Milestone Moments | Looking Back on Keystone’s Exciting School Year 2021-2022

By Andy Peñafuerte III

Keystone Academy’s eighth year in operation has been marked by exciting student and faculty moments, impressive cultural exhibitions, and many more. Imagine how far we have gone in the past ten months, and of course, the drive and enthusiasm that everyone has demonstrated so we can move forward as a community. Here are Keystone’s milestones in the academic year 2021-2022.



September 2021

We Grow as We Learn: Students and Staff Mark Fresh Start of Keystone’s Eighth Year

The Keystone community welcomes the new academic year with the theme of “We Grow as We Learn”. Primary School students held grade-level orientations in the newly refurbished PS cafeteria. In Secondary School, junior and senior students participated in team-building activities, co-organized by the Experiential Learning Department and faculty teams, in the quad. New and returning faculty engaged in professional growth sessions and deep-dive workshops as part of the Education Summit teacher orientation activities.

Panoramas of Magnificence: Events on Dunhuang at Keystone

In early September, Keystone co-hosted a back-to-back event on the art, history, and culture of Dunhuang, a significant landmark on the Silk Road. The event opened with the Panoramas of Magnificence art exhibition and was followed by the Keystone Education Salon on the timeless allure of and preservation work in Dunhuang. We have more details about this event, right here.

Ninth Graders Begin “Footprints” Service Learning Journey

The Community Service group of the Student Life Office officially launched the “Footprints” Program, a collection of service activities designed to enhance the overall boarding experience of Grade 9 students. In mid-September, Director of Service Learning Zadok Huang introduced non-governmental organizations and charities with which ninth graders work on Footprints Program projects that assist or engage with disadvantaged children, people with mental and physical disabilities, and the elderly, or that preserve cultural and natural heritage.



October 2021

Literature Atlas Visualizes “A Thousand Sides of Meili Mountain” in Student-Led Exhibition

Student participants of Literature Atlas exhibited the visual works that they created during their trip to Meili Snow Mountain at the Performing Arts Center. In mid-October, Literature Playhouse hosted an opening ceremony for the exhibition, attended by a group of parents and Secondary School students. Literature Atlas was part of the Global Initiatives: China Experiences expeditions in the summer of 2021.



November 2021

Student Thespians Go on a “Quest” in Mogao Grottoes in Chinese Drama Production

Keystone’s tradition of showing a gripping Chinese drama production returned after a brief break with the staging of Wen Dao (English title “Quest”) on November 10 and 11. This production involved student actors, dancers, and theater artists from Secondary School. Wen Dao looked through the experiences of different people from three eras to tell a story about the discovery and preservation of the Mogao Grottoes in Dunhuang.



December 2021

Foundation Kids Thank Houshayu Firefighters

In early December, Keystone’s youngest students paid a visit to the nearby Houshayu Fire Station to show their gratitude and support to the town’s emergency responders. Foundation Year students wrote cards and made banners of appreciation for an academic unit where they learned about Thanksgiving and other celebrations around the world. Firefighters also showed our students some pieces of firefighting equipment.

Keystone Becomes an Apple Distinguished School

Representatives from Apple presented Keystone with our Apple Distinguished School banner on December 3. The award was given during a workshop co-hosted by the Digital and Innovative Learning Department and Apple technicians who shared technical updates and engaged with Keystone faculty for five different sessions. These activities aimed to enhance teaching and learning at Keystone using Apple tools.

Parent Professionals Engage with High Schoolers in Keystone’s 2021 Career Fair

In mid-December, the Office of College Counseling and the Parent and Alumni Relations Office hosted a career fair for Keystone high school students. Nearly 40 Keystone parents and community members working in different industries participated in the fair as presenters and showcased projects and materials to introduce their careers to student attendees. Aside from this, presenters also spoke to students about the skills needed to excel in the labor market and tackle opportunities for advancement.



January 2022

Tenth Graders Look into Global Issues in Fourth Keystone United Nations

Grade 10 students closed the first semester of this academic year with a day-long conference on solving global issues together. On the fourth Keystone United Nations (KUN) Day on January 21, student delegates presented statistical visualizations demonstrating potential policy decisions. In their classes, they studied global economics and statistics, focusing on sustainable development goals, development indicators, and other data of individual nations to prepare for the KUN. This interdisciplinary unit was undertaken by the Math and Individuals and Societies departments.



February 2022

Literature Playhouse Celebrates Milestone 3 Million Social Media Views

More than two years since Literature Playhouse organized virtual activities in response to the pandemic, the club has truly gone the extra mile. Literature Playhouse has achieved more than three million combined online views from 24 videos from Season 1 and 13 videos from the “A Museum of Solitude” column. The Literature Playhouse team looks forward to inviting more people to share and celebrate our shared curiosity about the world by engaging in literature.



March 2022

#BreakTheBias: Keystone Observes International Women’s Day

Keystone Academy joined the world in breaking gender biases and celebrating the courage, dignity, and immense power of women to advance society on International Women’s Day (March 8). Members of the Girls LEAD (Leadership Excellence, Acceptance, Diversity) Club handed out self-designed stickers about women’s empowerment to students and faculty, while the HR team gifted our employees with a pot of blossoming plants which symbolizes the beauty of spring, life, and growth. The Dean of Faculty Office visited classrooms and department suites to give #BreakTheBias flyers to remind that everyone has a primary role in ensuring and protecting gender equality. The Library team also published a list of books that celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women around the world.

Student-Led Campus Weekend Extravaganza Showcases Keystone’s “China and World” Aspect

Keystone’s Campus Weekend on March 25-27 became a celebration of culture and diversity with the back-to-back Cultural Mosaic and China Day events organized by Annie Geng, Katie Lan (both G10), Sean Chang, Sophia Chen, Sophia Du, Andy Han, Steve Sun, Molly Wang, and Jessica Zeng (all G11) and joined by the entire Secondary School student and faculty body. On Day 1, dubbed World Day, Secondary students teamed up with expatriate and Chinese teachers to bring the most spectacular characteristics of different nations to the Keystone campus community. The following event, China Day, was equally as exciting and gripping as it turned Keystone into a living museum that honored the impressive heritage, vitality, and longevity of Chinese civilization.



April 2022

We Grow as We Learn: Keystone Springs Into “Healthy Eating Month”

The Keystone Food and Food Waste Committee opened April with the Healthy Eating Campaign, inviting the Keystone community to join a wonderful journey to become wiser eaters with the special guest, Dr. Chew Chew. As part of the campaign, students, parents, and staff took on three weeks of fun and healthy eating challenges on campus and at home. Primary and Secondary students also went on farm trips to understand the food production cycle.

Girls in STEMM Hosts Keystone Alumnae Panel

In mid-April, the Girls in STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, Medicine) Club hosted a virtual panel featuring four Keystone alumnae engaging in the STEM field in university. Tori Gu ’21 (University of Rochester), Symonne Liu ’21 (University of Chicago), Angela Wang ’21 (incoming Johns Hopkins University student), and Cynthia Xing ’19 (Brown University) shared their thoughts about their chosen STEM-related majors and how their universities and current communities aspire to reach gender equality.

Love of Reading Month: Keystone Takes on Fantastic Reading Escapades

The Keystone Libraries successfully led our school’s celebration of Love of Reading Month with a series of short musical presentations from student bands and flash mobs and literary activities that followed the school’s annual theme of We Grow as We Learn. The Keystone Libraries team hopes that the entire community can enjoy good books and good food together and celebrate having healthy hearts and healthy minds.



May 2022

Students and Faculty Return to Distance Learning and Teaching Anew

Keystone returned to distance learning and teaching following instructions from Shunyi authorities due to pandemic developments in the capital. The Primary and Secondary Divisions sent families “essential learning packets” or materials that could help enhance students’ online learning experience. Head of School Malcolm McKenzie reminded the community of the great work they had done since the start of the academic year and encouraged everyone to maintain their drive.

Keystone Blooms with Symbolic Tree from Class of 2022 Families

Parents of Keystone Class of 2022 members gifted the school a fully grown Chinese flowering chestnut, a tree species abounding in cultural symbolism. The Wen Guan Tree, as it is called by parent donors, is noted for being an auspicious shrub in imperial-era China. The five-meter-tall tree is named after the characters of wén (文, lit. “culture”) and guàn (冠, lit. “crown” or “champion” when referring to its homonym guān) and is said to be a place of gathering for ancient students preparing for imperial and court examinations. The Wen Guan Tree was planted on the northwestern side of the Keystone Sports Field on May 7. 



June 2022

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

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, received more than 380 college and university admission offers from over 140 schools as of early May 2022, several of which were Keystone’s first-time placements to highly selective institutions around the world.