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      1. Moulding Future Polymaths

        Date:April 16,2021
        Author:包玉剛實驗學校
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        Overall, Pao School’s Year 12 students have done very well with regards to university admissions. Pao School Year 12s received 32 offers (30 in 2020) from the world’s top ten universities, per the QS rankings, and 95 from the top 30 globally (59 in 2020). Offers included those from UChicago, Cornell, Brown, Johns Hopkins, Northwestern, UC Berkeley and Duke in the United States as well as the leading liberal arts colleges of Pomona, Barnard, Carleton, Claremont McKenna, Vassar, Smith and Middlebury. In the United Kingdom the year group received high numbers of offers from the top five universities of Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial, UCL and Edinburgh.


        This year has also seen an impressive first, with two Pao School students offered places at ultracompetitive Yale-NUS in Singapore. In addition, others have been offered places at Hong Kong’s two leading universities (University of Hong Kong and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology), Australia’s top university (University of Melbourne), Canada’s two leading universities (University of Toronto and UBC) and Holland’s leading university (University of Amsterdam).


        Alongside receiving offers from all other the globe, Pao School students have pursued their interest in variety of fields. Some of the year groups artists have achieved their dream of gaining a place at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), Central St Martins College of Art and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Others have received offers to study architecture at UMichigan, film at Emerson College and sports technology at Loughborough. Step by step, the Class of 2021 is striving to achieve their dreams.


        Pao School provides a diverse and inclusive learning environment, with the school’s whole-person education philosophy allowing students to develop a wide range of talents and interests. In this year’s graduating class, there is a group of students who are well versed in both liberal arts and science, whilst also being passionate about public welfare. Indeed, they often generously devote their time and energy to others. Their actions well encapsulate the school’s core values of compassion, integrity and balance - below are two short stories about two of these members of the Class of 2021.




        Danny, passionate about astronomy and literature

        Expected major: Astronomy; English

        Admitted to: Pomona College, United States


        Before enrolling at Pao School for middle school, Danny studied at several different other schools. All aspects of his education have been valuable, Danny says, but he believes that Pao School stands out for its diverse and inclusive education model. Danny is grateful to every one of his teachers at Pao School, saying they encourage students to pursue their hobbies in their free time, and respect and understand their choices. In this environment, Danny has been free to pursue his dreams and think freely. His ambition has become clear at Pao School: to develop his knowledge and integrity.

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        I think the children of Pao School have a sparkle in their eyes. The teachers of Pao School are supportive of the students, whilst giving them space to explore freely and discover themselves.

        ——Danny's mother


        Danny loves literature, but he was not always this way. As a primary student, his knowledge of literature was superficial; he only knew what was in his textbooks and exams. All that changed when he arrived at Pao School, where teachers have led him into a “strange and wonderful” literary world.

         

        “The most important thing my literature teachers at Pao School have done for me is to broaden my horizons and encourage me to explore,” Danny says.


        At Pao School, teachers encourage students to be active rather than passive learners, Danny explains. This approach applies to works of literature and non-fiction, no matter whether it is a Chinese or English text. This teaching method can be compared to fishing; instead of catching fish for the students, teachers show them how to catch the fish for themselves. For instance, the teacher will lead the students to read the same literary work several times, showing the students how the text can be interpreted from a different angle each time. This not only broadens the students' understanding of the text, but also enables them to understand the real-world context of the text.

         

        For example, in one unit about advertising, the teacher led the class to analyze several Budweiser beer advertisements from the 1960s and 1970s. During the course of his research about advertising, Danny learned about different advertising methods, how to position an ad for a specific target market and how advertisers choose media. At the same time, he gained a deeper understanding of the popular culture – including stereotypes – of a specific era.


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        Danny has taken his passion for literature to the next level by launching Pao School’s first Chinese literature publication “Rebirth” together with several other literary enthusiasts. The second issue of the magazine is scheduled to be published in May. In addition, Danny and Dino (Y12) organized the first TEDxYouth@YKPS event at Pao School, entitled “Why Not?”. YK Pao School Executive Headmaster Mark Bishop played a key role in making the TEDx event possible, devoting a lot of time and energy to fundraising and event promotion.


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        Danny is also passionate about astronomy. His interest in the subject began with an astronomy book he read in his primary school science class. At first, it was the magnificent photos of stars in the book that caught his eye. In middle school, when he began to study statistics, nuclear reactions and magnetic fields in physics, Danny began to develop a better understanding of the complete and rigorous macroscopic framework behind astronomy. Four years ago, he started experimenting with narrow-band astrophotography. He set up an astronomical telescope and professional camera on the roof deck of his home. On clear nights, he spends the whole night photographing celestial bodies, then uploads onto an Astronomy Forum and share his work with astronomy enthusiasts around the world. It was part of Pao School’s freedom of exploration, that allowed Danny to continue to cultivate his interest in astronomy and grow in this field.


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        Danny’s research on astronomy has expanded beyond the classroom. He studied outside Pao School with a professor in the Department of Astronomy and spent two years writing an article called "Two-point Correlation Function of member stars in the Open Star Cluster M67" which will be published in a professional astronomy journal in the near future. The paper uses mathematical statistics to study the distribution of stars in the M67 cluster. His study has found that large-mass stars have greater clustering and centrality than small-mass stars. This indicates that there is a mass stratification phenomenon within the cluster, and the M67 cluster conforms to the fractal law of nature.


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                                                                   Above are fractal patterns. The left-hand side is the Koch curve.
         


        Danny is one of the most talented writers I have ever taught, one of the most passionate amateur-astronomers I have ever met, and one of the most curious students I have ever encountered. I've worked with Danny as both his English teacher and Extended Essay supervisor, and in both capacities, I've seen him learn and grow as a writer and as a person.

        ——Jessica Cohen

        High School English Teacher/Headmistress



        All of these are excellent achievements which should be equally celebrated alongside 

        those of the more well-known institutions. I would stress that the most important 

        outcome is not the number of ‘famous’ names but rather have students achieved 

        their own ‘dream’ schools that are the right fit for them. To all our Y12s I warmly 

        congratulate them on an excellent set of admissions and wish them 

        the very best of luck in their IB exams. 

                      

                                                                                                                         —— Mark Bishop 

                                                                                                                Executive Headmaster




        Aaron, an artistic young man who loves physics

        Expected major: Physics and Philosophy

        Admitted to: Brown University, United States


        Since joining Pao School in Year 7, Aaron has broadened his horizons. In the school’s diverse learning environment, he can observe both the unique aspects and common points of different cultures. Meanwhile, the wide variety of co-curricular activities at Pao School gives him the opportunity to develop different hobbies and do in-depth research in his favourite fields.

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        Pao School is the rare school where I can experience the integration of Chinese and Western cultures.

        —— Aaron


        From a young age, Aaron has been interested in physics and the principles behind various physical phenomena. After coming to Pao School, he grew even more fascinated by the logic presented by physical formulas. Aaron says that teachers at Pao School teach physics in a variety of ways. For example, in order to help students understand the principles of static electricity and conductivity, the physics teacher brought in a Van de Graaff generator. When a student puts a hand on the device’s sphere, the electrons are repelled from other elections and spread out into the student. This reaction causes the person’s hair to stand on end, one by one. The students were very surprised at the sight of this phenomenon, and they tried it out for themselves.

         

        In addition, the teacher also guides the students through various physics experiments. For example, to help the students understand the relationship between gravity and speed, the teacher let them throw eggs down from the third floor of the teaching building. Before throwing the eggs, the students must calculate the amount of time needed for the eggs to fall and hit a helmet worn by the teacher as he walks by. These lively classroom experiments are a great source of enjoyment and learning for the students.



        Aaron has also participated in several physics research projects outside of class, including "Using X-rays to analyze sulfides" and "Studying the density of charged particles produced after particle collisions." However, due to the pandemic, it has become very difficult to conduct onsite experiments. Therefore, in these projects, he mainly used computer programming to analyze existing data, so that he has a deeper understanding of light interference, synchrotron radiation, and particle physics. At the same time, he also participated in many international competitions, including the American Academic Decathlon (USAD) where he won bronze medals in mathematics, science and social sciences.


        Aaron is also interested in art. He began learning Chinese calligraphy and painting from a young age and has also dabbled in drawing and oil painting. At Pao School, his passion for art has been nurtured and expanded. For instance, during Monday and Wednesday’s co-curricular activities, he chooses to study Chinese calligraphy. Aaron’s calligraphy skills have flourished at Pao School because rather than just teaching him how to imitate the calligraphy of others, the teacher has encouraged Aaron to create his own unique calligraphy style.


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        During both Year 10 and 11, Aaron organized art exhibitions in the library designed to help his classmates learn more about traditional Chinese art. Each exhibition required two to three months of planning, including personnel recruitment, contacting teachers, poster production, works mounting and setting up the site, etc. Each exhibition featured nearly 30 original works of art, including Aaron’s own, as well as those by other students from the Calligraphy Club and the Chinese Painting Club. The works featured at these exhibitions are sold to teachers and students, while the proceeds were donated to a school in rural China where Pao School does regular charity teaching work.


        Further, Aaron significantly improved his organizational skills when he worked on these exhibitions. He now understands how to organize, arrange and manage an event. In his mind, this is one of the most important things he has learned at Pao School.


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        Like Danny, Aaron aims to become an erudite person with several areas of expertise. In the course of his research work, Aaron often discovers clear connections between different disciplines. Such discoveries have led Aaron to the conclusion that individual disciplines cannot exist in isolation in the real world. Rather, different fields of study are interdependent. For example, many scientists now use physical synchrotron radiation to research and repair paintings. Aaron hopes in the future that he too will have strong interdisciplinary skills that he can apply to different applications to achieve optimal results.



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