Message to the Class of 2020:
You have had an unforgettable, historical and some might say, success-defying graduation year. Through circumstances way beyond your control, you were thrust into the wild world of online learning, social distancing, mask wearing, having very few live teachers, no May holiday, and many other disruptive forces conspiring against your success. Yet, here you are, at your high school graduation ceremony and ready to move on to the next part of your life. How does this experience match the definitions of success you may have heard in the past? How will this experience change your definition of success in life for you?
We started the year with the theme, “You Can Do That” where we showed a speech given by a university student at Georgia Tech which gave the “you can accomplish whatever you want” message and where success is defined as a continual upward climb toward the highest points of achievement. That was all nice talk before we were faced with the realities of the virus.
When you came back after more than 3 months away from school, we talked about GRIT and did some activities which tested your perseverance and determination to achieve success. We talked about how you would need to show GRIT in your studies to make it though the challenges of online learning and not having many of your beloved teachers around. That you made it this far means that you have been able to show the GRIT necessary to complete this portion of your academic life and should encourage you for the future.
From the experience you have gained this year, and from your achievement of reaching graduation what have you learned about success in life? I’m going to suggest three ways that you can go and find your success in your future:
- Your most successful experiences in life may well also be your most difficult.
- Dreams are important to have, but they don’t always define success in your life. Even if you don’t reach your dreams, you can still be a success.
- Finding your calling & special purpose in life is the primary way that you live a successful life.
It has been an honour to be your Principal during this historic year in our school, in China and around the world. As you go out into the new world that is still taking shape and will present many challenges, remember what you have endured and persisted through this year as you find your way to success. Congratulations Shanghai grads of 2020!