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Laying Solid Foundation for Life with Thought Force and Practical Force

Laying Solid Foundation for Life with Thought Force and Practical Force

Principal's Speech at 2019 Graduation Ceremony of Senior Grade 3

Dear parents, teachers and students:

Today is an important day for all of us, and we are here to hold the 2019 graduation ceremony and 18-year-old adult ceremony of Nanjing Foreign Language School. First of all, please allow me, on behalf of the school, to express my sincere respect to all the teachers who have taught the graduates of 2019, send my warmest congratulations to all the students of Senior Grade 3, and express my sincere thanks to all parents who have trusted, cared for and supported NFLS for many years.

Nourished and nurtured by the spirit of NFLS, generations of outstanding students have accomplished the mission of the times, shouldered the heavy responsibility of their country, continued with the past and opened up the future, bringing honors for the alma mater. Among the 2019 graduates, 121students were admitted to domestic universities through contests and language competitions, and 66 of them entered C9 universities, with the rest admitted to Beijing Foreign Studies University, Shanghai International Studies University, Renmin University of China, Foreign Affairs College, Chinese University of Hong Kong (Shenzhen), Wuhan University, Xiamen University, Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, Southeast University, Huazhong University of Science and Technology and other popular colleges and universities. Many students topped the admission examinations, and were highly praised by universities.

NFLS students were also favored by famous foreign schools, with the admission rate continuing to rank among the top in China, including Yale University 3, the University of Chicago 2, Columbia University 1, University of Pennsylvania 3, Duke University 4, the Johns Hopkins University 3, Brown University 1, Cornell University 6, Dartmouth College 1, California Institute of Technology 1, Williams College 1, Wellesley College 1, Cambridge University 3. More than 250 NFLS students will be admitted to more than 100 world famous schools in the United States, Britain, Canada, France, Japan, and Singapore.

We should also give applause to the students who have just finished their college entrance examination. Your choice is to choose firm self-confidence and persistent professional pursuit. Your indomitable courage and perseverance will become the precious wealth of life. Your enterprising spirit to realize your ideal will inspire more students in NFLS to strive for the realization of their dreams. We look forward to your good news.

The year 2019 marks the 100th anniversary of the May 4th Movement. The May 4th Movement, with the warm-blooded youth as its new force, developed the great May 4th spirit of patriotism, progress, democracy and science, and inspired youth to strive unremittingly for the prosperity of the motherland and the rejuvenation of the nation. Standing at a new starting point in the century-old history, the students who are about to leave your  alma mater and step into a new world full of youth, I hope you lay a solid foundation for life with two forces.

One is strong thought force. Thought force is the cornerstone of human behavior and a functional thought formed by individuals after the baptism of success or failure. Socrates said, “The man of thought is the measure of all things.” Thought force determines the height of the mind, the breadth of vision, the size of the pattern, and helps us to judge what is important and what is valuable.

The core of thought force is values. Einstein's words well illustrate the heavy values, he said, "One should guard against preaching to young people success in the customary form as the main aim in life because a successful man gets more out of life than he puts in. But a man of value will give more than he receives.”

Thought force is the discrimination of truth, goodness and beauty. Plato said, “Pursuing for truth with thought.”This indicates the three elements of intellectual value, moral value and aesthetic value, it vividly includes any form of basic value. I hope that students will always maintain the original intention of pursuing truth, altruistic goodwill, healthy life interest for self-reflection, self-realization and surpassing yourselves. 

The other is strong practical force. Without strong thought force, practical force is just like the water without source and the wood without foundation. Without strong practical power, the thought force is an armchair strategist no matter how it is great. I hope that all NFLS graduates have the practical ability of firm belief, full effort and hard work.

You are the best of your peers, and you have spent good times of middle school in NFLS. Under the halo of a famous school, you are full of confidence, which is an advantage but may also change into a disadvantage. When you walk out of the campus and go to the wider world, and encounter stronger opponents, do you still have the courage to keep running? At this time, you must tell yourself that only by running can you feel the power of life, and only by action can you embody the value of life.

In this world, there are many smart people, but how many of them can achieve great success? Without persistence and tenacity, genius cannot make success. Great goals are important, but I also hope that every graduate of NFLS has a calm state of mind and the determination to endure loneliness and hardship, work steadily, so that every step of life can be taken steadily and firmly. We should strive to be NFLS students with great wisdom and ambition.

My children, from the age of 16 to 18, you spent the most brilliant, innocent and energetic three years in NFLS, leaving the warmest and best memories for the alma mater. You will always be the children of the alma mater. No matter where you go, the alma mater will look at you, miss you, and bless you!

I end with Tagore's poem, “No matter how far you go, your heart is always connected with me, and no matter how long the shadow of the tree is at dusk, it is always connected with the root of the tree.

Thank you all.

Zhou Zheng of Nanjing Foreign Language School

June 12, 2019