At Grad Dinner (held for the first time on our 19th Avenue Campus), Alumni Council member Julian Sweet ’20 (shown left with Cesare M. ’22 right) inducted the 42 members of the Class of ’22 into the CAIS alumni ranks. Julian, who will be a junior at University High School next year, shared words of wisdom with the soon-to-be graduates: “You may not know this yet, but with time, it should become obvious; we are fortunate that our parents chose to send us to CAIS. Please make sure to give them a big thank you! Time provides perspective, and perspective has a way of sorting out what is truly important in our lives. I am willing to bet that your time at CAIS will be high on the list of those important events.”
The CAIS Class of 2022 will be attending the following schools this fall:
- The Bay School of San Francisco
- The Branson School
- College Preparatory School
- Convent High School
- International High School
- Laurel Springs School
- Lick-Wilmerding High School
- Menlo School
- Sacred Heart Cathedral Prepatory
- Saint Ignatius College Prepatory
- San Domenico School
- San Francisco University High School
- SFSUD-Abraham Lincoln High School
- SFUSD-George Washington High School
- SFUSD-School of the Arts (SOTA)
- Stuart Hall High School
- Urban School of San Francisco
Julian’s full remarks are shared below:
晚上好 Good afternoon, graduating class of 2022! My name is 唐捷安 Julian Sweet, and I graduated from CAIS in 2020. I am the middle of 3 brothers who all attended CAIS from Preschool through 8th Grade. I am now a rising Junior at University High School.
First off, THANK YOU, parents! You may not know this yet, but with time, it should become obvious; we are fortunate that our parents chose to send us to CAIS. Please make sure to give them a big thank you! Time provides perspective, and perspective has a way of sorting out what is truly important in our lives. I am willing to bet that your time at CAIS will be high on the list of those important events. The more time goes by, the more I learn to appreciate all the different ways that the CAIS experience has positively impacted my life. Let me try to organize some of these thoughts around CAIS’ mission Statement:
Embrace Chinese, Become our best selves, and, Contribute to a better world.
Embrace Chinese: All of you can speak, write and read a language that, for many like me, would otherwise not be a part of your daily life. Speaking a language is a first and important step to understanding a culture that may not be your own, and, even if it is, it will allow you to understand it at a deeper level. It is not only the language… but also the stories, the traditions, the history. We take it for granted as our entire class goes through the same experience. We tend not to see it as particularly special when we’re in it. The truth is, our experience at CAIS is incredibly special and unique. I began to notice this early on in high school when I realized that most of my new classmates did not have the benefit of understanding a foreign culture as much as we know Chinese.
Become our Best Selves: CAIS demands a lot from us but, at the same time, gives us so many tools and opportunities to grow. We are thrust into certain experiences that might not be entirely comfortable at the time but are incredible growth opportunities. How many 5th graders get sent halfway across the world to Taiwan to live with a family they’ve never met, with totally different customs and in a language that most of us only know from school? That is a pretty big deal. It helps develop a sense of independence and mastery. The idea is that we can adapt and thrive in a completely unfamiliar environment. It also broadens our horizons and nurtures a sense of curiosity about the world around us. Funny story… Taiwan was the first time I encountered a shower with a squat potty right in the middle! It took an uncomfortable question to my host family to discover, to my amazement, what that hole was! For the first several days, I could not help but worry that I would inadvertently stick my foot in it as I washed the soap from my face… I am happy to report that my showers in Taiwan were uneventful. Some other unforgettable experiences include me and my host buddy taking public transportation on our own to explore the city and get from place to place. Also, visiting the famous night markets with my host family where I got my first, and LAST, taste and smell of stinky tofu.
Contribute to a Better World: Upon graduating from CAIS, you will all know and understand at least two different cultures and languages. For many, depending on your family background, even more… you are truly young citizens of the world. Understanding culture is essential for bridging differences. It is realizing that we are not all that different and most teenagers our age, be it here, in Taiwan, or in China, all have similar dreams, aspirations, and concerns. Hopefully, we can bring this global citizenship and understanding into our everyday lives and help bring people together throughout our lives.
Although this point in your life may seem like an ending, it is really just the beginning of a new journey and one that CAIS has prepared you well for. In your transition to High School, you will have more independence, freedom, and choice to pursue your interests. However, with this, you will need more personal initiative and self-control to balance your friendships, your work, and extracurriculars to truly enjoy your four years – which really isn’t that much time. Trust me, you are ready!
While your time at CAIS is coming to an end, its impact will hopefully last a lifetime. Cherish it and be proud of it.
If you want to learn more about the CAIS Alumni Council, please come and find me at the end of the ceremony or feel free to reach out to me via email.
I am now pleased to induct you into the community of CAIS alumni! I invite you to come forward to receive your alumni pin and be inducted into the Alumni Association.
Thank you again and congratulations, class of 2022!