As parents, we are always proud of our children’s achievements, when they win a competition, shine in a performance or stand out among all the students and win a scholarship that represents their academic achievements and comprehensive strength…
Yes, they are great achievers in our eyes.
Nevertheless as educators, we should cast our eyes far. In addition to giving our children praise and encouragement that trigger a temporary sense of achievement, we also hope that through the reward system, our children’s internal drive can be stimulated and serve as the continuous source of motivation that pushes them forward so that they would stand confidently on the podium of life in the next 5, 10 or even 20 years.
Over the past 25 years, nearly 3,000 graduates have set out from Huijia School.
After graduating from various prestigious universities, they have had to shake off the aura of belonging to ‘the graduates of famous universities’ and join in the new competitions in all walks of life.
When we hear about their latest stories again after a few years of hard work in their respective fields, we are delighted for the right decisions we made in offering them the scholarships back then.
Starting today, we will open a new section named Scholarship Winning Alumni to introduce how those winners are doing now.
We hope, by sharing their growth stories, we will enable ourselves, as well as more families to reflect upon our children’s growth and inspire more children to picture their future.
We wish that we would always have plenty of stories as the inexhaustible resources for our writing.
In the first issue, we will introduce Ding Ke, one of Huijia’s 2nd IB Alumni, the First Prize Winner of the 1996-1997 Huijia Scholarship and the current Director of Content Distribution and Production at the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation).
I first met Ding Ke in the office building where the company she works for, the BBC, is located.
Even though our interview appointment was at 3:30 pm, Ding turned up late due to her tight meeting schedule. After rushing downstairs, she firstly apologized and then took a glance at her watch, a habitual behavior. Clearly she had another meeting to attend.
‘Never mind, I will try to follow your arrangement.’
According to Ding Ke, she has been in contact with her mother school over the years and recently, she took her husband and two children to Huijia School’s 25th anniversary celebration, where she met a lot of teachers who taught her before and reunited with many old friends who once studied together with her.
It is this kind of uninterrupted connection that makes Ding Ke see herself as a member of the Huijia family.
8 Years’ hard work in the BBC as a communicator between two cultures
This year is Ding’s eighth year working for the BBC, her second job since graduating from the University of Manchester in the UK.
After arriving at the BBC, Ding and her colleagues successfully introduced many famous British children TV programs such as SpongeBob Square Pants and In the Night Garden and documentaries such as Frozen Planet and Dynasties. In addition to that, she also worked with new media in China in planning and producing a series of documentaries such as Planet Earth Season 2.
During the promotion of cultural products, Ding Ke deeply felt and clearly recognized that she was constantly travelling between the two different cultures, therefore the understanding of each culture and communication ability play a crucial role.
‘We should not only understand the BBC culture and British culture, but also understand how to make innovation and promotion in China.’
When it comes to cultural exchanges, Ding recalled that her earliest enlightenment came from her learning experience in Huijia.
Ding joined Huijia in 1995 at the 5th Grade of primary school and the following year, she became one of the second group of primary school students who the school sent to the United States for a one-year study, where she attended classes with local students and teachers and traveled frequently during weekends to experience American local culture. All these experiences and cultural shock left a profound impact on Ding’s mind in the time when China was not as international as it is today.
Shortly after Ding became a Huijia student, in 1997, the school successfully became one of the few earliest IB World Schools in China.
As a graduate in the school’s second IB cohort, Ding received a type of education which was completely new to Chinese parents.
‘ None of us had a clear idea about the concept of the IB education, and it was not until I started working did I begin to realize the impact of the IB education on us.’
Speaking of the current work, Ding said she was very grateful to Huijia for the training of an open mind, which enables her to calmly tackle all kinds of difficulties encountered in the job. Another word repetitively mentioned by Ding was Innovation.
‘ Innovation is an extraordinarily important capability for our video content producers, as well as a universal demand for all workers of our time.’
‘ I am grateful to Huijia for allowing me to grow up in an environment that cultivated an open mind and the spirit of innovation. With these abilities, I am able to think outside the box, which is a kind of innovation, and I benefit a lot from it.’
Good Education is all about Enabling
After working for many years, Ding deeply recognized that a good education should be the one that empowers learners with a certain type of ability.
‘If you develop a type of ability, you will benefit from it all your life. For example if you have the learning ability, then learning can be sustained throughout your life, as natural as breathing.’
According to Ding, another type of ability significantly enhanced during the studies in Huijia was her thinking ability.
In 1998, UNESCO organized a youth forum in Paris, inviting young people from all over the world to participate and offering only one place for a participant from China.
Together with a number of students from the key middle schools in Beijing, Ding Ke participated in the selection program. After entering the conference room, most of kids appeared to be very self-conscious, waiting quietly for the teachers’ instructions as if they were going to be sent to a battlefield.
‘What would you like to drink?’ in order to ease down the tense atmosphere, one of the teachers asked around. ‘Water please…’, ‘Me too…’ some kids managed to squeeze a few words out from the mouths with a shy look on their faces.
‘I would like some Coke!’ A clear voice called out, without any reluctance. Teacher Zhang followed the voice and saw a girl looking at him straightly into the eyes, apparently she wasn’t treating him as the so-called ‘organizer’, ‘leader’ or ‘authority’ and thus feeling nervous.
‘This is exactly the feeling we are looking for! This is a bubbly girl and I am sure she will handle the big scene quite well when she goes abroad.’
After two months of intensive training, Ding, as the only representative of Chinese students, travelled to France to attend this international forum and delivered in English a speech on youth education.
Ding said she didn’t realize how different she was, however several years later, she came to a realization that it was this confidence and open mind that pushed herself forward step by step. When these abilities were combined with global vision, she was braver to challenge herself seek a larger stage, in the way that she knocked on the door of the BBC.
At that time, she had accumulated 5 to 6 years’ experience promoting Chinese TV programs abroad. However when it came to promoting overseas programs in China, her experience remained blank.
She remembered one sentence she said that impressed the interviewers: ‘Even though I haven’t any experience promoting overseas programs in China, I believe I can think and do things the other way around and I believe I am qualified for the job.’
It was this confidence and unique thinking mode that impressed the interviewers. Most importantly, Ding delivered on her potential after entering the BBC.
During the 8 years working for the BBC, Ding and her colleagues witnessed the great change in times, how traditional media and new media interact and work together.
It is under their effort that the BBC, serving as a traditional content provider, continues to create new sparks with new media in the country, making one legend after another in the industry.
Ding believes the ability of lifelong learning will enable her to keep up with the pace of the times, finding opportunities and breakthroughs in changes and open up a new world.
Having an enriched mind, is the biggest expectation I have on my children
Now Ding Ke is already a mother of two. Despite her busy work, she insists on providing her child with the most effective company. She believes that an intimate parent-child relationship which allows parents and children grow together will bring invaluable benefit to the children.
Influenced by her own growth path, Ding hopes her children could also grow up in a happy, inclusive and diversified environment just like herself when she was in Huijia. As Ding recalls, before she joined Huijia, she had studied in a local public school, getting no attention from anyone due to her mediocre performance in the school.
After she came to Huijia, she began to participate in various competitions and host school events. The school was no longer a closed space and the students can always keep themselves connected with society and the international community at large.
This rich environment, according to Ding, allowed her to release her strengths and enrich her mind with the aspiration to explore the world.
‘Education, above all, should make every child a complete individual with enriched inner being. I hope my children can be like that as well.’
Recently Ding brought her family members back to Huijia to meet her teachers and classmates.
To the teachers, Ding Ke is still what she was like before, but even more outstanding.
‘I am very proud to be a member of Huijia.’ Ding Ke said, ‘The genes of education can be passed down from generation to generation and I believe that my children can go further than we do.’