Wuhan Maple Leaf's First Graduates

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June 12th 2010
Published: June 13th 2010
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Today was a big day at Wuhan Maple Leaf International School. After three years of 7am to 9pm school days, the first Grade 12 class has graduated. Not only did they complete the required courses for the British Columbia Graduation Certificate, in a second language I might add, they also fulfilled the requirements of the Hubei Province Chinese Graduation Certificate. Two nations, two languages, courses for two curriculums, two certificates. Definitely a special group of kids.

It was a brave group of parents that decided to send their children to this school three years ago. It was still under construction and we had a staff of about 12 teachers but the dream was big. There were other established Maple Leaf schools in other parts of China which helped to ease their uncertainty. Today there are over forty of us and growing.

Almost every student is headed off to university somewhere in the world. Most will study in Canada but the list of universities where most already have conditional acceptance covers a lot of territory. University of Alberta. UBC, St.Mary's, Acadia, University of Madrid, Washington University, York University, University of Toronto, College of the Rockies, Central Alabama.....the list goes on and on. They will find a very different life outside of China and we have tried to prepare them for what to expect as best we could.

Despite the fact that graduation ceremonies are not traditionally a big thing here, only parents of about five students were unable to make an appearance. This is a big deal for these parents and a very large investment to send their kids to Maple Leaf and then overseas to study as international students.

Each student was walked to the stage by one of their parents. When I entered the auditorium, I was accosted by Lucy, one of my grade 12s, to act as her Dad for the ceremony since none of her family were able to come. So I walked her "down the aisle", received a rose from her on the stage steps, gave her a hug and sent her on her way up to the stage to sit with the others. I have to admit it was a little emotional. I have been with all these kids since the first year and realize what a wonderful opportunity they have and the incredible journey they are about to undertake. Most have never been to North America.

As part of the ceremony, they sang a song of thanks to everyone that helped them along the way. And then each Grade 12 teacher was presented with a large bouquet of flowers by one of the students.

And so the traditions begin to be set. Along with the graduation ceremony we also will have the first yearbook.It will be interesting to see how the school develops as the years go by.

Additional photos below
Photos: 19, Displayed: 19


Les, our principal, congratulates the class.Les, our principal, congratulates the class.
Les, our principal, congratulates the class.

And as always. a student translates.

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