to be the 46th torchbearer for the Beijing Olympics when the torch passed through Shanghai.This level of responsibility might have seemed demanding for a teenager, but it was one that Natasha took in her stride. From a young age, she showed a high level of maturity and regularly participated in charity events inside and outside of school. Natasha’s actions closely aligned with the Olympics’ motto "One World, One Dream". She said at the time that she believed that although people may be of different races or religions, cultures, or philosophies, they should seek common ground and be united in the increasingly globalised era.

II.

Troy graduated from YCIS Shanghai as a member of the latest Class of 2021 cohort. As a sports team captain and prefect at YCIS Pudong, he led the basketball and volleyball teams, achieving one impressive result after another. However, in his opinion, it is not the competition ranking that is most important, but rather the growth achieved through competing where the true value of sport lies. He and his teammates developed a deep friendship, "not just as a team, but as a family."

Throughout his six years at YCIS Shanghai, Troy had the opportunity to participate in various activities and was encouraged to become a better learner and leader as his confidence grew.

III.

In 2019, YCIS Shanghai alumnus Zakea (Class of 2017) received the news that he had won the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) medal design competition for the Winter Youth Olympic Games Lausanne 2020. His winning design appeared on the gold, silver, and bronze medals.

Zakea spent time at both YCIS Puxi and Pudong before going on to study Creative Media at Massey University in his home country of New Zealand.He later combined his creative and sporting passions into an incredible work of performance art, coating a ball in ink and using his hockey stick to create art, integrating sporting equipment into his artist's toolkit. 

Zakea explained the background of his design, saying “It was inspired by Maya Angelou’s quote, ‘In diversity there is beauty’. This is fitting because the Youth Olympic Games are not only a celebration of human excellence but also of culture and humanity. The spiral represents a culture of respect, friendship, and excellence as young athletes gather at the Youth Olympic Games to celebrate their success. The spiral also celebrates the journey of hard work and dedication made by each individual athlete. These journeys are specific to each athlete, but they all lead to the Youth Olympic Games, where the athletes will compete and showcase their abilities.”

YCIS Puxi Secondary Art & Design Teacher, Mr Regimon Augustine, who taught Zakea during his time at the school, reacted to his former student’s success: “Everyone at the school is so proud of Zakea and his achievement. He is a fully-fledged artist, full of creativity. In my class, it was clear that he was especially talented and possessed a creative outlook. He was very forward-thinking, always drawing inspiration on the latest, modern trends in art and design. Zakea’s medal design was the worthiest winner.”

IV.

When Annie moved to YCIS Puxi as a Year 6 student, language was the first hurdle she faced. To improve her English skills, Annie joined the English as an Additional Language (EAL) foundation class. She interacted with her native English-speaking classmates and teachers both inside and outside the classroom and increased her proficiency through additional self-study. In just half a semester, she made the jump to the intermediate level and gradually fully adapted to the school's mainstream English classes for native-level speakers.

Despite being elected by her peers to join the Student Council in Year 9, Annie turned down the opportunity as she did not feel ready. In Year 12, with encouragement and self-motivation, she first became a member of the student leadership team and then successfully ran for School Captain. What a difference a few years can make!

Annie described herself as a person who often got nervous. After overcoming the barriers that she thought impossible, she became more and more outgoing and willing to try new things and slowly stepped out of her comfort zone.

🌍

The Olympic spirit emphasises the benefits of challenging oneself. The same is true of the YCIS educational philosophy. The school believes that children do not compete against other children but that the greatest opponent of each child is themself. Therefore, we provide every opportunity for students to climb to the top and reach their full potential.
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