To inspire excellence, cultivate character, and empower engagement locally and globally: An ambitious statement, but one that the Canadian International School of Hong Kong remains highly focused on in providing to its 1,800-strong student body that hails from over 40 countries. There’s cause for celebration as the school, now in its 25th year, is taking a retrospective look back at its academic and extracurricular achievements, as well as contributions to society.
The commendable achievements are the by-product of a school that is maturing and ever evolving. Plans for the 25th Anniversary celebrations are already well underway, with CDNIS having hosted a visit by world-renowned primatologist and environmentalist Jane Goodall, and stepped up production on an upcoming commemorative publication.
A benchmark for excellence
Founded in 1991, the non-profit school has become a benchmark for education excellence and enjoys strong support from the Chinese-Canadian Association of Hong Kong, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Jockey Club, and the Canadian Consulate General of Hong Kong.
Set along the picturesque Nam Long Shan Road in Aberdeen, CDNIS occupies an eye-catching 40,710 square metre campus that has been its home since 1999. Recent infrastructural developments have not only helped the school keep up with the times, but also highlight its continued investment in the support of cultural proficiency and social awareness.
The Chinese Cultural Centre and Green Roof are two such projects. Situated above the library, the former features a Chinese-themed décor and consists of four classrooms as well as a large multifunctional space that houses the Chinese Library.
“[CDNIS has long been] recognised for the strength of its Chinese programme, [and we] continue to invest in cultural proficiency as a competitive strength. Our new CCC brings this initiative to life and expands the exposure of our students to the Chinese language and culture,” notes the school’s Interim Head of School David Baird.
Meanwhile, the latter is comprised of two gathering areas: a Zen garden and an organic growing area that is maintained by both students and teachers. These additions will go a long way in helping CDNIS achieve its aim of reducing school-wide energy consumption by 10%.
Recognised as a Pre-K to Grade 12 IB World School, CDNIS boasts one of the largest IB cohorts in Hong Kong and the students of this leading institution continue to impress academically. In 2016, 98% of students received their IB Diploma, with an average score of 36.4 — significantly higher than the global average of 30 points. In addition, three students achieved the maximum score of 45, an impressive figure gained by only 146 students, or 0.1%, worldwide.
The school’s growing success has not gone unnoticed by the wider community. Last November, the Jane Goodall Institute (Hong Kong) selected CDNIS to host its annual Roots & Shoots Youth Summit, which was graced by the primatologist and environmentalist herself.
Well known for her life-long study of the social and family interactions of wild chimpanzees, Goodall’s impressive findings not only challenged the beliefs by the greater scientific community, but also raised awareness on environmental conservation and animal welfare.
“Isn’t it weird that humans — the most intellectual creatures to walk on this planet — are destroying their only home,” questioned Goodall during her keynote address at CDNIS. “You know what I mean. Living here in Hong Kong and being so close to China, you know about the pollution problem in the air and the sea. We’re harming nature but I don’t believe that it’s too late to do something about it. That’s what Roots & Shoots is all about.”
A leader in her field, Goodall’s admirable contributions to the community complements CDNIS’ ongoing support to help those in need. The school’s long-standing partnership with the world’s largest non-profit homebuilder, Habitat for Humanity, saw a team of students and teachers embark on a three-day goodwill trip last September to Rayong, Thailand to assist the group’s home-building efforts.
Baird said: “Aside from the sweat, blisters, and soreness they experienced, our students had the chance to give sweat equity and to be exposed to the disparity of wealth that exists today. Our students’ and teachers’ continued contribution to this mission is one of the many ways we demonstrate a commitment to service, and our students inevitably gain even more than they give.”
Looking back, the Interim Head of School concedes that there have been ups and downs throughout CDNIS’ 25 years. However, the school has always emerged stronger than ever, with staff and students alike united by the same goal. “Irrespective of the challenges that we’ve faced throughout the years, CDNIS’ commitment to inspire academic and personal growth in our students has never wavered, and that has become the very foundation of our growing success.”
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