July 25, 2024

Achieving Academic Outcomes

Enhancing Student Success

Why alumni stay connected with the school

4 min read

When you go to an excellent international school, you leave with knowledge, skills and memories that last a lifetime. One such school is the Hong Kong International School (HKIS). HKIS’ vision is to be a leading place of learning that inspires a socially engaged community of collaborative, creative, and resilient learners dedicated to realising their full potential.

From Reception One (pre-kindergarten) to Grade 12, HKIS students get an American-style education grounded in the Christian faith and respecting the spiritual lives of all. Whether you join for a year or a decade, all students go on to achieve their intellectual potential — with graduates attending top universities worldwide, HKIS’s success in this aspect is evident.  However, its real achievement is in nurturing individuals who are committed to making a difference. What truly distinguishes HKIS is its unique ability to encourage inquiry, foster compassion, and promote service and global understanding simultaneously.

With all they’ve gained from HKIS, graduates are more than happy to stay connected to their alma mater and return for visits. Many graduates even give back. Take Marisa McConnell ‘96, for example. Born in Canada but raised in Hong Kong, McConnell was in several international schools before joining HKIS in ninth grade. Her grades then were hovering around average. Then, something clicked at HKIS.

The American-style curriculum offered a familiar structure amidst the bustling and culturally diverse environment of Hong Kong. “It was a very well-rounded school and I really enjoyed having an American-style education and high school setting so far away and in a city like HK,” McConnell says.

An HKIS Alumni Event Source: Jeremy Evans ’93, Hong Kong International School

A key aspect of HKIS is how it always puts students first, allowing McConnell to flourish. “HKIS really allowed students to choose classes that they were good at and enjoyed,” McConnell says. “This really made students excel in their studies and classes.”

This focus on individual strengths ignited a passion for learning that she hadn’t experienced before. While she admits to initially prioritising the social aspects of school life, her transition to HKIS marked a significant shift. Starting with C and D grades, she steadily climbed to B’s and ultimately achieved the prestigious Honour Roll status by her senior year.

Today, as a parent herself, McConnell knew just which international school to pick for her child. HKIS’s impact on her, paired with its impressive campuses, solidified her choice. What’s more, she sees the school actively instilling values of “kindness, resilience, and community”— values that resonate deeply with the foundation laid during her own HKIS journey.

McConnell also actively participates in the Parent Faculty Organisation (PFO). “I am heavily involved with the PFO at school (which is like the PTA),” she says. “It allows me extra meetings and access to faculty and admin, as well as the parents and community. We organise the school fairs and so many other community events. We have regular board meetings and meetings with the Head of School and the School Board, to name just two.”

At HKIS, Jeremy Evans, a graduate, played varsity basketball, participated in track & field, acted in a spring musical, joined Allegro singing ensemble, and formed lasting friendships. Source:  Jeremy Evans ’93, Hong Kong International School

The impact of HKIS on MConnell extends beyond academics and professional achievements. The school fostered “wonderful friendships within the community” that have transcended the school environment. These lifelong bonds with “people whom I greatly admire and respect” continue to enrich her life.

Another graduate, Jeremy Evans, a second-generation third-culture kid born in India and raised in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, found a home in HKIS during his senior year. Though he was here for just a year, HKIS left an indelible mark. He played varsity sports, took part in musicals and singing groups, and made many friends for life. Now, with his two children attending HKIS, Evans has returned as a Humanities teacher and basketball coach, bringing his passion for learning and his deep connection back to the school.

“HKIS has always had a unique mission,” he says. “It is rooted in a Christian ethos that emphasises love, compassion, service and grace. In my experience, the most valuable aspect of HKIS is its faculty, who commit daily to implementing best practices, while also keeping their eyes on what’s most important — the well-being of our students.”

Evans still remembers just how much his teachers cared for him. For example, during his senior year, Evans recalls one teacher created a mix tape of jazz musicians he thought he would appreciate. Another held him accountable when he didn’t do the readings. His basketball coach invited the team to his flat for sandwiches after a late practice, ensuring they had fuel to keep going. His AP English teacher inspired him to take risks in his creative writing. Another teacher shared her love for Chinese history by hosting movie screenings and home-cooked meals. These are the kind of educators that he strives to be today at HKIS.

“The world has changed quite a bit since then, but my best memories of HKIS feature caring professionals who inspired, challenged, and supported me,” he says.

Learn more about Hong Kong International School.

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