WISS is my happy and safe place, where I can completely be myself without worrying even a bit. It’s where I can laugh and see my friends every day and escape all the stress going on in my life. WISS is where I come every morning and immediately forget about any worries or anxieties, even when things are difficult, the second I walk through the school gates, everything is okay.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get to experience that in my final year of high school, I didn’t get to see the little kids running around in the field and feel the joy and excitement in between classes. And let me explain why; I have been studying online since February of 2020, back then I had no idea I would even be writing these words. Studying online during Grade 12 was an emotional rollercoaster, some days were great, and some were more challenging, but the one thing that was and will always be the same is how supportive my teachers were. There aren’t enough words to describe how incredibly grateful I am for my teachers for getting me through this crazy year.
Due to the COVID situation, I spent eight months in Israel, learning to adapt to the new normal of online learning. In September 2020, my family and I made the decision to move to Taiwan, as a result of China closing borders. So with very little things, a new journey began. I will be honest, I was nervous, but I knew everything was going to be alright because I had so much support from the staff at WISS. As the months went by, online learning started to feel more normal and I’ve created habits to stay productive but also enjoy my time in Taiwan. Today,
I’m a WISS graduate, pursuing a career in Photography and looking forward to the next chapter in my life. And I would never be where I am today if it weren’t for COVID and all the adventures it brought along with it. I took all the anger and frustrations I felt, and turned them into motivation to rise above the challenges and even create powerful artworks that portrayed my story. Most of all, I don’t think I would’ve been able to complete my last year of high school remotely if I wasn’t blessed with such amazing teachers.
You’re probably wondering why I’ve told you all of this. Well, I wanted to write this because my goal is to inspire the current students at WISS and show them that even though I haven’t had the most ideal conditions for studying, and even though things were tough, I still learned and developed in almost all aspects, and you can too! Especially when studying at such an amazing school, the opportunities are endless. To the soon-to-be Grade 12s; take advantage of every minute of this year, it’ll only happen once and you have the power to make it unforgettable. Yes, it won’t be easy, but in a year from now, you’ll get to be where I am today and look back with a smile on your face and be proud of everything you’ve accomplished. You are incredibly lucky to be WISS members, enjoy every class, break, event, and moment of your final high school year! I hope you have learned from my story that anything is possible if you’re determined. I’ll end with a quote which you’ve all probably heard of but I truly believe in, “everything happens for a reason”. You may not realize it now or maybe even in a few months, but eventually, you’ll understand, I promise. Everything that happens is part of your story and the difficult chapters are those that make you stronger.
Thank you to the Western International School of Shanghai for giving me an unforgettable high school experience, all the best to the class of 2022!
By Noam Segev, WISS Graduate