It is graduation time and a time to celebrate achievement. We often associate achievement in a very literal sense– as a certificate, a diploma, something we can write onto our Curriculum Vitae. Those perfectly crafted words printed on glossy cardstock are actually just decoration or packaging. When we “unwrap” our achievements, there we see the story, the journey which has transformed us. I like to think of Achievement as action- it’s something you have experienced, such as picking yourself up after you’ve fallen down, being brave to face a challenge which terrifies you, an act of kindness by putting someone else’s needs before your own. Achievement is emotional, there were tears, there was laughter, there was pain, there was friendship.
“There is, at this school, a singular abiding faith, that, with the industry of my own two hands and a determined loving heart, I will give birth to something very beautiful. It is this ethic that is at the very core of leadership,” these words spoken by John Cucinello, Director of Community and Service, at the Class of 2017 graduation. Since its inception, being inspired to take action is at the heart of WISS and the cornerstone of the IB. As a community, we are committed to “inspiring minds to shape the future” and our shared vision with the IB is “to create a better and more peaceful world“. This ethos is cultivated when we as a community help each other believe in ourselves. The knowledge and skills learned through our academics, together with the attitudes of the IB Learner Profile are how we will bring peace- with creativity, with innovation, with heart. This is what WISS is all about.
Recently, Primary hosted the PYP Exhibition- the culminating project for all students at the end of the PYP (Grade 5). Exhibition is where students delve into an extensive research project about a topic they are inspired to share about. Students are guided by mentors from start to finish who are there to help keep the students on track, give feedback and encouragement and believe in them (see Haeyshna Aravind’s article about the whole process here). Romi, Bianca, Jasmine, Marius and Iñigo all inquired into the topic “Human Impact on Animals”. They were inspired by what they have seen in their lives about the treatment of animals. They completed extensive, deep research, analysis and thinking. The Staging Day was their call to action–a way to express their learning using different mediums of communication to inform their audience. Romi and Bianca created a comic book educating people about animal testing using their research from interviews with a Portuguese Animal Research Ethics Professor. Jasmine published a storybook for children about whales in captivity. Marius and Iñigo penned an original musical composition, “Standing in the Dirt” about animal cruelty. Inspired. Action. Achievement.
Vivian Hsiao, Grade 10 speaker at the MYP graduation ceremony eloquently said, “School was not about achieving perfection but learning from failures.” Attaining any type of achievement is a journey–a pursuit full of ups and downs. The vision of WISS has always been to be world-class learning institution where students can pursue what they love to the highest level of achievement. As parents and teachers, we walk alongside our students giving them guidance, cheering them on but letting them lead the way. They stumble, they fall, they go a different path, but their road to achievement is personal, it’s their own. And when they reflect on what they have achieved, it’s not the pieces of papers or the extra lines filled on their CV which will matter, but it’s the journey they will remember and the community which believed in them.