WEEKLY MESSAGE FROM HEAD OF SCHOOL 2021/06/07-2021/​06/​13

Dear Parents, Students, Colleagues,

Did you know that our secondary division has its own student broadcasting station?  Every morning during the first break, for just a few minutes, students bring us up to date with school and other news, opinions, interesting facts, and the like. The students do a very fine job. I was recently recorded by some of our student broadcasters giving my responses to the eight questions below that they asked me. These ‘answers’ will be part of a program next week on Wednesday. I want to share those questions with you here, and give you my slightly edited and perhaps more considered responses in writing, essentially the same as in the broadcast, but modified just a little.

 1.     What in the Keystone community left a deep impression in your mind this school year? You can share with us multiple events or just one that you are very impressed with.

It’s so difficult to select from the many deep impressions that I have of this school year. But here are two: a very general one is the brave way in which we have dealt with the pandemic so far; the second is very specific, and is our recent graduation ceremony, which was beautiful. To expand on a few words in the previous sentence: ‘brave’ summarizes for me the courage we have displayed over the past 16 to 17 months, and ‘so far’ warns us that we must continue to be alert to whatever the pandemic might still put before us; and ‘beautiful’ is exactly the right word for our graduation, which was indeed a spectacle of beauty.

2.     Why is Keystone special or distinguished among the other schools?

I don’t like to think of Keystone as being special in relation to other schools. All schools have their special qualities. If we are special, we are special in and for ourselves. This special Keystone quality is to be found in our mission, especially our five shared values and our three keystones. These make an irresistible and compelling combination. If other schools find this distinguished, and can learn from us, so be it. I am always looking to learn from good practices elsewhere.

3.     What are your opinions towards the service programs here at Keystone? How do you think young Keystone students dedicated and contributed to the resolve of certain social problems?

Our service programs are growing every semester in range, participation and impact. Parents are helping to develop these opportunities. The Sishui project in Shandong is exciting in a transformative way. Keystone students have responded in some amazing ways to help those in danger from the pandemic. I see our students gaining more and more those skills and also the resolve needed to help solve substantial social problems.

4.     What do you want to say to the students who are participating in leadership positions and making changes within the school?

 Think big, act small – which means: feel empowered, but pay attention to detail.  Then, speak up, and act down – which means: voice boldly your opinions to those with influence, but act humbly.

5.     As we all know, this summer, several trips will happen domestically within China, all led by Keystone faculty members. What do you look forward to the most in these trips and what do you think is most special about the experiential learning programs at Keystone?

I look forward to going to Yunnan, with three other Keystone colleagues and 27 students, at the end of June. This will be a most amazing journey of multiple discoveries, like all the other trips. Our experiential learning program at Keystone has a dedicated and expert director, teachers and staff who understand deeply the value of the learning that can take place outside the classroom, and a commitment to making or finding the time for learning by doing.

6.     After the summer programs and global trips we’ve just talked about, we are curious about your plan for this upcoming summer vacation? Will you travel?

When I come back from Yunnan, I’ll have three weeks here, working and catching up.  Then I’ll spend a week at the Labrang Monastery in Xiahe, Gansu Province. I would love to go home, like so many of my non-Chinese colleagues, but that is not possible and will have to wait.

7.     Here comes a difficult one. I know many students are in a struggle answering it. Name one of your favorite dishes that Chartwells provides. Please note, you can only name one. 

Let me say first that Chartwells provides a really creative and delicious service to Keystone. I am not surprised that it can be a struggle to find a favorite among so many tasty flavors. I cannot understand why anyone wants to order takeout food here, at any time. My favorite dish is probably eggplant, qiezi, in all its varieties: cold in salad, stewed with meat, braised with potatoes, and other versions as well.

8.     And finally, to end with an easier question. What is the place that you like the most in the Keystone campus and why?

I like my office the most! It feels like my small home, almost an extension of myself.  But that’s a little flippant. I love the High School Library and the two Lecture Theaters. They are elegant expressions of our Chinese Thread, and spaces that are inspiring and intimate at the same time.


With warm regards, 

Malcolm McKenzie

Head of School