Latest Edition of “Letters from Malcolm McKenzie” Crystallizes Keystone’s Story

By Andy Peñafuerte III

“Write what should not be forgotten.”

—Isabel Allende



Every Friday throughout the past eight academic years, Keystone Academy’s founding Head of School Malcolm McKenzie has consistently published letters and messages in the weekly newsletter In the Loop. What used to be his way of informing the community of the action within the confines of the campus has become a well-received literary tradition and a source of wisdom for parents, students, and employees.

Mr. McKenzie has written over 271 pieces of weekly letters for his column, and these epistles recorded the changes and milestones in Keystone, celebrated the achievements of the community, and put forward the founding Head’s idea of a new world school. In his foreword for the Keystone Yearbook 2021-2022, which he has also published in his column, Mr. McKenzie notes:

In the midst of all this growth, and change, we have remained true to our founding purpose.

… our five Confucian values; our three keystones; our focus on drawing the best from three powerful educational and academic traditions; (and) our clear understanding of what it means to be a world school and to carry on exploring and deepening this …

Continuity of mission, values, and quality is never to be taken for granted, and we have not become complacent in this regard; but I feel confident in proclaiming that we have more than delivered on the promises made before we opened. This gives me huge pleasure, and satisfaction.

This year, Mr. McKenzie will celebrate the 30th anniversary of his principalship, in time for his retirement from leading four schools. To commemorate his wonderful years of leadership at Keystone, the Keystone Office of Marketing and Communications publishes the third and final volume of Letters from Malcolm McKenzie, a collection of his messages between December 2019 and November 2021.

Letters from Malcolm McKenzie, Volume III expounds the author’s deep understanding of Keystone and its core educational ideas and documents the highlights of creating this new world school. Deeply touching and masterfully crafted, his letters provide a vivid literary image of the educational ideal represented by the Keystone community. The compilation features chapters about Mr. McKenzie’s reflections at the height of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 and his emphasis on the keen thoughts of the younger generation—the Keystone students and alumni.

As the last summer that Mr. McKenzie will spend at Keystone draws near, the school will close a celebrated chapter in its eight-year-strong history. Through this publication, the conversations sparked by Mr. McKenzie will grow brighter each time. In the pieces of his thought, crystallized in this anthology, the story of Keystone will endure the test of time and touch the lives of many others in the future.

Enjoy reading Letters from Malcolm McKenzie, Volume III, a labor of love of an educator committed to sharing a lifelong curiosity for learning and passion for education.



Charity Sale of Letters from Malcolm McKenzie, Volume III

This edition of Letters from Malcolm McKenzie, Volume III is published in hardback and costs RMB 100 for the benefit of Educating Girls of Rural China (EGRC), an organization committed to providing financial support and emotional care to rural students in economically disadvantaged areas of China. Keystone has donated the previous volume’s proceeds of RMB 25,000 to EGRC.

Click this link to pre-order. We will deliver the anthology to you shortly. For subscription inquiries, contact us at or 010-8049-6008.



Preview of Letters from Malcolm McKenzie, Volume III

Chapter 1: Pandemic, People, Possibilities


1: The School Is Open Even Though the Campus Is      Closed

2: Empathy Engines

3: Cooler Campus, Warmer School

4: Perspectives on a Crisis

5: Reopening as Rebirth

6: Reflections on Returning

7: Fresh Responses, Not Tired Routines

8: Remaining Generous and Steadfast

9: Continuing Not to Live But to Thrive

10: A Culture of Lasting Value

11: Extending Gazes, Keeping the Spirit of Generosity Alive



Chapter 2: Fine Figures


1: Be Yourself

2: Think About People and Stay United

3: Leadership Exchange

4: Find Your Feet, Discover Your Voice

5: Service That Warms the Heart

6: The Ability to Be Critical and Observant

7: The “Transformations” of the Class of 2021

8: Be a Teacher

9: Attitude Is the Mind’s Paintbrush

10: An Attitude Towards Failing and Failure

11: Telling Them of My Happiness



Chapter 3: Keystone Gemstones


1: The Gemstones on Keystone’s Soil

2: A ‘Golden Thought’ Into the Old and the New

3: A Rewarding Place

4: The Reasons to Choose Keystone

5: Maintaining Flexibility in the Future

6: A School Born and Bred on Courtesy

7: The Power of Partnerships

8: The Possibilities Springing from Partnerships

9: A Culture and Climate of Inclusivity

10: What Is Keystone’s “Special Quality”?

11: The Things to Be Grateful For



Chapter 4: Personal Echoes


1: “Impossibly Cool” Goals

2: The Keystone Environment Task Force

3: Ecological Eating: An Inspiring Lead

4: Earth Academies

5: Personal Echoes

6: Standing Up Against Racism

7: The Spirit of Service Is the Spirit of Optimism

8: Offering Fine Education to the Needy

9: What Has Changed and What Remains the Same?

10: Deep Learning

11: Commitments and Community: Allied and Tied



Chapter 5: Transcendent Thoughts


1: The “Foremost Task of Education” During Trying Times

2: We Grow as We Learn

3: Values Added

4: Dignity Is the Real Deal

5: Nuanced Leaders

6: Critical Feeling

7: The Power of Keeping Calm and Carrying On

8: What Is the Right Thing to Do?

9: A Holistic Educational Experience

10: “Use Your Kindness to Light Up Others”

11: Christmas Is for Giving, but Forgiving Is Forever