Student Voice: Speech Day Address, Head Student, Isabel, Year 11

Dulwich College Shanghai Puxi is made up of students from around the world, with a depth and breadth of experiences that create a vibrant, thriving student body community. 

In this series of Student Voice articles,  we provide a platform for the students in our community to share their experiences and passions as we explore how Dulwich has helped them Learn Worldwise, so they can Graduate Worldwise.


Below, please find the Speech Day address from outgoing 2020-2021 Head Student, Isabel, delivered at Junior School Speech Day, Wednesday, 23 June 2021;

Aim High, Work Hard
Be Kind and Respectful
Make a Difference

The College values, you probably know them better than I. These values are something that set the College apart and help us make learning here so interesting and productive as well as helping prepare all of us students for a future outside the school to Graduate Worldwise. 

The College values are kind of interesting in how they can be used and measured. I know every student in this room aims high and works hard it is a key part of how our learning is structured at the school and students are encouraged to hold to it in everything they do. Aiming high and hard work pays off as I and all of you will know. Your hard work during this school year has shown through the production last Thursday and your results and will benefit you next year and in the future as my hard work in the last two years has paid off in my final IGCSE exams. Aiming high will motivate you through your work and your aims will provide guidance for your work in the future. This will be invaluable as you move up the school. It is beneficial and makes a difference to yourself and those around you that is why it is so important. 

To be respectful can be difficult but it is something ingrained in the very culture of this school. Respect your peers, respect your teachers, your leaders, respect the world and respect yourself. Respect is a word of many meanings explicit and implicit depending on how it is used. Respect is honourable and can make a difference but without kindness is often ineffectual. 


Be kind: kindness is defined as having sympathy and consideration for others. A simple request? 

Unlike aims and hard work, unlike even respect which must be learned to an extent, kindness is innate and in practice easy. Kindness even in the smallest regard can make a difference. 

Kindness cannot be measured, cannot be demonstrated by facts or numbers yet it can be more powerful than anything quantifiable. From simple acts of kindness to extensive generosity it has stood as a pillar of the acts of humanity inspiring compassion, selflessness, forgiveness and understanding. Acts of kindness have aided the development of humanity despite the great evils of our history. Kindness has stood as a stark contrast inspiring change for good. 

Kindness has been a cause of change throughout history and since I know hearing about great, world-changing actions is daunting it may be easier to think of kindness as an arm extended to help someone when they fall. It is a mess cleaned and an apology made. Kindness is a smile and a joke as well as the respect given to people and their boundaries. Respect is earned through kindness.

All of you have potential. Potential in academia, arts, sport. It will be different for each one of you but all of you have the potential to be kind. Use your kindness stemming from the happy moments in your life to pay forward actions of joy. I hope to challenge you to be kind and to interweave these acts of joy throughout your life as they remain a constant inspiration for humanity. 

This is why this summer I hope that you will all have fun and relax. Enjoy your time off school and make memories. Change, grow and inevitably forget some of what you’ve learnt. Allow this time of recovery to be a relief from the hard work I know you’ve been focusing on this year. Take this deserved decrease in productivity and make the most of it. 

Despite the summer holiday being a break from school I hope in this break you take the time to be kind and to support those around you. There is a Swedish saying “Allmosa är till fromma både för den som får och för den som ger” which loosely translates to ’Charity and kindness supports both the giver and the receiver’.

If you are kind you can make a difference for those around, you and for yourself to improve the world we live in. Therefore, take this summer, have fun and be kind.