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Principal of CA: Step out of comfort zone and find your value

Principal of CA: Step out of comfort zone and find your value

On March 5th, Rick Hardy, the Principal of Concord Academy, a top American private school, once again visited Hangzhou Wahaha Schools where he conducted face-to-face interviews with many of our students. As 15 groups of students sat on the floor around him, Principal Rick led them in a brain storming session about American private boarding schools.


 A Meaningful Discussion Workshop 

Why do you want to study at an American boarding school?

What’s the biggest challenge you will face when you study there and what other problems you will meet at the same time?

What are you looking for while studying at an American private school?

What kind of Chinese students would be favored by American private schools?

What does it take to gain admission to American private schools? What do you need to do to prepare?

What are the academic courses, after school activities, and school clubs that CA provides?


Under the guidance of Principal Rick, students started sharing their opinions and presenting themselves. By sharing with our students, he helped them to understand the challenges and meaning of studying abroad.

During the discussion, one student stood up but was then overwhelmed and couldn’t speak. She was encouraged to say something but all she could say was, “I don’t know”. Nonetheless, she did say something! Having met that challenge, this student then had the courage to raise her hand to answer 3 questions in a row during the following discussion.


At first, the students were uneasy about speaking up and Principal Rick said that the most successful and most impressive moment of the discussion was when they finally relaxed and enjoyed themselves. In highly qualified schools in America, this is a very common “teaching” method, a method that can inspire students and encourage them to have discussions.

The purpose of this method is to let students learn to cooperate, to explore, to speak, to think and to find their own value.


In the following discussion with the teachers, Principal Rick shared his thoughts from his decades of education experiences:

When every kid has the opportunity to bump up against "I don't know", to be pushed out of their comfort zone into the discomfort zone, I think that's every school's job. School is responsible for bringing every single one of the students along. Every student deserves the opportunity to be recognized for what they bring to the community. That's always the great challenge of education.

The more skills they have to navigate those moments where they don't know, where they navigate through big problems, the greater chance they have for success in the admissions process and beyond it.

 Mock Interview 

As it’s known, the top American private schools and top universities have the same education methodology. Many of them already have foundation classes for universities and they pay more attention to cultivating students’ learning habits. Now, more and more parents choose to send their children to qualified American high schools to study for entrance to a better university and a better future, along with which, the competition of going to America becomes more intense.

So, what are the features the top American schools seek in a student?

In the afternoon, 9 students from Middle School had mock interviews with Principal Rick. Even though some of them had prepared for it, they still seemed to be nervous. However, after the interview, they were all excited and savored the experience.


Later on, Principal Rick talked to the parents about their children’s great presentations, and that it was not an interview, it was a pleasant conversation. Students presented themselves and their interests within 10 minutes. A fencing fan made the posture of the first move of fencing, a student who loves to sing sang a song in front him... all these have left a great impression on Principal Rick.

6.webp.jpgWith these aspects - academic excellence, extracurricular distinction, and personal qualities - in mind, we read with care all the components of each application, said Principal Rick. Test scores and grades offer some indication of students’ academic promise and achievement. But the school also scrutinizes applications for extracurricular distinction and personal qualities. How students fit with schools is much more important than schools’ rankings.

There are many ways parents have planned for their children, whether it includes going abroad or not. The most essential thing is to respect their characteristics, help them to see their value, and feel a sense of belonging.

All of these, are not just for a better school, they are also our life-long areas of focus.


In order to give our students and parents first-hand information about great high school opportunities, WBS will invite famous foreign schools and international school departments of local high schools to join us for information seminars. Our experienced School Placement Officer will also keep close contact with our students and parents to provide advice and answer questions. WBS devotes itself to understanding each student’s interests and abilities, developing their strengths, while at the same time cultivating their ability to express their thoughts and ideas compellingly and articulately. Our dedicated Placement Counseling team monitors all aspects of each student’s progress throughout Middle School, and prepares a personalized plan of study to ensure each student’s smooth transition to high school.