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We are Wellington: Welcome to your future

17 January 2018
The We are Wellington project aims to gather together both shared and individual experiences of the pupils, parents and staff who make up our growing community. Two of our year 13 pupils, Jessica and Rebecca, talk about their view of life at Wellington since they transferred here together last year.
 
First impressions
 
Jessica: I first came to Wellington with my previous school to play in a football competition. Everyone was so friendly and I soon made friends with many of last year’s Wellington graduates who kept telling me how great it was here. It didn’t take much convincing for me to arrange a proper visit and before I knew it I had applied, got accepted and transferred over. I quickly discovered that the College was everything my friends said it would be and more.
           
Rebecca: Jessica and I have technically known each other since first grade but we only became good friends a few years ago. When Jessica told me she was transferring to Wellington and why, I knew that I really wanted to give it a shot myself. I’d heard that it was a very different kind of school that could challenge you and give you all kinds of opportunities to try new things, which really appealed to me.
   
New challenges, new passions
 Rebecca: As soon as I started at Wellington, I discovered that the teachers are completely committed to helping you discover what drives you, both academically and personally. Once you know what that is, they give you the chance to simply get on and enjoy it. For example, I’m half Chinese but I hardly spoke Mandarin in my old school, whereas here at Wellington my Mandarin has improved a great deal because I’m encouraged to speak it regularly and make it part of my daily life rather than just learning the techniques for their own sake.
       
Jessica: Similarly, I felt very shy upon arrival here but I was encouraged to take a chance and auditioned for the musical Annie, which I absolutely loved participating in and led me towards my musical theatre scholarship. No matter what you know or think you might be into, you always get the right support from the teachers here; they’ve really helped me come out of my shell.
   
Taking on the IB
Jessica: The IBDP has certainly been an exciting and challenging experience for me so far. Due to the bilingual system of my old school, I couldn’t learn all the subjects I was interested in, such as Chinese history. Joining Wellington and taking IB has allowed me to engage with all the subjects that I really care about, because both the school and the IBDP allow us the flexibility and independence to pursue areas which genuinely excite us. This idea goes beyond our daily lessons though, as Wellington is always pushing us to take on new challenges and push ourselves. For me, this has resulted in being able to organise and run my own TEDx talk, charity fundraising events and even do some volunteer teaching. Rebecca: What’s clearly different here compared to other schools is that our teachers don’t just teach the syllabus to help you pass a test; they teach you to help you understand. That’s something I think is important for the future, because even if you don’t end up continuing your studies of all your IB subjects at university, you still start off with plenty of knowledge in many different areas because you’ve understood them properly. More specifically, our performing arts teachers are just incredible and they have all the experience to help us better ourselves, many of them bringing perspectives from outside teaching. They’ve been dancers and actors and directors, so they can teach us so much about how these.
Taking on greater responsibility
Jessica: Becoming head of house, and recently head of college, has been a huge honour and responsibility, but it’s also a lot of fun too. Personally, I’ve always really liked organising events and bringing people together, so I feel very fortunate that the College has given me the opportunity to do that. Rebecca: As soon as I received my scholarship, it’s helped me strive to become a better pupil because I always feel that I need to show the rest of the school that I’m capable of keeping this title and living up to it. It’s a great responsibility and I want to make sure that the teachers always feel that they were right to grant it to me. Being a scholar helps me focus on improvement and adds to my drive and focus without being too much of an unwelcome pressure.
Thoughts on the Wellington community
Jessica: I think that Wellington’s house system is a big part of what makes everyone feel at home here. There’s no distinct age division between pupils, we’ve all become a big family where everyone looks out for one another regardless of age. House competitions help pupils bond within their houses and those in different houses through friendly rivalries and fair play. Each competition helps us develop our skills, while making fun memories which act as an inseparable bond between pupils. Rebecca: What I really love is that there’s mutual respect for everyone in the College no matter who you are. I have a sister in year 11 and I consider people in her year group to be my friends as much as those in my own. There are so many opportunities for us to come together and celebrate what makes us all special. For me, the musical was such a great time for meeting new people of different ages with similar interests to me. I love how everyone in Wellington comes together to encourage others to succeed and enjoy what they’re good at.
Proudest memories
Rebecca: For me, it has to be last year’s Remembrance Day: I was given the chance to show my respect by performing one of my own songs that I created. This important experienced also helped me bond with two other pupils who are extremely talented players and helped me perform the song. That’s what Wellington does; it encourages you to bring out the best of what’s inside you and share it with others. Jessica: I can still remember the pride and excitement I felt when I got the call from Rachel Chadwick, the admissions officer here, telling me that I had secured a place to come and study here at Wellington, along with a very generous scholarship which many schools in Shanghai no longer offer. Since then, being offered the position of head of college even though I’m quite a new pupil was a humbling and special moment.
Final thoughts
   
Jessica: Consider Wellington as your second home. I always have someone to talk to here, whether it’s my friends, teachers or anyone else. I know I can always share whatever it is I’m experiencing, good or bad, with plenty of friendly faces.
Rebecca: Wellington is a community that welcomes you no matter who you are. Just enjoy being part of it. [wellington_wistia]3v55up1bh6[/wellington_wistia] Do you have a Wellington experience to share?  Leave a comment or email us at communications.shanghai@wellingtoncollege.cn