The Keystone Academy Class of 2020 has received 308 offers from leading colleges and universities across the world.

Keystone’s third graduating cohort of 69 students underwent a rigorous college and university admissions process, with more than two thirds of them participating in the early application process, and each getting a satisfactory admission notice. Twenty-two of those early takers were given early decision offers. Meanwhile, a number of selective and highly ranked universities around the world also gave Keystone students admission offers during the regular admissions cycles. Several members of this year’s crop have also clinched full scholarships for the first time among Keystone’s three cohorts.

The high-caliber schools from which our students have received offers come from nine countries and regions, including several Ivy League institutions in the United States and prestigious universities in the United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada.

Encouraging Students to Pursue Their Interests

The breadth and diversity of this year’s university offers demonstrates the strength of a Keystone education, reflecting its high academic standard and attesting to the quality of co-curricular provision that students receive throughout their tenure in the school.

Dean of Curriculum and Associate Head of School Lili Jia highlights the “new world school” model of Keystone, which integrates the “essence of the Chinese, American, and global educational traditions.” Ms. Jia adds that Keystone’s immersive Chinese-English bilingual teaching model, the Chinese Thread curriculum, and the school’s residential program all cultivate students’ “leadership, citizenship, values and social skills, and independent personality necessary for future success.”

Office of College Counseling (OCC) Directors Percy Jiang and Amanda Yan join students and their families in celebrating the college admissions results, as well as the achievements and positive growth the entire Class of 2020 has made at Keystone.

Ms. Yan highlights Keystone’s five shared values in developing students who have a robust relationship with peers and community members. She adds that many of this year’s graduates have shown maturity and a “better level of understanding” of universities, making them “less worried [of the uncertainties],” and she attributes this to the consistency of support, not only from the OCC but also across the community. In addition to the assistance provided by teachers and counselors, school leaders, and different departments, Ms. Yan says high school students also enjoy help and information from Keystone alumni.

Meanwhile, Mr. Jiang says the Keystone philosophy of not ranking people and institutions has informed the choices of the school’s graduates. Several students from the Class of 2020 have shown great interest in the field of science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM) or interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary studies. A large portion of the class also received admission notices from top liberal arts colleges in the United States.

“We encourage students to pursue the field of their interest and go for that journey,” Mr. Jiang says, “You are applying for yourself, and not for any other people or even Keystone. We will always be proud of you.”

The “Trailblazers” Ready for the World

The coronavirus pandemic has far-reaching impacts on the education system, but it has also shown how schools and individuals rise to challenges. While Keystone Academy temporarily closed its campus from mid-January to late April, it put into action a dynamic online learning and teaching program that is “rooted in heritage, outward in perspective and framed by our five shared values.”

Like many of their counterparts across the world, Keystone seniors have continued learning virtually in the past four months despite the technological hurdles and implications of physical distancing measures. For Head of High School Dr. Diana Martelly, the defining factor of Keystone students lies in the strength of their bilingualism, biculturalism, and character and community involvement that they develop through the school’s three keystones, and will demonstrate as they go on to new learning journeys.

Dr. Martelly also calls the Keystone Class of 2020 “trailblazers” who have risen to the occasion and performed actions that have not been expected from any previous classes. She says she is confident that Keystone educators prepare students to leave the school with the certainty that they have the character, skills, and knowledge to help make the world a better place.

Alongside the online learning program, the OCC, the Center for Student Development (CSD), and the Secondary School Office have provided support to the outgoing Keystone seniors and their families through virtual conferences and online counseling sessions. Just recently, the three offices hosted a webinar on preparing the seniors for university life amid the uncertain months ahead.

This level of support also goes down the line to the eleventh and tenth graders and their families, Ms. Yan says, as the OCC informs them of the trends in university admissions, testing dates, and effects of the pandemic on college education abroad, through an online repository and virtual three-way conferences. These are in addition to regular sessions with college representatives and virtual chats with Keystone alumni. Mr. Jiang says their work continues regardless of the situation, but what he tells students is to “Stay good, keep learning, be curious, and worry less about the things that are not under your control.”

“Keystone Is a People”

On April 29, around 60 Keystone seniors returned to campus for the first time since January to share their Character and Community presentations, the culminating project for their Keystone Diploma. Before the main activity, the students gathered for their final Secondary School assembly together with advisors, teachers, and school leaders present in the Multi-Purpose Room, and their younger peers who watched virtually.

Cady Feng and Francis Liu delivered a joint speech on behalf of the graduating class. Francis noted that while the crisis had compressed the process of them saying goodbye to the Keystone community into a single day, it has “encouraged me to be more empathetic and helped me to look at the better side of things.” Cady shared her poignant thought that “Keystone is not a place, it’s a people.”

“It is not these tables and chairs and walls. It’s is not a physical location. Collectively, it’s something that holds us together that I have no idea how to define. For each of us, Keystone is the sum of the relationships we form with the people here. So please, stay close together, be with Keystone this way.”

Dean of Curriculum and Associate Head of School Lili Jia calls on this year’s crop to stay determined despite the uncertainties.

“Your future path of seeking knowledge and life may not be a smooth one. But live a life of wonderful pursuits and splendid dreams,” Ms. Jia said. “May you be determined and ready to act. Stick to your virtue and remain simple and honest. Stay passionate, open-minded, and optimistic. Use positive behaviors to influence the people around you. Be a warm and responsible person, so that your perseverance and dreams can stand the test of time.”

In his address, Head of School Malcolm McKenzie told the Keystone seniors about the “amazing bond” that this year’s graduates across the world will have, and urged them to “take inspiration and courage from what you have been through or are going through.”

“Do not dwell too long on the sorrows of a semester away from the school. They are real, and must be marked, but they are almost over. Think of what you have learned and lived through so strongly, and make good use of these lessons that are unique to the Classes of 2020 all over the world. Yours will be a totally remarkable cohort, globally,” Mr. McKenzie said.

Click here to view the complete list of college and university acceptances.



Percy Jiang

Before joining Keystone, Percy Jiang served as the college counselor at the Beijing National Day School and helped to start its college counseling project, building a professional counseling team with his expertise and resources. 

Yanni Liu

Yanni has been working in the college counseling field for many years, both in public and private schools in Beijing and Shenzhen.

Bill Russo

Bill has been working in college counseling since 2016, most recently at The High School Affiliated to Renmin University of China, International Curriculum Center.