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The Totem Canadian International School of Hong Kong

Alumni Magazine June 2017

EVENTS Alumni Winter Reception

Queen’s Alumni Dinner

Alumni Events Manager Pamm Kwok ‘02 added plenty of Christmas cheer to the annual reunion with a variety game. One game saw participants digging deep into their bags for all sorts of daily items to gain points for their team. Who knew people kept so many discount coupons in their purses and wallets!  Attendees also demonstrated their artistic talents while drawing a Christmas scene on a paper plate placed on their head. Not as easy as one might think, even for the Picassos in the group! We were also happy to welcome numerous parents and staff to the event once again emphasising the close community we call CDNIS. Thank you to all the attendees.  We hope to see you on campus or at the next alumni event.

Continuing a tradition that began in 2012, Interim Head of School, David Baird, and Upper School Principal, Tim Kaiser, held a reunion in Kingston, Ontario, Canada while attending the Teachers’ Overseas Recruiting Fair held at Queen’s University. Alumni proudly displaying their CDNIS colours: Joyce Lau ’16 Hillary Chan ’13 Maple Tang ’13 Tiffany Cheung ’13 Lorraine Lau ’13 Spencer Putnam ’12 Anne Lau ’14 ​A special shout out to Joyce, who designed these banners when she was a CDNIS student. She was pleasantly surprised to see them make the trip all the way from Hong Kong!​

Alumni Mentorship Programme Now in its third year, the Alumni Mentorship Programme connects Grade 11 students with alumni who have experiences that the students are looking into pursuing. If you would like to be a mentor for the new intake or would like to learn more, please fill in this information form or contact Catherine Irvine.

25th Anniversary Commemorative Book

Look back at CDNIS’ first 25 years, from the first campus on Eastern Hospital Road through to today.

Fifteenth Anniversary and Tenth Anniversary celebrations for Classes of ‘01 and ‘06

Summer Homecoming 2017, Sunday August 20

Graduates from the Classes of 2001 and 2006 celebrated their class reunions on Saturday, December 10, 2016 on campus. This was CDNIS’ first multi-class reunion, and featured a tour of the school and a barbecue.

Time for alumni to come back on campus for some fun, food and friends! Details coming in July. Homecoming 2016 was filled with the sounds of little running feet and the high-pitched screams of kids, kids, and more kids. Nine children of alumni joined their parents and 50 other alumni in what has turned into a family day of sorts.

Interim Head of School David Baird also attended the event to get to know the alumni, which included a large number of non-graduates, indicating the close bond they still have with their classmates and the school. For many, it was the first time back on campus since graduating, and many were surprised by the expansion of the facilities. A trivia contest about CDNIS was also held, with 25th Anniversary merchandise for prizes. Thank you to all the attendees. We hope you enjoyed your walk down memory lane. Come back for a visit!

Alumni had the chance to not only reminisce with their former peers, but faculty and staff as well. Help spread the word as we look forward to welcoming alumni back to CDNIS on Sunday, August 20.

What are they up to now? 1990

Heidi Tsang ’99 and her husband Steve Chan are proud parents of Avery, born in July 2016. He is almost nine months now and growing far too quickly, says Heidi. She has returned to her role as a Business Controller at Wisers Information after completing her maternity leave.

In 2012 , Pinky Ngie ’01, co-founded an online fashion store with her sister, Doris Ngie. It was one of the first online stores in Hong Kong. In 2015, Pinky joined a new business - Homie Cookies, a freshly baked soft cookies brand - as a partner and its Operations Director.

Jasmine Tse ’01 and husband Ian Tang are happy to introduce their second daughter, Lynette, born in February. Older sister, Kylie, as you can see, is excited about her little sister, and about taking a picture! Jasmine is the current President of the CDNIS Alumni Association.


Tiffany So ’00 and her husband Matthew Kaschalk welcomed their second child, Keira, in February. Their 2-year-old son, Cole, is adjusting well to the family’s new addition, she says. Tiffany and her family live just outside of New York City.

Gerard Man ’01 and his wife Tiffany are expecting their second child in July. They are pictured with their first child, Zain, who just finished Pre Reception at CDNIS, at his Student-led Learning Review.

Dr. Ariel Thorpe ’01, D.C., recently opened her private practice in San Francisco, where she provides chiropractic care for everyone from athletes to pregnant women and kids. Her commitment to her patients is based on the principle that you are able to function at your highest potential when free from nervous system interference. In addition to her work as a chiropractor, she shares her passion for health by teaching group fitness and pilates classes. Ariel received her Bachelors degree in English and Cinema from the University of Southern California. She graduated Cum Laude from Life Chiropractic College West with Clinical Honours, and was the recipient of the Clinical Excellence Award.

Wilma Chan ’02 and her husband Darren But are proud to introduce their first child, Aiden, born in December. Wilma is a Retail Merchandising Manager at Prada. She has been living in Hong Kong since graduating from university. Wilma is happy that many of her CDNIS friends, with whom she still keeps in close contact, decided to base themselves in Hong Kong, making their friendships even stronger.

Natalie Chung ’02 and her husband Alan added daughter number three to their lovely family with the birth of Pace in March. Older sisters Mikaela and Leah are ecstatic about their little sister.

Sarah Cheng ’09 spent one month at CDNIS as a student-teacher for a practicum in her Masters of Arts in Child Studies and Education, which she will complete in June 2018. She still finds the school has a unique and welcoming atmosphere, complemented by many familiar faces. Sarah hopes to eventually teach in developing countries.

Film director and producer, Kristie Ko ’12, premiered her new movie, Red Hot Frog, nominated for best comedy, at the Asians on Film festival in California this January. The movie won the Best Comedy Award at the festival’s Summer Quarter mini-festival. See the teaser.


Pamm Kwok ’02 and Kenneth Chan ’02 tied the knot in February after first meeting at CDNIS 18 years ago! The happy couple and their wedding party had their wedding pictures taken at CDNIS because of the school’s special role in their relationship.

Bonita Lee ’05 and Kelvin Ho ’05 welcome their first child, daughter Ava, to their family. Bonita adds, “Our bundle of joy is here at last. We’ve been blessed with a sweet baby girl this year, Ava, and our lives have been changed for the better after becoming parents. It is such a humbling experience. We thank our family and friends who have been there for us along the way, showing their support and love for our precious daughter.”

Raveena Mital ’10 (yellow dress) was chosen Miss India 2017 at the Alee Club’s IQ and Personality Pageant. The aim of the Club is to help people of all socio-economic classes to effect positive changes in their lives.

Jeffrey Su ’10, who left CDNIS in 2005, spoke to students and staff about working at Google, Inc. Jeff is an Account Manager working out of the Asia-Pacific office in Hong Kong.

Emily Tang ’14 is an up and coming Senior in Stage Management at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She is studying Production & Design with a minor in producing. Most recently, Emily worked on the 2017 Tisch Salute at Radio City Music Hall and was a stage management intern on Groundhog Day The Musical which made its Broadway opening in August at Wilson Theater. Other notable credits include Tisch New Theatre’s  Hairspray, Catch Me If You Can, Company, and Tisch Stageworks’ Conference of the Birds, The Golem: A Horror Opera and Engaged. She is now a member on the Board of Directors for the Tisch New Theatre, a student organisation.

Maya McKeever ’18 is studying at The Bolshoi Ballet Academy, Moscow after being asked to join the academy following an audition in Hong Kong in August 2016. Her days are filled with long practices, and studying the Russian language before she can take any academic courses.

Jun Pang ’15 is the Co-Chief Editor of the The Cambridge Brexit Report launched at the European Parliament in Brussels on April 11. The Report is a collaboration between Cambridge for Europe, the Cambridge University European Society, The Wilberforce Society, Polygeia, and Cambridge Stays. It was commissioned by Daniel Zeichner MP, and seeks to understand how the UK can integrate local and national perspectives in mapping the way forward for Britain after Brexit. It was launched in Cambridge on May 9.  Jun is also one of the main co-organizers of the entire project, and Co-Vice Chair of The Wilberforce Society.



Fashion student Rhoda Wong ’14, now in her third year at Parson’s School of Design, has her autumn/winter line-up appearing in May’s edition of British Vogue magazine. Rhoda explains, “As I was finishing up my Junior year, I was also working on and launching my Fall 2017 collection. Once I shared my new collection online, it immediately grabbed the attention from different parties and ended with British Vogue’s interest in listing me as one of their designers. After what felt like a very long wait, I got an exciting email saying that I am officially on British Vogue. Now during my last official summer break, I am preparing and researching for my thesis collection, and working hard to make it on Vogue again for my next launch”.

ur Sto o Y e r


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Announcements CDNIS is now on Instagram and Snapchat. On Instagram, use #cdnishk, #cdnisls or #cdnishkalumni. We love to see what alumni are doing. Keep up with all the fun on Snapchat under cdnishk. 25th Anniversary Celebrations To commemorate 25 years of quality international education in Hong Kong, the CDNIS community reminisced over its history through several events that took place during the course of this school year. Former Principal Alan Dick was remembered, a cake competition was held and savoured, parents and staff played 18-holes as friendly rivals, and more. Red & White 1 and 2 Everyday, the CDNIS community takes part in wonderful things inside and outside the halls of the school. Red & White is a semi-annual publication that celebrates these accomplishments and showcases them at their very best. Issues 1 and 2 have now been published, and chronicle the extrodinary success that many of our students, staff and alumni have garnered over the course of the 2016-2017 school year. Click on the issue covers to access the digital versions of the publication.

The CDNIS Alumni Office congratulates the 136 students of the Class of 2017 in completing their high school studies.

Helping the School Alumni continue to support CDNIS by participating in various events despite their busy schedules. Timothy Lam ’12 (Chinese University of Hong Kong), Jonathan Lee ’09 (University of Waterloo), Melissa Liu ’99 (University of Waterloo), and Evan Thorpe ’00 (Princeton University) spoke to students and parents about the universities they attended, offering first-hand advice and perspectives for the inquisitive attendees during the CDNIS Higher Education Fair in March. Thank you so much for giving back to the CDNIS community.

Interim Head of School David Baird’s Experience with Alumni

One of the things that I thoroughly enjoy is having the opportunity to meet past CDNIS students, some of whom have become parents and are seeking to enroll their children at our school. It’s a testament to the strong sense of connection our community shares with one another and with the people and place that create the CDNIS experience. This is something that I have learned first hand by meeting our alumni over the last few months. Wendy Li (‘99), for instance, is our first alum to enroll her child at CDNIS. Her son, as with many of our younger students, is set to benefit from a number of initiatives that we’re looking to launch over the coming months. An Early Years Learning Centre is currently planned for development in the next year, while the ambitious Project Innovate will undoubtedly help our students to become skilled in new technologies, design thinking, and innovative approaches to problem solving in all disciplines . A new Strategic Plan will also provide the school with long-term priorities, many of which we hope will make a positive difference to our students and community. We will share our strategic plan with the community in late June. Another exciting aspect of my position is meeting with former students who have now become teachers in our school. This year we were fortunate to have four former students - Upper School English teacher Lily Chan (‘03), along with Education Assistants Thomas Man (‘10), Feonna Fong (‘06) and Yvonne Leung (‘10) - be a part of our teaching ranks. All four of them were featured in the pages of the latest issue of Red & White. Make sure you check the story. Finally, I would like to extend my deepest thanks to our entire alumni body, who remain treasured members of the CDNIS family. Like education, your ties and connection with the school will never end, and I look forward to meeting with each and every one of you, to learn about the exciting and rewarding experiences that you have enjoyed since graduating. Our new website will be launching in the coming weeks and I will be reaching out to you for testimonials we can use.

Alumni Profile Wendy Li ‘99 In addition to being one of just 11 members of Canadian International School of Hong Kong’s (CDNIS) inaugural graduating class, Wendy Li is the school’s first alum to have a child enrolled at CDNIS. Starting next school year, her second son will begin his education at CDNIS.

better mother, a better wife, and a better leader at work. Wendy now balances her time as both a director at her family’s business as well as an occasional school volunteer for her son, Brandon’s, class activities. Was choosing the school for her sons a difficult decision? Not really, she revealed.

“We both felt that international schools were the right choice for our children,” noted Wendy. “My husband is an alumni from Hong Kong International School, but CDNIS This is a testament to the prevailed as the better choice for our kids as CDNIS positive experiences and memories that Wendy enjoyed offered Pre Reception, while HKIS did not.” during her time at CDNIS, as she hopes that this will be passed on to her children too. So, With her husband’s work demanding much travelling, Wendy would be more involved in their sons’ education what roads led Wendy back to CDNIS? on a daily basis, and thus Baldwin supported her choice. When her family moved back from Canada to Hong Kong in 1998, Wendy chose to continue her studies to complete Wendy believes in the teaching style and values of her her Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD). The small alma mater; and although there have been tremendous but growing CDNIS was one of a very few schools in Hong changes in the school’s facilities since she graduated, she Kong to offer the OSSD as part of its curricula. She first finds the academic pillars of independent study, started at the Borrett Road campus, and then moved to questioning, research and choice to be consistent with her the existing Aberdeen campus when it opened in January time here as a student. According to her, those pillars will provide her two boys with a more expansive education 1999. experience, while allowing them to learn about Upon her graduation in the spring of that same year, she themselves and the choices that they will make. returned to Canada to pursue a degree in Interior Design at Ryerson University, Toronto. Wendy revealed that she was strongly influenced by her art teacher Mrs. Catharine Ho, who still teaches at CDNIS today. Being very much involved and passionate in sculpting and industrial design, Mrs. Ho provided Wendy with much needed guidance and advice in developing that interest. “She gave me plenty of encouragement, and while I always had a proclivity for art, Mrs. Ho’s positive contribution to my CDNIS experience certainly played a part when I decided to pursue interior design at higher education.” Despite graduating from Ryerson and receiving her degree in Interior Design, Wendy chose to start her career in Marketing and Public Relations for a sports events marketing firm. “It was an eye-opening experience for me as a fresh graduate,” the CDNIS alum laughed. “We had plenty of all nighters where we were required to wake up at 3am in order to start preparations for events. I don’t think I could do it now!”

“Having experienced both the local and international education systems, my husband and I both agreed that the teaching approach is extremely different from one another. There is a strong emphasis on “listening to orders” in local schools, whereby students are encouraged to listen and do as they are asked to. Meanwhile, the international education approach aims to promote independent thinking, and we felt this would be a better approach for our children.”

Wendy would instead showcase her interior design talents years later when she began working for her family’s retail business, re-designing the stores, offices and other aspects of the company’s network. In time, she has since branched out into different fields including branding, marketing, training, as well as HR and admin. The skills and traits that she picked up over the years could be applied onto different fields, helping her to become a

Finally, the CDNIS alum has reiterated her desire to continue volunteering at the school when time permits. Although busy with work and children, she still maintains contact with her small group of classmates. Those close connections have stood the test of time and she hopes that her children can have the same memorable experience and connections as students in her alma mater.

Staff Profile Catherine Ho Visual Arts Department Head When did you start at CDNIS, and what were you hired to do? I joined CDNIS in the 1993-1994 school year as a supply teacher, but was also given a contract for a Grade 6 Visual Arts teacher for the following school year. Where were you before CDNIS, and what were you doing? I was in Southern Ontario working as a buyer for Birks Jewellers. Can you name three students from your first CDNIS class? Jeffrey Ng, Evan Thorpe and Jason Tam. What sport/club did you enjoy teaching? Art Club. What’s your favourite local food? Fresh lychee. What was your nickname in school? Chatty Cathy. Your first boyfriend’s name? Tony. Most embarrassing moment as a teacher? I was working as a supply teacher for a Grade 8 boys Phys Ed class. They were fooling around throwing balls all over the place, and I said, without thinking, “OK, boys, hold on to your balls!” What is your favorite word/phrase? Don’t say, “I can’t”. Say, “I can’t yet”.

What turns you off? Apathy. What sound do you love? The sound of my two boys laughing. What sound do you hate? Someone hacking up phlegm. What profession other than yours would you like to attempt? Goat herder.

What is your least favorite word/phrase? When someone says, “ I know you are really busy, but can you….”, and then they ask me to do something.

What profession would you not like to be in? Anything in the medical profession.

What turns you on? People who are principled about causes they believe in.

Which celebrity would you like to be stuck on a deserted island with? Margaret Atwood. Who would you like to have your last conversation with before you pass away? My family. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates? Everyone you love is waiting for you.

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Canadian International School of Hong Kong 36 Nam Long Shan Road, Aberdeen, Hong Kong Phone: (852) 2525 7088 Fax: (852) 2525 7579

The Totem (June 2017)  

A semi-annual alumni newsletter

The Totem (June 2017)  

A semi-annual alumni newsletter