A Quarantine in Shanghai

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Visitors from the school and the Community Quarantine Commitee on Day 12

Note:  this was written to reflect my quarantine experience from March 11-24, 2020.  Since this time, of course, the world situation with the virus has become much more serious and my thoughts are with all the people and their family members affected by the virus itself.  We also owe all of our heroic health workers our full support and encouragement as they work daily on the frontlines against the virus.    


My Quarantine Tree

Day One:

I began my quarantine with much trepidation.  We’ve all heard stories of what happens to prisoners in solitary confinement.  Was this going to happen to me?  As I look back however, the days quickly blended together into one with the exception of the first day, which always stands out.  After waking up, having breakfast and getting unpacked I was visited in the late morning by three friendly people from the local community who gave me an old-fashioned mercury thermometer with instructions (had trouble with this thing throughout), a sheet called “Tips for quarantine observation at home” and a third piece of paper called “Home isolation and disinfection precautions” along with a container with about 8 chlorine-bleach disinfectant tablets to dissolve in a litre of water.  This handout described 7-steps to keep my apartment clean and disinfected during the quarantine period.   They finally left me with three forms to provide to our government contact at the school.  Before they left, and knowing these would be my final visitors for a long time,  I asked for a picture of the three visitors to which they happily obliged.

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I received a text that the “vegetable was left on the shelf, please take it away quickly” and went downstairs to retrieve the order.  My Ding Dong grocery order was here in an amazing 24 minutes!! The afternoon was spent figuring out how to order food and completing the forms given to me by the visitors in the morning.   The food-ordering process is an app called “Ding Dong” which has a remarkably efficient layout and assortment of items that wasn’t too hard to figure out even in Chinese.  I ended up ordering 20 items for about $70 CAD (350 RMB) and after getting some help to enter my address (thanks Kirby and Snow!), I sent in the order and paid the money using another pay by phone app in China called Alipay.  I received a message that the delivery would be made between 15:00 and 15:30 and since it was 14:27 already, I assumed this would be the next day.  I was assured by one of my helpers that this would be happening TODAY and indeed received a call from the delivery person early at 14:51!    An amazing 24 minutes!  The Chinese internet system is amazingly efficient with these kinds of processes. Apparently it seems to be ok for me to go out of my apartment for specific reasons, but not out of the community itself.  Fair enough.  I wasn’t sure where the “shelf” was and didn’t get much help from the security guards, although did get some help from an English speaker named Ada who was eager to help this helpless foreigner.  She was also concerned about which country I had come from and if I had a fever and once I assured her I came from Canada (I love being from Canada in these situations) and that I didn’t have a fever she pointed out where the “shelf” was and I eagerly grabbed by three bags of food and household items.

Anyway, other than ordering an exercise bike and coffee on Baopals (English version of Taobao) that was pretty much my day.  I had three square meals and go some work done in between these other happenings so all in all, it was a productive first day of quarantine.  Only 13 more to go!

Days 2-14

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A door magnet kept track of when I opened my door. Apparently it was NOT ok that I went outside.  I checked with our school office staff and was told under no conditions was I to go outside at risk of having to start my quarantine countdown all over again.  A magnet was being installed on my door that would tell whoever it was tracking me that I had opened my door.  Opening the door to get deliveries or put out the garbage was ok, but I was NOT to go out. Each person on quarantine was monitored by the Community Quarantine Committee working under the authority of the local police department who report any concerns directly to the police.  Needless to say, that Day 1 venture was indeed the last time I went out of my building for the remaining time on quarantine.

Life quickly settled into a routine.  Wake up, make coffee, take my temperature, check out the we chats and messages that had come overnight from other parts of the world, and turn on CNN using a free internet site available in China amazingly to catch up on the days events.  It quickly became apparent that what was just starting to happen at home was escalating quickly and watched with everyone else as public events, travel, school, and even sports (gasp!) were quickly cancelled or postponed indefinitely.  My plans to watch the NCAA tournament and the beginning of baseball season while on my quarantine came crashing down as the sports-entertainment complex came to sudden and screeching halt.  Although I was in China, the former epicenter of all things virus, there was a palpable shift in focus and the feeling became apparent that China was now on the other side of the curve that the rest of the world was just now beginning to accept as reality.

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Ordering and prepping food became a major consumer of time and effort.  Since I wasn’t allowed to go out, the next problem was how to get food up to my apartment.  Delivery people are not allowed to individual apartments during this time, so the order was left on shelving at the front gate.  When I arrived, I had been contacted by a neighbor from the building next door, “Chris-t” was the English name he used on we chat (yes, with a “t” on the end) although it sounded to me more like that he pronounced it as Chris. For obvious reasons, I used the latter when addressing him.  In any event, “Chris-t” proved to be a tremendous help throughout the quarantine.  Any time I was receiving an order of some kind, I would call him and he would happily pick up my order and deliver it to my door.  I am not sure what I would have done without Chris-t. This is a keyhole view of Chris-t bringing up my groceries.

I was not able to accept visitors of course and had no contact with anyone until Day 12 when I was visited by the General Affairs director and a couple of members of the community committee to check that I was ok and had enough food.  I appreciated their visit but was glad something hadn’t go wrong say, on Day 3.  That would been a long time to wait for their help!

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Other parts of my quarantine time were used for reading, taking and reporting my temperature twice a day, binging on Better Call Saul, catching up one the growth of the virus on CNN and other news channels, and getting work done.  Although students were not in school (and still aren’t by the time of publishing), there was plenty of work to do communicating with school staff and our teachers scattered all over the world.  Between meeting with teachers, our local admin team, and the other Principals all on Zoom (man Zoom must be doing well), this was sufficient social connection even though I was by myself.   I also connected with my amazing wife Judy twice a day which were the cornerstones of my day.  For the time being, this kind of virtual connection is what we have and am thankful for the human connection it brings.

Finally, after 14 days I was visited by a member of the community committee and a “doctor” to take my temperature and the officially let me know I was a free man.  It went by very quickly and went about as smoothly as one could hope for.

How to sum up my quarantine experience?  It didn’t suck!

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I’m free!

A Return to China

A personal blog about my return to China in March 2020

Welcome to China!

Travel day: Monday, March 9th

On a clear and sunny March Vancouver morning I arrived to a sparsely occupied International terminal at YVR. There was a noticeable difference between the USA departures section and the International area with the usual traffic and bustle present at one end of the departure gates which not nearly matched at the other. There was no lineup at any of the check in lines and the China Eastern boarding agent was happy to see someone coming who required his assistance. I asked for my usual aisle seat and was given the option of getting one in either of an empty row of three or of two. I took the two seater.

The waiting sign at the Security check said 0-5 minutes and I whisked through usually tedious process very quickly with only my plastic container of “wet ones” disinfectant wipes causing a slight delay (the sensor thought it might have been a liquid) and once approved by the agent, I was on the way to the boarding gate.

Having been warned about the lengthy delays upon arrival at Pudong, I stopped by the duty free and a convenience stores to get some water and snacks. I usually abhor those places due to their over-pricing but this time it felt different. The stores were well-stocked with merchandise and staff but devoid of customers. I almost felt that it was an act of charity buying something from them and even agreed to the outrageous “buy two, get one free” scam for both chocolate bars and blueberries.

The boarding gate itself was sleepy, and once called to board the passengers moved quickly to get on the flight. Anyone who has flown to China knows the boarding lines, even with the grouping system, are long and subject to people cutting in at any time. Not so today. There was no need to do so.

I was one of the final travellers to board but had no trouble finding an overhead bin for my carry-on and settle into my “luxurious” two-seat (an aisle & a window!). All of the flight staff had masks and gloves, and every Chinese passenger I could see was wearing a mask. We’ve all read that masks are one of the least important means of preventing the spread or catching the virus, but the pressure to conform to this societal and cultural expectation is immense as China fights the “people’s war” against all things virus. I eventually put on my mask about 30 minutes in.

The flight was no more than half full (certainly less than the 70% estimate by the agent at check in) and I could have had my pick of empty two, three or even four-person rows! After we took off and achieved cruising altitude, the crew came around to conduct temperature checks. I have to admit a moment of panic about this. “What if I have a high temperature? Will I be whisked away to a ‘special area’ for the duration of the flight and immediately handed over to the police to be taken to a dreaded ‘community quarantine’ location?”

Luckily, I seemed to pass this test and the beverage and meal service began. I was certainly much more cautious about not eating with my fingers and using the utensils as I dived into my chicken and rice meal. After that, the flight settled into the usual flow with the lights being dimmed and everyone napping or watching movies. Next stop, Shanghai!

Hazmat wearing staff take health forms from arriving passengers at Shanghai-Pudong airport.


Our thankfully uneventful flight brought us to Pudong, Shanghai’s busy International airport. As we prepared for our arrival, we were given a health form to complete asking us for information and details about our recent travels and about our current health status. The flight crew was also giving out a QR code for those who wanted to digitize this process. Trips to Japan, S. Korea, Iran and Italy were specifically mentioned as locations from which people should identify that they had travelled to. Once the plane landed everyone got up for the usual race to the exit door, but we were politely told to return to their seats because the “quarantine officer” had to board and clear the plane for arrival. We waited for about 45 minutes during which time, we only saw one young foreign family being escorted off the plane. Not sure if this was because they were a family with young children or if they had shown signs of the virus. Or maybe it was nothing.

After being released from the plane there were two new steps that I could identify which had been added to the usual deplaning procedure.  First, we had to line up and hand in our forms.  The line for those who had completed the digital process with the QR code was actually moving a little slower than the paper line.  Score one for food old-fashioned paper-based bureaucracy.  The second new step was a rather fancy temperature taking station, where we each ushered into a “lane” surrounded by newly-installed technology where our temperature was taken and once we had “passed” we were sent to the customs line for the usual passport stamping and fingerprint retrieval.  After that it was to baggage claim and then the final walk through “nothing to declare line” where we were slightly delayed as what appeared to be a group from Japan were being directed to a specific exit line. 

Two things that stood out about the arrival experience.  One was the amount of Hazmat wearing staff which lent a B-level Science fiction movie quality to the atmosphere in the building.  The second was the scarcity of passengers.  Any Chinese airport is usually a hive of energy with lots of hustle and bustle.  This was noticeably absent and while it speeded up the processing time it certainly lent to the overall surreal-ness of the arrival to China. 

A card with the temperature of the food handlers at the McDonald’s at Pudong airport.

While waiting for my ride I saw a friendly McDonald’s in the terminal and wanting to get my pre-quarantine meal wandered in an ordered a Big Mac.  Upon getting my bag of fast-food I noticed a card stapled to the packing with the names and recent temperatures of those handling the food to signal that they were healthy and virus free.  Hadn’t seen that anywhere before.

Arriving at my apartment, it took about 20 minutes for me to get registered with local security guard and get my temperature taken for the fourth time that day. It was a relief to get to my apartment about 4 hours after I landed. All in all, a not too bad arrival day. Quarantine here we come!

You Can Do That!

image_28bc5a50-6a19-43bd-bfe2-fdf77533c8ef.img_9582This speech was shared at the Opening Ceremony of Maple Leaf International School – Shanghai on September 2, 2019.  It was inspired by this epic convocation speech from Georgia Tech in 2013.  

It is a privilege and honour for my wife and I to come to Shanghai to be the Principal of the BC program.   This is my third year in China with Maple Leaf after working for 28 years in schools in the province of British Columbia, Canada where our curriculum comes from and I am very excited to come to the Maple Leaf Shanghai campus to work with students and teachers.  I hope you will have a great year and I want to encourage you in your studies and your preparation for your university applications that “You can do that!”

For students, “You can do that!” means that you can learn to gain new knowledge, improve your study skills, and increase your English ability.   Remember, you must take care of your own well-being by getting good sleep, eating proper food, and getting exercise. This will enable you to attend class everyday and in every class, keep up with class activites and to prepare for tests.

To teachers, “You can do that!” means that you can find new ways to engage and involve your students in lessons, help build students understanding of a new or difficult idea, and get involved yourself in clubs and school activities even when you are tired from a long week of teaching students in their second language.

To parents, “You can do that!” means that you can encourage your child to do their best, stay focused on their goals even when they make a mistake, and help them develop their character as they move from being a child to becoming an adult.

For us as a campus, “You can do that!” means that together we can grow to become the best campus in Maple Leaf and the best International School in Shanghai if we each remember why we are here.  Maple Leaf’s challenge to you is that “You know where you are going”  as the school helps to prepare you for a successful life and university career.  If we focus on building good habits and achieve success in the classroom, our school will achieve growth in quality and in enrollment as other students will want to join and experience our success.

You can do that, Shanghai campus!  Have a great year ahead!!

From Dreams to Destiny

From Dreams to Destiny – July 2019

Bamfield sunsetAll young boys have a dream of holding a real, live bow in your hand; grasping the arrow between your index and middle fingers, pulling back with all your might and then letting go and hitting the bullseye, or so goes the dream. Often times the actual experience is that the arrow hits the ground a few metres in front of you or goes sailing by the target into a well-positioned hay bale.  You try and try and try again until your fingers hurt, and you don’t think you will ever be able to hit the paper target anywhere, much less scoring a bullseye, but with time and practice (and more pain), eventually you get closer and closer to hitting the middle ring and reaching your dream of hitting the target and accomplishing something meaningful.

In some ways starting a new school is kind of like this experience.  There is great anticipation and preparation for immediate success and hitting the target every time, and then your first few attempts miss the target altogether or fall short of scoring any kind of a hit.   However, with commitment and dedication you persevere and with the support of your team of teachers, staff, parents and students you get closer and closer to reaching the dream and begin to see impact of your work and get closer to your dream goal.

In the first year of Maple Leaf International Academy in 2018-19 we started our year together by talking about dreams and how they drive you toward success.  A quote that was shared at the beginning of the year was, “You have to dream before your dreams can come true.”  (P. J. Abdul Kalam).  Everything that you will accomplish in life in one way or another begins because of a dream that you have had. The dream for our students and our school was established in preparation to apply for a world-class university by achieving a top-quality graduation through a combination of classroom and real-world experience.

We ended the year talking about destiny.   Sometimes movies portray destiny as being something that is not in the control of a person, like Luke Skywalker in Star Wars or Simba in the Lion King. I don’t agree with that idea because each of us are the ultimate person in charge of our destinies and are responsible for making our own choices along the way to reach our dreams.  Even Luke and Simba had to make choices so that they could reach their target.  One of the main objectives of the first year in the Academy was to establish the new directions of the British Columbia curriculum.  A big part of this is to incorporate what the BC curriculum calls the six core competencies into everyday learning for students so that students are not just learning content in subject areas. Students are able to apply this knowledge so that they will have the ability and skills, or competency, to be successful in university and in life.

TargetOne way that we did this was to feature one of the parts of the six competencies to focus on as a monthly theme called “What is Your Learning Target?”.  Each month students completed a specific activity connected to one of these competencies and then gathered evidence to show ways that they had grown in this competency area.  They then did a short self-assessment of what they learned and what they need to further accomplish so they can meet the intended learning target.  At the end of the school year, students completed a summary of each of the Learning targets in the Communication competency.

One example of an activity to help students reach their learning targets was our Maker Day, the theme was Generating Ideas from the Creative Thinking core competency.  A Maker day is a learning activity where students are presented with a problem and using simple materials must build or “make” a solution to the problem. Students were challenged with generating creative ideas to solve each problem and it was fascinating to see how many new ideas they came up with to solve these problems.   PinnochioStudents participated in three activities called the “Leaning Tower,” “Marble Drop” and “Pinocchio” and were each encouraged to use their own creative ideas to solve the problems, but of equal importance was helping others to make their ideas better.  When working in groups, students (as well as many adults) aren’t always able to encourage others to make their ideas better.  They usually either reject them completely, or agree without adding ideas to make the better. Being able to generate your own ideas and then help others make their ideas better is an important skill for life and an important part of the creative thinking competency.   This activity was very practical way of helping students develop their ability to generate ideas to solve a problem and work with a group of others to help solve a problem.

Ignite YannieAnother example of students reaching their Learning Target was The Ignite Inquiry week which happened at the end of the first semester.   This activity arose from the learning target of “Acquiring, Presenting and Interpreting Information” from the Communication competency area. An Inquiry is learning which is organized around a question which is generated by the learner and not the teacher.  It should be something which the students are interested in, are able to research, and then draw some conclusions from and also provide some ideas for further learning or inquiries.  We drew on the knowledge and five-step process developed by the Pacific School of Innovation and Inquiry (PSII) in Victoria, BC and appreciated the input of the school founder and Principal, Jeff Hopkins as we designed our week of Inquiry.

Students were challenged to prepare a presentation on their Inquiry using the “Ignite” PPT format.  An Ignite is a speedy-five minute presentation of no more than 20 slides where students talk about the answers to the questions which they found out from their research during the week.  Some students chose an important question such as “Personal Privacy versus Country Security,” a current issue society such as “The New Technologies of Solar Power” or from an area of personal interest such as “How to Film a Movie” or “3D Printing.”

Ignite SolarStudents received awards for the Top Technical presentation (Architecture), Most Entertaining (Food Colour and Taste) and for finishing in the Top Three were able to present their Inquiry to the parents at the Parent Meeting to end the semester the next day.  It was great to hear the presentations from all of our students (in English and using no script!) about a topic they had chosen and learned about with support from teachers.  This activity showed students how to turn their own interest into something they can learn about and communicate to others.  Inquiry will continue to be a learning method used at our school to connect BC Curriculum, Learning Targets, and student areas of interest.

Students need dreams in order to reach their destiny and make good choices along the way in order to fulfill their dreams.     We asked the students at the end of the year what their ideas were to establish the destiny of our school and for them as students.  As usual, when you ask students a question they come up with sometimes “surprising” answers. Ideas such as “listen to students opinions from time to time and try to solve them,” “provide more out-of-school activities,” “ learn more difficult stuff, “have more activities that help students really know this world,” and “make students be conscious to themselves” were some of the responses that students gave about how each of them, and our school can reach its destiny.   The staff of the Academy will continue to help students to reach their destiny as it grows and develops each year.

This first year at our school has been a tremendous year of hard work, learning new subjects, improving English and having fun and we will carry wonderful memories with us always.  All teachers admired the commitment to excellence that the students demonstrated throughout the year in every activity and it has truly been a privilege and honour to work alongside them in this first year of the Academy.  It is hard work opening a new school as there are many decisions to be made and new systems set up.  I am proud of the work which has been done this year and know there remains much more to keep working on to produce a high-quality school which provides students an opportunity to attend a world-class university.  As I have said to students many times, while our school is small and new, it is also able to be flexible in programming and provide students with a high-degree of personal attention to help them achieve a quality graduation and prepare a strong application to their dream university.

Our story is one of students pursuing a Dream so that they can each reach their Destiny. Like both Luke Skywalker and Simba it takes perseverance and resiliency to reach a dream as mistakes are overcome, problems are solved, and difficulties are met with determination.  Good luck to all Maple Leaf schools and students as you move to follow your dream and reach your destiny!

Our visit to Tedx in Hong Kong


深圳市枫叶学校 6/2

在上个周末,深圳枫叶学校在Mr. Marshall的帮助下,为学生组织了一场香港旅行,十二个学生由三名老师(Mr.Borthistle, Ms.Borthistle, and Mr.Opaleye)带队共同度过了一个忙碌的周末。

Last weekend, with the help of Mr. Marshall, Shenzhen Maple Leaf school organized a trip to Hong Kong for students. Twelve students had a busy weekend together led by three teachers : Mr.Borthistle, Mrs.Borthistle, and Mr.Opaleye.

九点从学校出发,在一个小时的车程后队伍到达了通行关口,同学在Mrs.Borthistle的带领下来到了香港,Mr. Marshall顺利接到了学生们。因为时间问题,在将近两个小时的地铁之后同学们直接到达了Tedx Talk的演讲现场。

We started from the school at 9 o ‘clock, and after an hour’s drive, the team reached the border check point. After the students arrived in Hong Kong under the guidance of Mrs.Borthistle, Mr. Marshall successfully received the students. Because of the time delay, students directly arrived at the Tedx Talk after nearly two hours of riding on the subway!

此次Tedx Talk的主题是Looking Forward,演讲期间,有很多精彩的故事:怎样坚持自己的喜欢 — 纹身师分享,怎样永不言弃 — 运动员分享。同时还有引人深思的哲理:时代在发展,观念在更新,我们要不断地向前看,一切皆有可能;Yes,No,Maybe,人生总是面临这样的选择,没有简单的解决方案;生活总是让你在大众和小众观点中做出选择,这在许多时候要求我们学会批判性思考。

The theme of the Tedx Talk was Looking Forward, during which there were many wonderful stories: How to stick to your favorite passion from a professional Tattoo artist, how never to give up by a Special Olympics athlete. At the same time, there were also a thought-provoking idea: the times are developing, common ideas are changing, we must be constantly looking forward, and everything is possible. There are no easy solutions and there are different answers like Yes, No, and Maybe.  Life always presents choices between popular and less popular choices, with many options which require us to learn to think critically.

会议结束后,Mr. Marshall为学生们准备了一个特别的晚餐,请到了一些非常有智慧的人为学生们解答一些人生或是大学上遇到的一些困难。这个讨论会很成功,许多同学都了解了更多他们感兴趣或是不知道的东西,一些同学的问题也得到了解答。

After the meeting, Mr. Marshall prepared a special dinner for the students, inviting some very intelligent people to answer some questions about their life or problems in college. The seminar was very successful. Many students learned more about what they were interested in or didn’t know. Some students’ questions were answered.


After dinner, some students chose to stay the night in Hong Kong, while others went back to Shenzhen. After a short free break on Sunday morning, the six students who stayed in Hong Kong attended a Maple Leaf Information session in the afternoon. The students helped with greeting the visitors, meeting the students and talked with parents about their life at the school. 


At dusk, the students returned to Shenzhen. We believe this trip to Hong Kong has opened a new door of a new world for students, and which has created many special memories.

文稿:高中小记者王安涵 郑雯文

This story was written by reporters from the senior high school :Ann and Jenny

Our Young Scholars

枫叶学子征战世界学者杯 Maple Leaf Scholar’s Win Medals at Scholar’s Cup!

深圳市枫叶学校 5/20


世界学者杯是一项年度全球竞赛,旨在为来自世界各地的顶尖年轻学者带来智力挑战,并让他们在这一过程中获得乐趣。上周末,我校BC高中的三位学生代表我们学校参加了深圳区域赛。学者杯不仅挑战参赛者的知识水平,还促进学生思考和帮助他们识别学习方式,旨在促进多学科学习、建立协作和团队合作,并帮助学生看到学习的“大局”。学者杯竞赛全程使用英语,是学生学习和提高英语技能的一个好机会。我们非常高兴我校学生在4个不同的赛事中赢得了总共九枚奖牌 – 三个团体奖牌和六个个人奖牌,他们同时还获得了在今年夏天举行的全球赛参赛资格!

The World Scholar’s Cup is an annual global competition which is designed to intellectually challenge top young scholar’s from around the world and also to have some fun along the way.  This past weekend, the Shenzhen Regional round was held with three of our High School representing our school. The Scholar’s Cup does more than challenge knowledge, it pushes how students think and helps them identify how they learn and is intended to promote learning in many subjects, build collaboration and teamwork, and to help students see the “big picture” of learning.  The Scholar’s Cup event is also held entirely in English and is another opportunity for students to develop and improve their English skills.  We are very happy that our students won a total of nine (9) medals – three team medals and six (6) individual in 4 different events plus qualifying for the global round this summer!  


The team spent many hours prior to the event reviewing the preparation materials provided by the organizers.  There were four main events to prepare for: The Team Debate, Collaborative Writing, the Scholar’s Challenge, and the wild and crazy Scholar’s Bowl completed together with the more than 400 other participants from all around the Shenzhen area.  During the preparation, the students met together to review questions and to review the detailed information provided for each subject area.  They also discussed teamwork and how they will plan to work together during the team competitions.

竞赛的第一天,学生们在英语和社会学老师Mr. Lam的陪同下到达比赛现场并参加了开幕式,期间主持人为学生们带来了一些娱乐活动,以帮助学生们缓解压力、放松心情。我们的团队首先参加了团队辩论,讨论的主题包括:技术的好处,我们如何查看历史数据,以及百度如何在网络上提供信息。我们的团队赢得了两场比赛,除了一枚团体银牌,还收获了三枚个人奖牌,其中王安涵获得了一枚银牌,丁傲然和皮锦润分别获得了一枚金牌。

On the first day the students were accompanied by our English & Social Studies teacher Mr. Lam and arrived at the site of the competition to participate in the Opening Ceremony where the hosts entertained the students with activities to help students get comfortable at the competition.  Our team first went to the Team debate which were on the topics of the benefits of technology, how we view historical figures, and how Baidu provides information on the web.  Our team won two matches and was awarded a Team Silver medal along with one individual Silver for Ann and gold medals to Andy and Sherlock.   


The afternoon featured collaborative writing where students had to work together to write an essay on a topic in a special area about if governments should protect citizens from information that might be frightening.  This was a very challenging event and our students won two individual silver medals.   The final event of the long day was the Scholar’s challenge were students were challenged to answer individual multiple-choice questions looking for the one answer which was better than the others.  Andy won a silver medal for his participation in a Special Area subject.  

第二天的主要赛事是知识竞答,参赛团队需要通过使用抢答器进行六轮抢答来获取比分。 主办方设置的题目都是学生不太可能了解的问题,所以考察的重点不是他们的知识水平,而是他们的思考判断能力和协作能力。大部分的题目是让学生通过观看视频或图片给出问题的答案。其中一道看图答题的答案是“lumpenproletariat”。你知道这个答案的意思吗?我很自豪我们学校由王安涵、皮锦润和丁傲然组成的团队因表现突出而在这一环节获得团队金奖,并最终取得前15名的好成绩!

The main activity of the final day was the Scholar’s Bowl were the teams were given clickers to provide answers to six rounds of successive difficult questions for points.  The questions were based on things that the students were not likely to know very much about, so once again the focus was on their ability to think through the responses and work together to provide the “best” answer.  Students were often showed video clips or pictures and then had to provide an answer to a question.  One such answer to a question about who a speaker shown in a comic was addressing was “lumpenproletariat.”  Do you know what this question would be about?  We are proud that our team of Ann, Sherlock and Andy were awarded a team Gold medal for their performance and finished in the top 15!


Overall, our team was awarded a Silver medal for their performance finishing in 18th place and has been invited to the Global round which occurs in four cities around the world. As one student said, they enjoyed participating in this together because it was “not just a test of one person’s knowledge, but how the team combined their knowledge together.” Congratulations to our first Scholar’s Cup team and good luck in the Global round!


Developing Global Awareness

深圳枫叶高中学生访问加拿大大使馆 An Official Consulate Visit

深圳市枫叶学校 4/23


Today was a special day for the High School students at Maple Leaf International Academy – Shenzhen. After finishing our Term 3 assessment week, a much-needed day outside of the school was scheduled to visit nearby Guangzhou and pay a formal visit to the Consulate of Canada located in that famous city. After a two-hour bus ride, which students passed mostly by sleeping, we arrived at the beautiful and new Canadian consulate office in the busy Tianhe district. The students were warmly greeted by the Consulate staff and enjoyed the beautiful view from the 26th floor office tower and enjoyed snacks & refreshments provided by the Consulate staff.

领事馆共有60名工作人员,其中包括9名加拿大人。我们刚到达,就受到了领事馆首席贸易专员Tom Cumming的热情接待,他为我们介绍了贸易委员会的工作内容,以及它如何在中国和加拿大的企业之间搭建合作的桥梁。他还谈到了两个国家之间教育桥接的重要性,此外他还和学生们分享了一些睿智之言,即教育的重要性不止体现在高中和大学阶段,在我们以后的生活中也要注重自身的教育和成长。教育所具有的变革性力量鼓舞和激励着每一个人 。

There are 60 staff who work at the consulate including nine Canadians. We were first greeted by the Chief Trade Commissioner, Tom Cumming, who talked about the work of the Trade Commission and how it works to build contacts and connections between businesses in China and Canada. He also talked about how important education links are between two countries and had some very wise words to the students about the importance of pursuing their education, and not just in high school and university but also as we get older in life.  It was very inspiring for everyone about the transformative power of education.  


Next, came the very relevant presentation for our students how to get a study visa in Canada for those students who wish to attend one of the universities in that country.  As well as Canadian universities, students from Maple Leaf go to universities in all English-speaking countries such as America, Australia and the United Kingdom.  As in all countries, in Canada students are required to apply for a student visa, but it was explained to the students that they can also apply for a work visa so they can work part time.  Canada has also made it easy for students to stay in Canada after university and to get a work permit after graduation.  Students are not required to give up citizenship in their home country if they take advantage of this benefit.


The final presentation was by the Vice-Consul Long Wu who spoke about the history of Chinese immigration to Canada and also the history of China-Canada relations. As with most historical relationships there have been positive times and challenging times and the Canada-China relationship is no exception.  Canada has a long history of accepting immigrants from China and one which has included in recent years Canada accepting 300,000 immigrants with China being among the top three countries.  Canada’s history in China goes back to many years and includes such famous people in China as Dr. Norman Bethune. Canada was also among the first western nations to establish diplomatic relations with China, beginning in 1973 with Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau’s official visit to China which opened the doors for other countries to establish formal diplomatic relationships with China.


A time of questions and answers followed with students having written out questions on number of subjects including the work of the consulate, questions about current issues between Canada and China such as the ongoing Huawei dispute, questions about Canadian history regarding Aboriginal residential schools, and even a question about how the Toronto Raptors NBA team could be used to strengthen the relationships between the two countries.

这一天的访问非常成功,学生们也收获多多, 他们了解了很多对他们这个人生阶段来说很重要的信息。枫叶学校将持续尽可能多的为学生安排这类型的访问,以便学生可以在升学方面做出最佳选择。感谢加拿大大使馆对这次访问的支持和热情接待!

Is a very successful day visiting an official foreign Diplomatic office with such rich information given for this important stage of their life. Maple Leaf International Academy will continue to arrange visits with representatives from different countries so that students can make the best choice about their university dream. Merci beau coup Canada for this wonderful visit!


Valuing Diversity at a Seniors Centre


深圳市枫叶学校 4/8


In the warm afternoon sunshine, the high school students of Maple Leaf International Academy-Shenzhen, accompanied by Mr. Borthistle and Ms. Lian, went to the Shenzhen welfare center to visit the elders. The students had several shows prepared for the elders.


Before the performance, the volunteers gave students a general introduction about the senior citizen’s lives. Students learned about some habits and hobbies of theses grandparents. After the senior citizen’s lunch break, the students ran to the elevator to meet the elders. We talked and laughed while walking with them, and the seniors were all very kind in return.


After most of the senior citizens took their seats, the students performed some small performances for these grandmothers and grandfathers. The song “The Moon Represents My Heart” was part of a collection of English songs. There was also a dance called “Pink Memories,” followed by a Taichi performance and the Chinese pride sword dance.


Of course, not only the students, but also the senior citizens had made careful preparations for today. The songs “Embroidering the Purse” and “At the Top of the Dongshan Mountain” showed the spirits of the grandparents. The melting voice brought great shock to the children born after 2000, telling the story of that era.


Finally, in applause, the event ended perfectly. The students took pictures with the elders and volunteers.


This community service activity created a lot of feelings. In the future,  Maple Leaf International Academy – Shenzhen will continue to provide more volunteer services to cultivate a stronger sense of social responsibility for helping those in need. We will look forward to more activities like this in the future of Maple Leaf International Academy – Shenzhen. 

高中小记者: 王安涵  邓斯元 郑雯文

Reporters from senior high school :  Ann   Daisy  Jenny


April 6, 2019

Science Fair 2018

枫叶高中 | Science Fair 科学展

Have you ever wondered how sunlight affects a potato or what factors influence buoyancy? Have you ever poured tea on your houseplants and wondered if it was good for them?  Have you ever watched someone prune a tree and wondered if it helps the tree grow?  The Science 10 students were curious about these questions and set out to find the answers.  The students researched background information, formed their hypotheses and designed experiments. Then the students conducted their experiments, compiled their data and formed their conclusions. On December 28, the scientists presented their findings at the 1st Annual MLIA -Shenzhen Science Fair.

你有没有想过阳光会对土豆产生哪些影响?或者有哪些因素会影响浮力?你有没有用茶水浇灌过家里的植物,并且想知道这样做是否对植物有益?你有没有在看到人们修剪树木的时候猜想着这样是否有助于树木生长?科学课10年级的学生也对这些问题感到好奇,并着手寻找答案。学生们搜集背景信息,形成假设并设计实验,然后按照设计完成了各自的实验,并通过整理实验数据得出了相应的结论。 12月28日,我们的 “小科学家们” 在第一届深圳枫叶科学展会上展示了他们的实验成果。

The purpose of the Science Fair is to give students a chance to learn about and apply the Scientific Method to a problem or issue of their own choosing.  Science Fairs occur in all the Maple Leaf Schools and are a key part of demonstrating that students know how to apply their classroom learning to real world problems.  Another benefit of the Science Fair is that it provides an opportunity for interaction between the older and younger students in the school.  At Maple Leaf Academy, we want to build a strong pathway for students to move from elementary to middle school and on to high school. Showing younger students what older students are learning adds to their knowledge of science and helps create strong connections between our younger and older students. 


Students in Grades 5-9 were brought by their teachers to participate in the Science Fair and hear an explanation of each experiment. The Grade 10 students explained how they followed the Scientific Method of asking a question, conducting research, forming a hypothesis, designing an experiment, gathering data, and forming a conclusion.  All the experiments were original designs by the students who worked together in group of four. The groups prepared a visual presentation of what they had learned and planned how they would share their findings with the younger students. 

5 –  9年级的学生也由老师带队前来参加展览并听取每个实验的说明。10年级学生解释了他们如何遵循科学方法提出问题,进行研究,形成假设,设计实验,收集数据和得出结论。所有的实验都是由学生四人一组进行的原创设计。这些小组用直观的方式对他们的所学到的知识进行了视觉呈现,并策划了如何与低年级的学生分享他们的科学发现。

Kryon, Steven, Louie and Monica discovered that potatoes left in the sunlight sprout faster and have a higher starch content than potatoes stored in shade.  So, if you want to grow potatoes, leave them in the sun, but if you plan to eat the potatoes, store them away from sunlight. The group also provided tips for food safety.


Daisy, Kyle, Eric and Erru learned that plants need their leaves to aid in photosynthesis. Even though trees fare better with regular pruning, their houseplants needed all their leaves to remain healthy.


Harmony, Jack, Andy and Sherlock learned that the density of a fluid affects the force of buoyancy exerted by that fluid. Since salt water is denser than fresh water, it is more buoyant than fresh water. 


Yannie, Tiffany, Ann and Jenny experimented with watering plants in three ways: with plain water, with freshly-brewed tea, and with fermented tea. They found that their plants watered with fermented tea grew better than the plants watered with fresh water and the plants watered with freshly-brewed tea were stunted.  After further research, they learned that irrigation with fermented tea is best for plants which prefer acidic soil.


At the end of the fair, the students were a little tired of explaining their experiments so many times, but also were proud of the work they had done and what they had learned during the planning and preparation leading up to the fair. Top Prize for the 1st Annual Fair went to Daisy, Eric, Erru and Kyle for their experiment on pruning plants and the effect on plant growth.  A close second was the unique experiment called the “Potato King” and its story-telling approach by Kryon, Monica, Louie and Stephen. Well done everyone and a special congratulations to the two Science teachers, Mrs. Broskus and Mr. Lam for their instruction, guidance and support of the Academy students in the 1st Shenzhen Science Fair!

在展会结束时,学生们因多次重复介绍他们的实验项目而略显疲倦,但同时他们也为自己所做的工作以及在规划和筹备期间所学到的知识感到自豪。第一届深圳枫叶年度科学展的第一名获得者是邓斯元,高骏驰,刘家豪和王亦如,他们的实验项目是修剪枝叶对植物生长的影响。紧随其后的是名为“马铃薯之王”的独特实验,唐健,解晨泽,骆奕舟和莫若慈对该实验的讲述方式也获得一致认可。 同学们都完成的非常好!在此特别祝贺两位科学老师 — Broskus老师和Lam老师,感谢他们在科学展上对学生的指导和支持!

Becoming a Global Leader

Students at Maple Leaf International Academy – Shenzhen recently had an amazing opportunity to meet a world leader to discuss important global issues.  Here is our story about this wonderful event.  Thanks to the people at Project Agora for inviting us!

枫叶高中 | Becoming a Global Leader 成为全球领导者

深圳市伊思顿龙岗书院 64017 1周前
Last Saturday, Grade 10 students from Maple Leaf International Academy of Shenzhen had a unique opportunity to meet a world leader, former Prime Minister George Papandreau of Greece, to learn first-hand what it means to become a Global Leader.  The Project Agora introduction was held in Shenzhen as part of a world-wide project to build the next generation of Global Leaders.  Students from the Grade 10 class first applied to the school by completing a 250 word essay called, “What is a Global Leader” and then being recommended by the school Principal to attend this special event.  Mr. Borthistle accompanied the ten students to this event for a full day of discussion and interaction with Mr. Papandreau along with other representatives of Project Agora.  In attendance were the current group of “Junior Fellows” from across China who were selected to participate in this prestigious leadership development program.  One of these Junior Fellows had come all the way from the Zhou En Lai class at the Dalian Maple Leaf girls campus to be a part of this day.

上周六,深圳枫叶10年级学生得到了一次与世界领袖希腊前总理乔治帕潘德里欧会面的机会,直接了解成为全球领袖意味着什么。此次在深圳举行的项目名为爱格学堂,是培养下一代全球领导者这一全球项目的一部分。10年级的学生为申请参加此项目写了一篇250字的名为 “什么是全球领袖” 的散文,然后交学校校长推荐参加。 高中校长波西斯尔陪同十位学生参加了此活动,并与帕潘德里欧先生以及爱格学堂的其他代表进行了一整天的讨论和互动。出席会议的还有来自中国各地的青年学者,他们被选中参加这一知名的领导力发展计划。他们之中还有一位是从大连枫叶国际学校远道而来。


The day started with an icebreaker where all of the students in attendance had to share two facts about themselves – one true and one not.  The others had to guess which one was in fact true.  The highlight of this session for our school was our scholarship student Harmony “wowing” the crowd with her wonderful singing.  It is great to see confidence of our students and their talents and their desire to share this with others in whatever setting.

第一项活动名为“破冰”,所有出席的学生都必须分享两个关于自己的故事 – 一个是真的,一个不是。其他人需要猜测哪一个是真的。我校学生吐玛利兹·克尔江用她的歌声引得全场喝彩,这也成为本活动的一大亮点。很高兴看到他们所具有的自信、才能以及与其他人分享的意愿。

After that, former Prime Minister Papandreau was introduced to the students and began a 90-minute session on world issues, young leaders and how Project Agora is supporting the students that are selected to participate in the program as Junior Fellows.  He explained how the project is named after an “Agora” which in ancient Greece was a space used for a marketplace, and for public assemblies where ideas were created and exchanged.     He told his story about the difficult choices he had to make when he was the Greek Prime Minister about the national finance system and it’s relationship to the European Union and how events that happened in his small country could have a very large impact on much bigger countries.



Like Greece, we might think of our lives as small, he went on to say, but the impact that our lives can have is enormous if we take the proper steps to reach the Agora ideal of “Know Yourself – Become Yourself – Transcend yourself.”

他还指出,就像希腊一样,我们可能会认为我们是微不足道的个体,但如果我们采取适当的步骤达到爱格提倡的“了解自己 – 成为自己 – 超越自己”的理想状态,我们也能产生巨大的影响。


After that he responded to some very deep questions from the students about world issues.  One especially good question was about recovering from mistakes and if that is really possible in our modern world.  He said that making mistakes is part of the growth process and is usually a part of the history of any person who has become a success.  Some cultures are better at this than others and used his own Greek culture as one that has not been good at allowing people to recover from mistakes.  One way to address this problem is to bring together people from different cultures to learn from how difficult issues are handled in their countries which is the approach he used when trying to resolve Greek’s economic problems in the last decade.


After the Prime Minister was finished speaking, the students heard from several distinguished scholars from China who either attended or are currently working at prestigious universities with their views on global issues or their own personal journey with their studies.

在总理讲完之后,几位来自中国的毕业或就职于知名大学的杰出学者也为学生们做了演讲, 分享了他们对全球问题的看法,以及一些他们自己的求学历程。


It was a memorable day for the students, one of whom said that, “I learned a lot from Mr. Papandreou in today’s session, Mr. Papandreou is a wise leader, he can see the current situation clearly and find the key point and best solution quickly. He shared his experiences, and how he faced difficulties in his life. It is impressive that he resigned his job in order to help his country Greece. I think, a global leader need to have global thinking, and macroscopic thinking. A global leader need to think about everything when he deal with something. And, being kind and considerate of others is also important, they work for world peace and citizens’ better lives.”


Several other students said that they want to continue learning about Project Agora and how it can help them prepare to become a global leader.  This kind of experience fits in exactly with how Maple Leaf seeks to provide a “World of Opportunity” and how our school is preparing students to become a part of this world.  Come and be a part of our next generation of Global Leaders with Maple Leaf International Academy – Shenzhen!