Congratulations to the Class of 2019!

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“Our hope is to educate good people who will make a difference and positively impact the lives of others.” In his speech to the graduating Class of 2019, Head of School Brett Penny succinctly captured the aim of a NIST education. As the world continues to be transformed by globalization and technology, so too have schools evolved. The traditional definition of success, shaped by the demands of the industrial-based society of the 20th century, no longer suffices. Universities and employers seek much more. They aim to recruit intelligent, conscientious young adults who can bridge cultures, adapt to changing circumstances and empower others around them.

If the members of the Class of 2019 are any indication, NIST students are well prepared to meet those challenges. While the focus of graduation ceremonies all too often center on a list of university acceptances, this fails to capture the breadth of talents, skills and impact of the unique individuals transitioning to adulthood. In the words of one of their own, NIST’s Class of 2019 represents so much more than academic success: “We have record-breaking athletes; we have leaders of innovative and creative social enterprises; we have talented musicians, dancers, actors, singers; and, of course, our very own professional wakeboarder.”

We are not only proud that so many of our graduates will be attending their first choice of university–which does indeed include many expected names such as King’s College London; University of California, Berkeley; University of British Columbia and University of Tokyo. We are also delighted to see more NIST graduates pursuing their own paths, attending specialized institutions that will allow them to develop their strengths: The New School in New York, Charles University in Prague, Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology and more. We are proud that the fields of study they will pursue reflect both traditional subjects such as business and medicine, but also cutting-edge programmes in quantum computing and bioengineering.

Equally important, our community strongly believes that in many cases, the dramatic shifts occurring around the globe have opened up possibilities beyond university study. We’re encouraged to have more students exploring other opportunities through a gap year. Absent from the ceremony, our professional wakeboarder was earning 1st place at the 2019 FISE World Series in Montpellier, France. What unites our students is not their academic ability, but rather their drive to excel in their chosen paths and the potential they carry within them to positively impact those around them.

In many respects class valedictorian LinJee Lee epitomized this determination to flourish in the face of obstacles. Despite having joined NIST in Year 10 with limited English language skills, she dedicated herself to becoming a lifelong learner: “In a whole new environment, I was challenged to be a NIST member both academically and personally.” She took advantage of the secondary Learning Support Centre, going there every day after school to receive help and support from her teachers and classmates, and expanding her perspectives. The goal was not simply to succeed on an exam. In Linjee’s words, NIST helped her and her peers “grow up in emotionally mature, well-balanced, open-minded individuals with a better understanding of the world around us.”

Watch the full graduation ceremony on Facebook.

Linjee’s story is one of many, and as he closed his address to the class, Brett captured the importance of transforming these experiences at NIST into tangible action: “Because of your education, you will likely have opportunities to lead and influence the lives of others in the future. When these opportunities arise, I hope your NIST education and the values of your families empower you to lead with compassion and integrity, to look for opportunities to make a difference in the lives of others.”

We wish all the best to the Class of 2019 as they walk their new paths, with all the opportunities they may bring.


Five NIST students will take a gap year, and 14 are in the process of applying to institutions in Australia, India, Japan, Korea and Norway. The remaining members of the class will attend the following universities:

AMDA College and Conservatory of the Performing ArtsSyracuse University
Amsterdam University College (2)Thammasat University
Charles UniversityTufts University
Chulalongkorn UniversityUniversity College Utrecht
City, University LondonUniversity of Amsterdam (2)
Erasmus University Rotterdam (3)University of British Columbia (2)
Falmouth UniversityUniversity of California, Berkeley (2)
Fashion Institute of TechnologyUniversity of California, Davis
Fordham UniversityUniversity of California, Irvine
George Washington UniversityUniversity of California, San Diego (3)
Hofstra UniversityUniversity of California, Santa Cruz
Hotelschool the HagueUniversity of Derby
Indiana UniversityUniversity of Edinburgh
Keio UniversityUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
King's College London (4)University of Liverpool
King Mongkut's Institute of TechnologyUniversity of London
Korea Advanced Institute of Science & TechnologyUniversity of Northern Colorado
Lancaster UniversityUniversity of Reading
Leiden University (2)University of San Diego
Lindenwood UniversityUniversity of Sheffield
London College of FashionUniversity of Southampton
McGill University (2)University of Southern California
McMaster UniversityUniversity of Tokyo
Middlebury CollegeUniversity of Toronto
The New SchoolUniversity of Virginia
New York University (2)University of Warwick (2)
Northeastern University (2)University of Westminster (2)
Pennsylvania State UniversityWaseda University (2)
Queen Mary University of LondonWindward Community College
Queen's University (2)York University
Rhode Island School of Design