In 2020, Huili Shanghai launched an academic scholarship programme, and four scholarship recipients were selected. We interviewed them one by one, and a series of relevant articles will be published.
The scholarship recipients shared their learning experiences and thoughts on their learning journey with us. Impressed by their self-discipline, hard work, and distinctive personalities, We believe their stories will provide us more perspectives on education.
—— Editor's Note
Meet Nini, the Scholar
Nini gives off a first impression of tentative shyness. That facade quickly falls away, however, when she starts talking about her studies and her passions. Nini was a recipient of Huili School Shanghai's 2020 Academic Scholarship. We sat down with Nini to learn about what motivates and inspires her and what it means to be a leader in the Huili community.
Exploring life's possibilities
Nini enjoys calligraphy, sketching and oil painting. In her practice, she has learned to compare different art forms as she gradually develops her taste. She especially likes writing in clerical script and her favourite style of art is impressionism.
She also loves listening to music, playing the piano and singing. Huili's CCA music programme provides her with the training she needs to perfect her singing skills. She also takes great pleasure in her daily half hour of piano practice. Both pursuits are a testament to her steadfast discipline.
Regarding academics, she says Junior High is more demanding than Primary School, and she has become deeply aware of just how important hard work is when it comes to mastering a subject. A long-term thinker, she is already considering what area of concentration she wants to pursue in university.
She has yet to decide on her exact career path, but she tells us that she loves art — or maybe she will become a lawyer.
At present, the possibilities are endless.
Self-reflection and improvement
The Huili Academic Scholarship requires of its recipients a consistent proven track record of academic performance. Nini's academic performance is readily apparent in such honours as Huili's Academic Award for English Social Studies.
Outstanding grades come relatively easy for Nini as well, but she continues to engage in the kind of self-reflection that facilitates constant improvement.
After graduating from a local primary school, Nini set high standards for herself. She was eager to take on the challenge of a top-quality bilingual education. She wanted to enjoy the benefits of an open learning environment. This was why she wanted to enrol at Huili School Shanghai.
Over the past two and a half years, she has experienced how immersive bilingual education improves her language abilities. It heightens her appreciation for other cultures and prepares her to be a global citizen.
She has a talent for self-expression and has applied it to Huili's English debate competition. In the process, she improved her English oracy and logic skills. These skills have also served her well in Huili's mock court CCA programme, in which she has learned to analyse events from multiple perspectives through the presentation of cases on behalf of both the plaintiff and the defendant.
Nini says the HATS (Highly Attainment and Talented Students) programme was the most stimulating activity she took part in last semester.
Run by the school's senior academic management, it provides support to pupils who excel in academics. Nini was assigned Ms Lana Kulas, head of High School as a tutor. She and Ms Kulas met every two weeks over lunch so they could discuss her IGCSE course selection. Ms Kulas also gave Nini a lot of practical advice on learning English. There is no doubt that this will have a lasting impact on her academic development.
Pupil leadership and self -fulfilment
Another factor that earned Nini the scholarship was her leadership skills. Nini has been the captain of Li House since she joined Huili in grade 6. She campaigned hard for this role, gaining support from her teachers and fellow pupils. She is the only captain in Huili School Shanghai history to have served three consecutive terms. She has acquired valuable leadership skills along the way.
She is active in organising activities and working with the school, but she finds the most rewarding part of the job to be helping others and being a role model to the younger pupils.
Nini acknowledges that it has given her a deeper appreciation of her self-worth and the work has taught her the importance of responsibility.
Interviewing the head of High School
Being a house captain has opened Nini to another great opportunity to contribute to the Huili community: interviewing candidates for head of High School.
In preparation for founding the High School, Huili launched a global recruitment campaign for the head of High School. The final three candidates were interviewed by teams of administrators, teachers and pupils. Nini, along with her fellow house captains, represented her fellow pupils in the interview process.
When they asked Ms Kulas which of the five Huili Values is the most important yet difficult to practise, she answered, "Courage". This answer resonated with Nini. She completely agreed with her. So did her fellow house captains. When the interview was over, they all agreed that Ms Kulas was the best candidate for the job.
The interview proved to be an invaluable experience for Nini. She gained a deep sense of responsibility for her school and her fellow pupils and learned how important it is to make a contribution to one's community, which she continues to do today.
We noticed a prevalent theme in our conversation with Nini that can be summed up in one word: "resonance". It was, by far, the word Nini used most frequently in our conversation, and considering that she is a musician, it comes as no surprise that this word may have a special meaning for her.
As a house captain, she makes it a point to have "emotional resonance" when helping her fellow pupils. She prioritises having a sense of "spiritual resonance" when communicating with teachers. Even when she interviewed Ms Kula, she described herself as seeking a "resonance in values".
This principle of "resonance" is pertinent to other parts of her life as well. She uses the term when she describes how she draws connections between herself and her surroundings. The word crops up again when she discusses how she forms relationships with others.
At the conclusion of our interview, we felt a good measure of resonance with Nini. Without a doubt, her pursuit of academic and artistic excellence and the active role that she plays in our school's community "resonate" with the five Huili Values.
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