Academic Excellence

2022 IGDVGS Commencement Ceremony

Staff Editorial

On June 2, 2022, the IGDVGS community gathered together at Wonderful Words Hall to celebrate the Class of 2022, and the 6th and 8th grade promotions. Fourteen senior graduates graced the stage with their heartfelt speeches. They also gave a round of Zoom reflections filled with gratitude for their parents, dorm supervisor, principal, teachers, school sisters, and the school community.

‘My Time Here Has Been More Precious Than I Could Have Ever Imagined’

Thuy Nguyen

It’s not the moment you arrive at the top of the mountain and raise your fists in victory, but the process of falling in love with the hike. Now that I am at the top of the mountain, I realize how beautiful the view behind me is. Now I see. It is the purpose that sears my identity and builds character and channels my energy toward something greater than the insatiable, daily pursuit of our fleeting desires. My time here has been more precious than I could have ever imagined. 

‘Teachers Are Like Keys that Open All the Good Paths for Me’

Yoyo Ji

There are countless things I have received throughout these 3 years. I learned that teachers are like keys that open all the good paths for me. I am never a studious student, but you bring me a world of poetry, a world of trigonometry, a world of powerful sutra and a world of politics. Besides that, you also bring me a world of common sense, a world of confidence, and a world of love. All of these add up together to create my world. That is full of your efforts.

‘They Go Above and Beyond the Bare Minimum to Unify Us’

An Nguyen

Despite the fact that I feel like the schools teachings are a bit too traditional or they may be a bit too conservative, they’re strongest attribute was and is building this community not because we have a small school but because they go above and beyond the bare minimum to unify us. If you asked me in my previous years how I felt about the activities that helped us get closer, I would’ve said they were quite tedious and albeit annoying. But growing up is realizing how fundamental that has become for me. Not only have I been able to build my social skills, I have also learned what it means to take responsibility and look after the younger kids. 

‘Souvenirs I Can Bring With Me’ 

Nina Xie

In the past few weeks, I have been pondering about what souvenirs I can bring with me so that I can store my timeless memories in these little time machines that will immerse me with familiarity and comfort. As I started collecting some items, I realized that perhaps the best souvenirs are my skills, knowledge, and habits that I have developed over my past five years as a student. Things like how to clean a stove, how to sweep, how to communicate with others, how to work efficiently in a team, how to fulfill my own responsibilities are the fruitions of my beloved teachers’ teachings and my efforts. 

‘Meditation a Very Helpful Method’

Katherine Chen

The most memorable thing I would always keep in mind from the city is meditation. I have always found meditation a very helpful method to keep myself calm and at peace. Every time I felt anxiety or any negative discomfort, I would sit down and meditate while I listened to calming music. I would say that my favorite form of meditation is sitting meditation. It is the simplest and easiest form of mediation. In my opinion, I do intend to continue this practice during college and in the far future. I am very thankful for those who taught me this practice. 

‘Learning is a Life-long Activity and Responsibility’

Jaimie Yu

However, it is what I have experienced here that got me started on developing my own attitude, my own mortality, my own values, and my own virtue. We will always be on the journey to becoming someone who we aspire to be and we will always be our best work in progress . . . Everything that I have learned here is religion, Buddhism or not. Different from bending the law, religions are far more advanced and could be adjusted. And that’s why it is so important to have principles, to understand the nature of life, to communicate with loving kindness, to take actions full of compassion, and to know that learning is a life-long activity and responsibility. And coming here didn’t only get me started on developing virtue, but also understanding myself and affirming my own beliefs.

‘The Past Ten Years and Shaping Me to Who I Am Today’

Hailley Luong

Although I am excited to move on to college, leaving CTTB makes me sad because it has been my second home for the past decade. It is like its own world with its fat squirrels and loud peacocks.  It even has its own weather at times. I also had many of my first times here, like riding a bike, liberating animals, and running (or, dignifiedly speed-walking) through the Buddha Hall during special night transferences (跑香).  I would like to thank the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas for raising me the past ten years and shaping me to who I am today. Not only that, I would like to thank the community for making my mom’s last years in the world more memorable and worthwhile. Thank you. 

‘Change of Mindset About Studying’

Yijia Ni

Before I came here, I was a terrible student in terms of studying. Being a 14-year-old,  I completely had no plans for the future. In my eyes, university life was too far away for me to even think of. I can joke about it now that 14-year-old me could be put as an example of one completely living in the present, a nicer definition for a short-sighted hedonist. And frankly and being ashamed of speaking about it here, (I don’t know whether you experienced this before). I had the feeling that I was studying for my parents, since I had no other motivation. Fortunately, I was influenced by the studying atmosphere and stunned by how horrible my English was after I came here. I had a realization that I was solely responsible for my future and I needed to study. I’m not saying that I loved studying after that. I still procrastinate nowadays and have those times when I don’t feel like doing my homework or studying. It’s just that my change of mindset about studying makes me obtain intrinsic motivation which drives me to study more efficiently. 

‘My Parents Have Been My Number One Followers’

Karen Liang

While far yet close to my physical home, I realized my firm connection to my family. My older brother and sister are my friends that I can share my secrets and thoughts with that I wouldn’t tell anyone else. My parents have been my number one followers, supporting me mentally, physically, and emotionally. I am extremely grateful to my mother and father for listening to meaningless talks and rants, and for forever being there for me even when I didn’t know I needed it.

‘Continue to Build Strong Sisterhood’

Naomi Seng

 To my dear dorm-mates, I will forever remember the days when we would lay on the basketball court to stargaze, share our snacks, and the heart-to-heart talks that deepened our connections. To the younger aspiring school sisters, I would advise all of you to treasure your time here, contribute your effort and attention to the dorm, and continue to build strong sisterhood. I would like to end my talk with a quote: you create what you believe. You see what you want. You will have what you give. 

‘I Had the Privilege’

Heidi Blythe

Studying in DVGS, I had the privilege to attend an international school in the US. I had the privilege to meet friends from all around the world. I had the privilege to be surrounded by wise teachers who share so much wisdom and kindness. I had the privilege to nurture morality and “samadhi”. As a recipient of such fortune, I will continue into the world with the teachings and keep on developing my virtue. And whenever I encounter difficulties, I will remember what Venerable Master Hua once said, “Everything is okay!”

‘My ABCs of Life’

Rachel Blythe

Life won’t get easier with its challenges but they will become more intricate. But when we’re troubled by life’s complexities, we must remember our ABCs. No, not the English alphabet, but the abcs of life, and don’t worry, I won’t go through all 26 letters of the alphabet because this speech has a time limit. And so, dear all, here are my ABCs of life. First, accept. Receive, welcome, and take in any challenges. Don’t deny it or run away. Because, and trust me on this, running away is never the best short cut. Second, become what you want to attract. Become someone you are proud and comfortable with, that is the best way in achieving the best versions of ourselves. Third, don’t chase, don’t seek for things. I’m not saying not to be ambitious and simply wait for life to throw you something good. But I am saying don’t chase, don’t run, but walk, take it step by step. You see, I had to “relearn” my ABCs upon coming here, but I must say that that has made all the difference. 

‘Contemplate on the Actions of the Mind’

Kaitlin Harness

I have had multiple meditation teachers over the years but each has given me the chance to become more mindful in a different way. Silent sitting meditation with Dharma Master Heng Fu in my first year provided me with a space where I could take a break from my stresses and look at myself in a way I had never done before. All my confusing issues and complex emotions became easier to approach and solve in this state of peaceful contemplation. Realizing this tactic to approach inner turmoil has allowed me to take a step back when things are difficult and proceed with greater calm. In my junior year, studying meditation under Dharma Master Jin Jr I learned a lot about different methods of meditation used, with the goal of trying to calm the unending movement of the mind. At the end of the year, when we were asked to develop our own method of meditation, I chose to contemplate on the actions of the mind. Instead of rejecting my thoughts, I decided that with the meditation tools I had been given, I would try to separate myself from them through concentration and reflect upon them more objectively. With my own practice, I was able to meditate on my internal commentaries and better understand my own mind. In conclusion, throughout the years I have spent here I have been taught the tools to learn more about myself, and develop as a person through my experiences.

‘I Am Not Ready to Leave This Place’

Asia Wijaya

I am about to graduate and leave this place and the people. There have been many ups and downs in my life here. My whole class has gone through many last minute planning, huge embarrassments, and unpleasant events. And yet, we are still here. We are going to graduate soon. Nonetheless, we also went through many happy moments together, such as screaming during karaoke, counting down during New Years Eve, staring at the bonfire in the middle of the night, watching the shooting stars in the basketball court, and eating yummy, delicious food. We have been through so much together and we will be going separate ways soon. Speaking truthfully, I am not ready to leave this place nor the people here. 

The graduates will be attending universities all over the globe which include London, Taiwan, Malaysia, California, Philadelphia, Ohio, Boston, and Florida. Congratulations to the Class of 2022! We wish you all the best as you embark on new beginnings.