Keystone’s Fifth Graduating Cohort Celebrates Milestone Moments and Offers from Over 140 Prestigious Schools Worldwide

By Andy Peñafuerte III

The Keystone Academy Class of 2022 celebrates their personal successes and collective growth as they mark a milestone in the school’s history.

Keystone’s fifth graduating cohort of 77 students, the largest since the school’s establishment, has received more than 380 college and university admission offers from over 140 schools as of early May 2022, several of which are Keystone’s first-time placement to highly selective institutions around the world. This first-time list includes offers from Yale University, Wellesley College, Tufts University, Washington University in St. Louis, Colby College, and Davidson College (United States), the University of Oxford (United Kingdom), and Waseda University (Japan), among many other outstanding colleges and universities where earlier cohorts of Keystone graduates have already enrolled.

Nearly three out of four students who had participated in the early application process had also considered multiple destinations. Members of the cohort have received an average of five offers, which, according to the Keystone Office of College Counseling, highlight not only their competitiveness but also their desirability as global citizens.


“Keystone students really broke through in a competitive year,” college counselor Bill Russo shares. “They had a fair idea of how they wanted to present themselves. And their Keystone experience has developed them as a whole person who is globally minded but culturally grounded. And this came out strong in their applications.”

The breadth and diversity of this year’s university offers demonstrate the strength of a Keystone education, reflecting both its high academic standards and also attesting to the quality of co-curricular provision that students receive throughout their time at the school.


*The complete list will be published in August 2022 on the website.


Milestone Moments of the Keystone Class of 2022


Director of College Counseling Percy Jiang says the Keystone Class of 2022 has “blossomed in many ways”, noting that remarkable college and university admission offers this year are spread out to more students, compared to the application performance of previous cohorts. But what is better, Mr. Jiang says, is every Class of 2022 member has described their next academic destinations as an “excellent fit” to their personalities and aspirations.


“To some extent, the performance of the Class of 2022 confirms that the Keystone education benefits a wider range of students,” Mr. Jiang adds.

“It has been the ‘culture’ of the Office of College Counseling to let our students find the right school. Once they receive an offer that suits them the most, they will withdraw their pending applications so these opportunities will open to more students. This action shows their decisiveness and reflects how the Keystone shared values guide them in their choices.”

Mr. Jiang notes that many colleges and universities have already adapted to the volatility of regional and global pandemic situations, and that the number of applications for this year’s intake has been almost similar to pre-pandemic benchmarks. Mr. Russo adds that there has been an uptick in the number of Keystone applicants going to universities across Asia, particularly in Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, and Japan, as some “consider not being too far from home”, while others “look for new experiences in places with similar cultures”. For Mr. Jiang, this trend diversifies the range of destinations and expands the future networks of Keystone students.

Regarding the selection of university majors, college counselor Liu Yanni says the past two years have given Keystone students and parents longer time to make “more rational choices and [set] clearer goals” towards their chosen academic tracks. She adds that most Class of 2022 members will pursue the STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) field, liberal arts and humanities, business and economics, philosophy, and psychology.


“The varied paths of our new graduates inspire our current juniors and the next graduating cohorts,” Ms. Liu shares, referencing her conversations with high school students and parents. “Our current juniors and the lower-grade students tell me about how significant the Keystone community is for their growth. And that’s not just only about academics. They also speak about the sense of community here and the admirable spirit of service that many other students show—and these all define their Keystone experience.”

The Keystone Class of 2022 has witnessed many transitions over the past three years. As then-tenth graders when the pandemic started, they successfully juggled the complexities of distance learning with a spate of very demanding coursework, including the Keystone United Nations interdisciplinary unit. All the while, several class members formed groups and launched initiatives to help communities affected by the then-novel coronavirus outbreak in the country. The class entered their eleventh-grade year by joining an in-campus conference that challenged them to relate their personal initiatives and academic projects to activities where they could embody actionable change. Prepared for potential disruptions, the cohort sailed through a relatively steady academic year in China.


Head of High School Dr. Régine de Blegiers notes that the Class of 2022 has held on and “stayed playful, remained positive, and always made sure to have fun” even amid difficult situations, most especially during the recent outbreak in Beijing.

“The class has a broad range of talents,” Dr. de Blegiers tells the soon-to-be graduates she has interacted with since she arrived at Keystone in December 2021.  “This is the fifth group that completed the Keystone Middle Years programme, which has prepared them to take on the Keystone Diploma Programme. They are problem solvers, critical thinkers and showed how important are our shared values by involving in our community in many ways.”

“We would describe the class as courageous,” she continues. “The last two years have been extremely challenging for all of you, but you never gave up, worked hard, and always kept smiling. Resilience is key to success, and you have it!”

Several Keystone Class of 2022 members share their stand-out moments that have defined their Keystone experience. Brady Ding feels all his endeavors at Keystone have made him a “complete person”. He has been an active student leader for the Keystone Service Council for four years while doing some campus gigs with his Rolling Keystones bandmates and being a member of the basketball varsity team on the side. He says he will tap into these moments as he builds his new community at Davidson College in North Carolina. Meanwhile, for Nicole Wei and Karen Zhang, Keystone’s focus on academic interdisciplinarity has widened their perspectives and led them to their current paths. Nicole’s interest in interactive design blossomed when she entered Keystone in Grade 7. At the time, her Middle School Design class allowed her to explore different aspects of the subject, such as ergonomics and entertainment. She will further pursue this interest at Washington University in St. Louis. Karen will study a major in biology at Brown University as her previous class experiences and recent service-oriented projects at Keystone have encouraged her to take on a path where she can do something for the environment and nature.

As the Keystone Class of 2022 prepares for their graduation this month, another community member celebrates a milestone moment. Head of School Malcolm McKenzie marks the 30th anniversary of his four principalships this summer, also in time for his retirement this year. Mr. McKenzie calls it an honor to “graduate” with Keystone’s soon-to-be graduates.

“They are a creative, diligent, and diversely talented group,” Mr. McKenzie says. “This has been a high-flying and low-maintenance class.  That’s a combination I applaud.”