Inside King's-Edgehill School

KES Headmaster Newsletter -- Issue 28

Posted by Joe Seagram, Headmaster on Apr 14, 2017 4:00:00 PM

Dear KES Family:

IMG_0138.jpgI have been travelling in China this week and have had the opportunity to meet with alumni and parents (new for next year, current, and of graduates) in Shanghai, Beijing, Jinan, Shenzhen, Taipei, and Hong Kong. Many of our parents from Asia are unable to visit the School and so this visit is, in a small way, a chance to bring a bit of the School to them. Given that most of our Asian parents do not speak English, this is also a way to connect, to meet and answer questions. I am indeed fortunate to have a former parent, Dr. Michael Chow, as a companion on this trip. He has been invaluable as an interpreter and host in every city (and airport and train station!) on this trip.

Traditionally, special meals are held at a round table with multiple different dishes rotating on a round turntable in the middle. The tables are large and it is lovely to be able to see the sixteen or twenty-four guests at the same time. In every city we have been hosted with warmth and humour and excitement. There is much laughter, many toasts to the School and to our teachers and to our students. As I struggle not to make a fool of myself with the chopsticks, I am continually reminded how, no matter where we come from, we share so many of life's core values. We love our children and live through their successes and challenges. We value friendship and yearn to connect with others in meaningful ways. We are at our happiest when we know our children are safe, well cared for, and doing well. We value the simple pleasures of good food and conversation, of laughter and of generosity.

This year marks the first time we have been to Jinan. The ancestral home to China's most famous teacher - Confucius. We were received very warmly right from the moment Evan Xie's parents met us at the airport. Confucius has many teachings and Jacob Liu's parents shared one with me: "When friends come from afar do we not rejoice?" This happy sentiment has been present everywhere I have been. There has been rejoicing at every stop on this journey. Our Chinese students do very well at King's-Edgehill, and many are receiving impressive university acceptances and scholarships. There is much rejoicing over their success and much thanks given to their teachers and house parents and coaches. However, to be received as a friend has been delightful and humbling at the same time. To be received as a friend from afar by people whom one has never or rarely met, fills me with gratitude for our School and the wonderful community it is creating at home and around the world. 

Travels in China, a few light observations:

  1. Written English is found just about everywhere: road signs, shops, airports. This includes outdoor gym equipment where a "Luxury pull-up bar builds strength secretly".
  2. Despite the massive cities and proliferation of high rises, there are beautiful and tranquil parklands and pathways to be found everywhere.
  3. Nothing brings a smile to your face faster than seeing an elderly couple doing dancercise together to pop music in the park.
  4. I walked and ran many kilometres in every city. I saw thousands of men smoking. Not a single woman. Not one. Life expectancy for women in China is three years longer.
  5. Bicycles and scooters are used by men and women of every generation. Helmets are rarely worn but air filtering masks are common.
  6. Downtown shopping malls are almost identical to those in Canada. The shops and brands are all the same: Forever 21, H&M, Tommy Hilfiger, etc. However, unlike Canada, there is no shortage of attendants to help you. The food courts still have Subway, KFC, and Dairy Queen scattered among more local cuisine.
  7. McDonald's and Starbucks are everywhere.
  8. Line-ups can be incredibly long, however, they can move swiftly. A 100metre queue for a taxi (not kidding about the length) at the train station in Beijing took only 15 minutes.


Joe Seagram

Topics: About King's-Edgehill School

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