By Simon Parker, ISB Director of Student Activities, with editing by Nick Yates, ISB Communications
International School of Beijing (ISB) athletes and fans lit up Shanghai last weekend for the first Asia Pacific Activities Conference (APAC) since 2019. And just how much it meant to the community was on vivid display during a homecoming parade for these sports stars on campus this afternoon.
I don’t think anyone would question that the APAC experience in Shanghai bettered anything any of the traveling Dragons could have ever imagined as they were boarding the buses last Wednesday morning. An array of outstanding sporting achievements in the gyms and in the pool by our group of 60 athletes was complemented perfectly by that unique opportunity that APAC facilitates – ISB’s membership of this prestigious organization gives students and adults chance to connect and share quality experiences driven by a shared passion.
But last weekend was about even more than that. After three years of disruption due to Covid-19, it was also about a sense of relief and a sense of overwhelming celebration that APAC and the ISB Dragons were really and truly back.
For those that have not experienced APAC, it is the showcase high school activities conference that offers students from ISB and 11 other international schools in the Asia Pacific region the opportunity to compete across Asia in a range of sporting competitions, and to come together and collaborate in a variety of performing arts disciplines. It is an integral part of ISB’s High School co-curricular program.
In the three host school venues last week and in the corridors of ISB this afternoon, we saw just how much it had been missed! APAC may be primarily for the athletes and performing artists, but it’s also inspiring for the wider community including the other students who lined the parade route today.
Last weekend, cheered on by an army of traveling parent supporters at all events, ISB achievements included:
- Our girls swim team took home the silver, and the boys the bronze, with some outstanding personal bests along the way.
- We collected a silver in the table tennis boys doubles and a fourth place in the singles in that same competition.
- Our Varsity girls basketball team, for the first time in a decade, were crowned champions, after defeating the hosts, SAS Puxi, in a nail-biting final in a deafening gym that was standing room only.
We use the term “community” a lot, and sometimes lose track of what it really means and what it is that gives an individual that sense of personal belonging. Last weekend, the Dragon community was on display for all to see, and it was incredible to be right there with a front row seat.
Our coaches; our players; our Head of School; our huge contingent of parent support, both those that traveled and those that welcomed the teams back to Beijing in such fantastic style on Sunday afternoon; our teachers and students who loudly and enthusiastically celebrated their friends and classmates in the parade this afternoon… This whole group came together to make ISB’s return to APAC a simply unforgettable experience for all involved.
When I asked Telly, father of one of our Grade 9 girls basketballers, if he could briefly sum up his experience in Shanghai last weekend, he was spot on: “We feel thankful that we are part of this ISB family, thankful for having such wonderful coaches, students, and other parents! I also felt deeply grateful for the opportunity to see my daughter’s passion and for the unforgettable memories APAC and ISB created together!”
With APAC, ISB uses its resources to empower students to purpose and compassion, which is one of three main strategic focus areas identified by the school. ISB news articles in 2022-2023 are all looking at aspects of ISB that are examples of the three areas. To find out more, click here.