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Beyond academic achievement: making breakthroughs

19 Nov 2021

Huili School Shanghai encourages all pupils to engage in charitable activities such as youth grant-writing. It is one of the many ways that pupils get the opportunity to put the Huili Value of Kindness into practice. 

Charity is also a way for our pupils to develop their skills in leadership, organising, problem-solving and host of other important soft skills.

In our second installation of our Academic Scholars series, we talk with 2020-21 Academic Scholarship recipient Sissi. Sissi takes every available opportunity to practice Kindness and be of service to others.



Venturing outside of comfort zones


The World Scholar Cup (WSC) is a deeply demanding academic competition, but Sissi sought to take herself out of her comfort zone and participate.  


WSC examines a wide range of subjects, from humanities to science, with an emphasis on both depth and breadth of study. Much of its content goes well beyond what is taught in textbooks, which means it requires pupils to conduct additional research and read outside the curriculum.

It was during the intense preparations for WSC that Sissi realised that her 'comfort zone' may prevent her from realising her potential. It was an astute observation on Sissi's part. She ended up winning.  


Sissi said: “I always felt unprepared before the competition and saw every competition as a challenge, but when I got the trophy and the chance to compete in the Tournament of Champions at Yale University, I felt like I had broken through limitations and seized an opportunity.”



Being of service to others


Sissi believes that "Kindness is the foundation of all other values, with kindness we respect others, help others, and even influence others. It begins within ourselves, and it is up to us to be a positive influence on others."

But Sissi does not only exhibit Kindness, she is a deeply empathetic and compassionate pupil.

She is a committed animal conservationist, for instance. At weekends, she helps to provide medical relief to injured birds. These hands-on experiences have made her realise that she thrives on helping others, whether animals or people.

Her parents are also very supportive in these pursuits. Her mother introduced her to the UN's child support programme so that she could learn more about children in need. She now makes monthly donations to United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund with her own pocket money.

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▲Sissi and her classmates

on a field trip to an organic farm 

Sissi also participates in Huili School Shanghai's organic farm CCA. In it, pupils run a farm under the guidance of an experienced teacher. Pupils learn everything about running a farm, from planting to harvesting and eventually selling the produce. They learn sustainable farming practices as well as gain an understanding of how a business works.

Participation in the Junior High pupils' grant-writing programme has also provided Sissi with a valuable learning experience. The programme has given her the opportunity to learn the inner workings of a professional charity in addition to cultivating the spirit of good will. 


She sums up her feelings with a quote from Gandhi: "The best way to find yourself is to get busy serving others." It is one of the reasons she aspires to study medicine after she graduates from Huili. 

She is already pursuing real world experience in this area, having volunteered at a hospital during the summer break. "Many people would say that being a doctor is a hard work," she says. "But I think it is a burden worth shouldering if it means improving the lives of others. "


Content support courtesy of Ms Ren from the Huili academic team.


Written by Virginia