• Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Head of School Newsletter - Summer 2021

Preschool Promotion Backdrop courtesy of parent Lynda Lam

Parting Thoughts for Summer

Here are excerpts from my Graduation 2021 remarks as some final thoughts on this most trying— and most inspiring—of school years. 

I want to talk to you about fear and love. Much has been written about fear and love. Some say that the two emotions, fear and love, are opposites. Some say that fear and love are the two most fundamental emotions that govern our thoughts and motivate all our actions, and that we all have a choice whether we approach life with fear or with love. As we look back over your eighth grade year, a difficult year, there has been much fear. Fear of violence. Fear of people—in our country and abroad—who look or think differently than we do. And of course fear of Covid. Last summer and into the fall, your teachers were afraid. We didn’t know very much about Covid. People were getting sick, being hospitalized, dying, and no one knew what to do. When we returned to school in October, there was much fear. Many of your parents were afraid, and many of your teachers were also afraid. But there was also love. Your teachers love teaching, they love seeing students learn, and they also love you. In fact, they love you so much that they returned to school, despite the uncertainty and the fear that they felt. They chose to act out of love and not fear. 

During the virtual graduation dinner on Zoom, we heard these teachers talk passionately and authentically about their students—is there any doubt, any doubt at all, about how our teachers feel about their students? It was love that motivated our teachers to face down the fear of the pandemic and come to school every day, to nurture and sustain community, to ensure that learning continued, despite their fear. Class of 2021, do you know how lucky you are? If I were a CAIS parent attending graduation dinner I’d have been moved to tears by the teachers’ words about my child. Heck, I was moved to tears as were several of our teachers as they shared their feelings about your children. Students, you will never be seen, understood, and loved more than your CAIS teachers see, understand and love you. There is a saying in Chinese 黄金万两容易得,一个知心最难寻. It means gold is easy to obtain, but a person who truly understands you is rare indeed. This is what got you through the pandemic. This is what got us all through the pandemic. But please know that not all students are so fortunate as you are. In many places in the country and the world students were not able to return to school to learn, see their friends, and form healthy relationships with their teachers. How very lucky you are to have people in your lives who walked through their fear to teach, support and to love you. It’s more valuable than gold.

So, how can you pay them back? Well, you can pay them back by paying it forward. The world into which you are graduating is filled with fear. So, as you go forward into high school, college and career, take the example of your teachers and act not from a place of fear, but from a place of love. It’s a choice. Choose to be your best self, for this will be your contribution to a better world.”

Monthly Head of School newsletters will be back beginning August for school year 2021-2022. In the meantime, enjoy your summer and these scenes from the end of year events that we were so grateful to host in-person at last!


Eighth Grade Graduation 2021

See full Graduation 2021 album on Vidigami

Fifth Grade Promotion

See full Fifth Grade Promotion 2021 album on Vidigami

Preschool Promotion—Orange & Pink Cohorts

See full Preschool Orange & Pink Promotion album on Vidigami

Preschool Promotion—Teal & Yellow Cohorts

See full Preschool Teal & Yellow Promotion album on Vidigami

Preschool Promotion—Blue & Purple Cohorts

See full Preschool Blue & Purple Promotion album on Vidigami

Preschool Promotion ceremony photos courtesy of CAIS parent Lynda Lam


  • Chinese American International School


    Early Childhood Division (Preschool) | Alice A. Carnes Center
    42/52 Waller Street 

    Early Childhood Division (K-1)
    and Lower School (2-5)
    150 Oak Street 

    Middle School (6-8)
    888 Turk Street 

    San Francisco, CA 94102