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Embrace the Future

Dear students, parents, and teachers,

Good morning!

Every year, Director LIU Qin asks your Homeroom Teachers to collect the highlights of your studies and lives for me to prepare for the speech that I am giving today. This year, as I went through the six full pages of printed materials, I felt so delighted and proud of you.

From these materials, I saw in front of me the wonderful life that all the members of the Class of 2016 have experienced. I also saw a splendid picture of your promising future. We have among us the ballerina, the Photographer's Association member, the bridge champion, the violinist, the pianist, the arts talent, the rapper, and many more. We have geniuses for science and technology, whose projects were accredited by professionals of different levels, and academic stars, who have repeatedly broken the AMC records and have won the MUN Best Delegate. We also have a great number of brilliant club leaders, who are caring, public-spirited, and have exceptional management skills. I am deeply impressed not only by our students’ individual talents but also by their cohesiveness as a team. As we know, many graduates of this class got admitted to Harvard, Yale, Cambridge, and other prestigious institutions, but most of them declined press interviews. I appreciate their low-profile and moderate attitude. “Follow your own course, no matter what people say.”

I have not listed the names of the students I mentioned earlier because I wish to leave them for you to find out. I’d like to say, every student seated here today is amazing. Whether your name is printed on the six pages of your Homeroom Teachers’ sweet memories or not, each one of you is a success at our school. After today, you will leave your Alma Mater for all corners of the world to further your studies. I hope all of you will open your mind and embrace the future.

Recently, the Harvard graduation speech by Dr. HE Jiang, a young Chinese man from a village in Hunan Province, caused a big stir, and HE Jiang has become an exemplar for many students. Compared with the news articles, in my opinion, the speech itself is worth more of our attention. Perhaps very few of us were bitten by spiders, but many must have had the experience of the “gua sha” treatment in childhood. In rural areas of China, it is a commonplace to use folk remedies for children’s illnesses, yet I was touched by HE Jiang’s speech because of his ardent aspiration to “change the world” and help others.

If we take one’s lifetime as an interval, then each day, each month, or even each year will be a mere dot or segment in retrospect. In this sense, a positive attitude towards life is to open your mind and embrace the future rather than being too particular about successes or setbacks for a time. Then how to embrace the future with an open mind? This is a question for all of us. As far as I’m concerned, we may start from three words: “follow your heart”, which means do what you find interesting and rewarding according to your own thoughts. That is where your future lies, and that is where ideals and reality come together.

Sometimes, we should not think too much. When an old person falls down, go help her up, and do not worry about the blood stain on your white shirt. Other times, however, we should think a little more - about the life in our dreams and responsibilities on our shoulders. No one foresees the future, but the “unexpected” is not equal to the “unknown”. If we keep in mind what we value, believe in the common goodness of humanity, persist in service to society, and—when science, technology, and innovation become the tags of our age—if we simplify our life and follow our heart, then the foundations for the future shall be laid. And when we look back, we will find the future right in our hands.

Dear graduates, after today, you will walk beyond this beautiful campus of Shanghai High School International Division and become alumni of SHSID. Two months later, you will leave your parents and embark on a new journey from another starting point in your life. I’d like to offer my best wishes to you all. Quoting scholar YANG Jiang’s remarks to Tsinghua University, I hope one day you will say likewise, “Among all the schools I attended, SHSID is the best.” Your Alma Mater will be your home forever, and you are always welcome back.

Thank you!

Wolong Pavilion

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