Newsletter – Upper School Library
March 13th 2023
This week we celebrated International Women’s Day in the library by having a fun contest with four different prompts to choose from.
Several students, and even a few faculty, submitted to the contest. The three student winners were Divay Agarwal (G7), Angelina Gao (G6), and Xin-Yu Lisa Wu (G6). I also gave a bonus prize to our Upper School Vice-Principal, Mr. Liam O’Shea, for his touching essay about his daughter, Kana. They all won 50 RMB gift cards for the school café.
Here are a few excerpts from the winning entries:
Beginning of Angelina’s short story:
“Cynthia quickly shoved her books under her bed as she heard the door creek open. She tried not to look suspicious, her brother walked in the bedroom. Altair, her brother walked past Cynthia, without even saying ‘hi’, he put a few coins in a small jar and put it back under the bed. Cynthia waved to Altair but he walked back outside. Cynthia reached under her bed, trying to find the books she hid. She isn’t very good at reading; she could only recognize the simple words. Cynthia has never been to school; she wasn’t allowed to, not by the government, not by her family.”
Part of Lisa Wu’s essay on five things she’d like to change for women: “Sexism is a problem so broad to solve. It comes in mind of others, they think that women are not as strong, not as useful as men, can’t do things that men do. But I don’t think so, women can do the things that men do too. They shouldn’t see women differently just because of a different gender, women can do the things that men do, if you give them the chance! Women shouldn’t be seen differently than men, they should have the same opportunities that as a men do. They can be on the posts that you expect a men should be on. I think we should all try to look forward and give women the rights to be the same as the mans.”
Intro to Divay’s essay on women’s rights:
“Women's rights are an ever-expanding area of human rights law that seeks to promote equality and opportunity for all women across the globe. By recognizing, removing, and preventing gender discrimination, in fields such as employment, education, and health care, we can ensure every woman receives the same opportunities that men do. The UN Women agency works alongside governments, advocating for greater access to education and economic participation for women with particular goals set out: increase public services vital to women's lives; political empowerment through broader representation at all decision-making levels; removal of violence; respect and promotion of the rights of vulnerable groups such as indigenous women or those living in extreme poverty; stronger legal systems that recognize women’s right to decide on marriage ages. Women's rights are fundamental human rights that must be upheld if our societies hope to continue advancing.”
And, lastly, a tidbit from Mr. O’Shea’s essay about his daughter. He’s talking about her life after moving around the world going to several different schools from elementary age to the end of high school.
“Kana started to live in Vancouver. She got a tattoo. Then a few more. She went to Simon Fraser University, and it was really hard. Even though her grandparents were there, sometimes she felt all alone. She started working part-time, helping children who had different learning needs. Some of them had autism spectrum disorder, or attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder. Some of them had Down’s Syndrome. Some of them did not have good home lives. Kana cared for them all. It was really hard. She made new memories, and made her way in the world.
COVID happened. It was really really hard. Like, extraordinarily hard. Headwinds.
Kana recently moved to Australia. She is now 24 years old. She speaks 2 languages fluently, and is familiar with 3 other languages. She has lived in 5 countries and has travelled to 20 others. She has graduated from high school with an IB Diploma, and from university with a degree. She has an international-mindset. She is passionate about and takes action to highlight and change injustices around the world, and also where she lives. She helps other people, and even though life has been difficult at times, she is loving and caring. She is - still - making her way in the world.
It is not easy growing up as a young woman today. It is even harder to do it with grace, style, compassion and love.
Kana is our daughter. She is our hero.”
These entries were all tremendous and I am so thankful to the students and faculty who used their precious free time to enter the contest. I appreciate them as much as I do the women in my life, past and present, who inspire me daily.
See you in the library