By Karin L. Semler
Balloons, banners, a ribbon cutting, firecrackers, a worship service, a reception, and special guests Oct. 8-9 marked celebrations at Concordia International School Shanghai (CISS) as the school dedicated its newest building — a 12,000-square-meter, state-of-the-art, six-story high school.
Attending the festivities were some 1,300 people, including 1,070 CISS students in preschool through 12th grade, many of their parents, faculty members, and guests representing the LCMS and the Shanghai, China, community.
“It was a great day in the life of Concordia to celebrate the opening of a new building and the completion of our campus development,” said Dr. James Koerschen, CISS head of school.
During the dedication ceremony, special messages were given by Dr. Fredrick Voigtmann, chairman of the school’s board of directors; Rev. David Birner, associate executive director of LCMS World Mission; Christopher Beede, deputy principal officer of the U.S. Consulate; and Ron Shen, general manager of Jinqiao Group.
Also in attendance were guests from China Construction Bank; the facility’s architect and builder, Perkins Eastman Architects and PAC Group; other Shanghai international schools; and LCMS representatives from Hong Kong, the United States, and Vietnam.
Since its beginning in 1998, CISS has valued its friendship with a neighboring school, Pinghe Bilingual School. During the dedication, a silk-embroidered Chinese calligraphy with the sentiment “Harmony is Precious” was presented to Guofong Ren, Pinghe’s principal, in celebration of the two schools’ special relationship.
CISS students also took part in the ceremony, performing “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing” and “This Little Light of Mine” under the direction of elementary school music educator Margaret Thong. Student speeches in English and Chinese were given by Kerry Lee (Grade 4), Ashleigh Carroll (Grade 8), and Jane Chow (Grade 10). In 2012, Chow will be the school’s first graduate to have attended CISS from the start of her schooling. Other students served as ushers and led tours.
The school’s Parent Support Organization hosted a reception in the Founder’s Garden following the dedication.
“It was a joyous feeling to celebrate the new high school building that provides an excellent learning environment with well-designed facilities,” said CISS board member I-Lin Chow, mother of Jane Chow. “Today we count our blessings that our children love this school and feel a deep sense of pride and appreciate the education they have received from CISS. May this school continue to shine and bring blessings to many more families.”
CISS High School Principal David Harris said, “What a wonderful blessing it was to dedicate the new high school to God’s glory. He has blessed Concordia richly through the years, both with material blessings and in the people who He has brought to make up our wonderful community.”
Concordia International School Shanghai, now in its 12th year, is owned and operated by The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod. It provides a Christian education to the children of expatriates living and working in China.
For more information, visit its Web site at www.ciss.com.cn.
Karin L. Semler is assistant director of Marketing and Communications at Concordia International School Shanghai.
Posted Oct. 28, 2009