'Empowering the Future' — YCIS Gala Forges New Collaborative Spirit
YCIS Shanghai Puxi and Pudong held their first ever YCIS Shanghai Gala on 20 November bringing together students, parents, teachers and alumni. The event was a celebration of the spirit, dedication and compassion of student leaders who have tirelessly served their community.
As the first independent international school in Shanghai approved by the Chinese government in 1993, YCIS Shanghai has followed the school motto ‘align with love and charity’. The school has consistently encouraged active engagement with social uplift. It was among the first cohort of international schools that delivered ‘Project Hope’ under the auspices of the Shanghai Education Development Foundation.
In 1994, the YCIS Special Fund – supporting holistic education and innovative learning – was officially established under the management of Shanghai Education Development Foundation.
In the run up to the 90th anniversary celebrations of YCYW Education, YCIS Shanghai hosted an ‘Empowering the Future’ gala to raise funds for a scholarship programme aimed at recognising current and future students for academic excellence, community service, student activities, sports, and other accomplishments. The fund will also support a student-led service learning project – ‘Hope Beans’ – to raise money for children requiring cleft palate surgery, and for families living with AIDS in Yunnan.
Five students from Pudong and Puxi campuses presented some exceptional music – ‘Writing Down the Story of My Life’ and ‘What I’ve been looking for’ – choreographed by iStage Academy, a performing arts organisation.
YCIS Shanghai Puxi students offered a poignant rendition of ‘The Merchant of Voice’, a song by our late Music Director Gary Sanderson.
A lively video track showed these performers blossoming from kindergarten and primary years when they first joined YCIS Shanghai. It was a memorable moment.
The development of a YCIS student depends on direction and motivation from the school, guidance from the family and regular support and contributions from our community. Over the years, countless YCIS parents and community members have supported us with donations, resources, and platforms to help students. These initiatives have helped students gain fresh perspectives as they challenge themselves to become courageous and compassionate individuals.
A video of a virtual chat between YCIS students and four parent donors offered a glimpse into the hopes and dreams these parents have for the future, as the participants explored the meaning of charity, success and love.
The auction for ‘Empowering the Future’ received generous support from YCIS parents and partners and featured over 70 items touching upon academics, art, music, sport and travel. The list included a ‘Principal for a Day’ experience, a performance opportunity and master class at Jazz at Lincoln Center Shanghai, and a two-week summer course at Oxford University. Christmas getaways, abstract paintings by emerging French artist Timothée Bocage, as well as ancient Chinese literature and antiques, were also on the auction block.
Artist-in-Residence Haruka Ostley donated a watercolour painting as a token of appreciation for the help she received from the community during a recent battle with her health. The koi fish symbolised the strength and courage she drew from this extended family.
Emma Mak has two daughters at YCIS Shanghai Puxi. The elder one has been with Yew Chung for 10 years, and the younger for eight. Both have benefited greatly from the music education offered at the school. Emma’s gift was in the form of handmade dolls for the auction. Her statement was clear: all children are unique, and their enthusiasm and passion should be respected while cultivating traits like kindness, honesty and empathy. These are the qualities that help them build relationships and transcend geographical boundaries.
Among the parent volunteers working with Emma on her doll project were Bega Ng and Jo Koh. Emma was overcome by emotion upon completion of the project. Her patient hard work was a reflection of the Yew Chung spirit.
With well-known auctioneer Alan Ling expertly wielding the gavel, parents and friends of Yew Chung excitedly grabbed paddles to bid on over 70 items and eventually rustled up over RMB 3.5 million.
Alvin and Timothy, two key drivers of the YCIS Shanghai Puxi parent organisation as well as the gala fundraising committee, arranged 101 ‘mystery boxes’ for sale. These were eagerly picked up almost immediately. The number 101 denotes ‘excellence’ over and above a top score of 100.
At the end of the auction, the students leading the ‘Hope Beans’ project came up to the stage to share their vision. The group worked with organic coffee bean suppliers in Yunnan. The exercise demonstrated that students could acquire practical business skills while also serving the community, a key element of the scholarship programme.
The gala came to a close with a stunning classical opera performance by Christine Kuo, a soprano with the Puccini Opera House, Italy, along with Aleksy Kornicz and Wu Weiting from the Kingdom Music Training Centre.
The night was a huge success, greatly due to the help provided by our parent volunteers and staff. A special thanks goes to our gala organising committee for their tremendous support.