By TIFFANY MERRITT
Editor: MICHELLE DANNER
On Friday May 6, we held a graduation ceremony in the UNCG Student Center for the August cohort of New Mind Education students, as well as for our other students who had completed their English studies at INTERLINK. This event was planned to let students enjoy their favorite American food–spicy chicken wings and cake–as well as reflect on all of their fond memories during their time in the UPP program. While students ate their food, they watched a video compiled of photos from their time at UPP. These photos captured the many activities they participated in such as the Welcome to America pool party, Casino Royale Poker Night, volunteer events with UNCG, Thanksgiving dinner with Americans, a Christmas party with a Secret Santa gift exchange, volunteering at a church for trick or treaters, the fall trip to Asheville, Chinese New Year party, the sports tournaments, the spring trip to Williamsburg, and many other happy times. Students even submitted some of their favorite photo-memories to be used in this slideshow.
After the slide show, Program Director Enoch Chow presented the superlative awards, Honor Roll Medals, and the winner of the Songtao scholarship. All 22 graduating students received a superlative award. These awards were chosen by the UPP advisors and they describe the personality, talents, or future prospects of each student. Some awards said things like “Most Likely to Become a World Re-known Pianist,” describing a student who is very talented at playing the piano. Others were more humorous such as “Most Likely to Wear Sweatpants to Work at His Own Company,” describing a student who wore sweatpants everyday.
This year, ten students also earned a place on the UPP Honor Roll: Luo Xuemin, Wang Xiaoyu, Yin Yiwen, An Yi, Zhao Xingyi, Zeng Junhao, Li Minghua, Cai Zhenqi, Wang Zixuan, and Zhu Ruifeng. These students received awards based on their attendance to Advising, GLC, Student Life Events, and volunteer activities, as well as their dedication to their studies.
Finally there was the Songtao Scholarship. The winner of the scholarship was Zhao “Alice” Xingyi. Alice is a model New Mind UPP student, expounding the many traits we strive to cultivate in our students. From the day she arrived, she took advantage of every part of the UPP program. She not only came to many of the Student Life Events, but she also volunteered during set-up and clean-up–jobs that nobody wants to do but which helped provide relief to the Student Life Coordinator. She also came to advising frequently and met with her advisor outside of class to get more advice about how to improve her studies. She sought out extra volunteer activities to do in her free-time and volunteered with young school children nearly every weekend. She became a Student Council Representative in January 2016 on the New Mind Student Council, and rose to be Student Council President by the time she finished UPP in May. On top of all this extra work, she maintained high grades and was selected as one of students to give a speech during the INTERLINK graduation.
We are very proud of Alice and all our other UPP graduates for how far they have come since arriving in America! We wait in eager anticipation to watch as they become more and more successful in their futures.