Friday 28 September, 2018, Nanjing International School (NIS) celebrated the close of its 25th Anniversary year, by hosting a school party that included, parades, music, aerial photographs, a circle of peace and over 1,000 cupcakes for students, staff and parents.
“Celebrating 25 years of Nanjing International School, best school in Nanjing, China and Asia! Proud to be a part of it all”, NIS Admissions Director Sue Northcott beamed to The Nanjinger.
Those attending the event were encouraged to wear NIS clothing new or vintage, as part of the celebration. Honoured guests included Mrs Dong, one of the original Chinese teachers from the early 1990s and previous Director Gez Hayden.
“It’s been a great birthday party, 25 years old is quite incredible and it’s a privilege to be here at this wonderful school”, Hayden proudly told The Nanjinger.
The non-profit school officially opened by a small group of expatriate parents on 14 October 1992, with 5 students, It was the product of parents who were concerned that being in China should not present an obstacle to the family being together, nor to the children receiving a good education.
With hundreds of graduates populating leading universities around the world, many supportive messages from the school’s growing alumni group were shared. The closeness of the NIS community, as witnessed by the festivities today and so prevalent in the 1990s, is something the school still values highly today.
NIS Director, Laurie McLellan, had these words to say; “So today was really about children of all ages from all stages, their patents, their teachers, their staff. Just thinking about where we are today, where we’ve been and hopefully creating that sense of community that’s the basis to move forward to a future that’s not just about education but is about caring and really thinking about what it means to be part of a community. It’s a responsibility, and I hope that sharing these experiences makes people think more deeply about that”.
Founding member, Shamala Holoch, adopted the role of first administrator and was instrumental in creating the foundation for the school. Later a Board of Directors was established by a group of local business people, and an appointed parent board member.
In order to assist growth in its infancy, the school was regularly visited by The Council of International Schools (CIS) and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). For many years, the board of directors worked closely with John’s Hopkins University and Nanjing University Centre in order gain accreditation from the Nanjing Government.
After several years spent in rented rooms of the Nanjing Foreign Language School, NIS moved with a handful of students to one of Nanjing’s designated foreigner-friendly residences, the Dingshan Hotel that later became a Shangri-La.
With the help of local businesses, six rooms at the Dingshan were renovated for use as a school. By 2004, NIS had grown from 35 to 300 students.
In the same year, NIS moved to its own purpose-built premises in Xianlin College and University Town, on the outskirts of Nanjing. Realising this dream was the culmination of a sustained team effort, lasting several years. The four-stage construction of the NIS campus is a truly stunning piece of Chinese architecture.
NIS is the first school in China which was fully authorised by the International Baccalaureate Organisation to offer the Primary Years (PYP), Middle Years (MYP) and Diploma Programmes (DP). The school now enrolls approximately 700 students hailing from all corners of the globe.