01 July, 2022

The Importance of a Prize Giving Ceremony

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By Stuart White, Vice-Principal 

At The British International School Shanghai, Puxi, we understand the importance of a prize giving ceremony. I’ve been lucky enough to attend three ceremonies that rewarded and celebrated academic success.  

The first ceremony was the Year 6 BISSCAs awards. This student award ceremony recognises success in many areas of school life, but I was particularly pleased to see how many of the citations read out about our senior primary school students were for great achievement and effort in the classroom.  

Following this award ceremony was the Key Stage 3 prize giving ceremony, where we acknowledge the importance of prize distribution by handing out a large number of specially commissioned medals to students for their academic achievement and outstanding work throughout the year in all of the subjects we teach. 

Finally, we conducted a prize giving ceremony for our Year 10 and Year 12 students, with medals and certificates to recognise great performances in the classroom. The work done by our Year 10 and Year 12 students is especially important as we are starting to look ahead to very important exams next year for them at GCSE and the IB Diploma

School prize giving ceremonies is a special time at The British International School Shanghai, Puxi. 

It was marvellous to have an opportunity for us to shake so many students by the hand and to say “well done” for all their wonderful achievements. There is great importance of prize distribution and acknowledging the success of our students. 

Understanding the importance of giving awards to students 

As I said to the parents and students at the last of the three gatherings, we hold these ceremonies for two reasons. Firstly, we like to celebrate success in all its forms as publicly as possible. This is just a great thing to do for our students, and it’s personally one of the most rewarding things about working in a school.


Secondly, we want everyone to revel in learning, to value it as an activity and to think that it’s a “cool” thing to do. We—students and teachers—exist in an environment where we can spend our time learning about all sorts of interesting events and ideas. The ancient Greeks, Socrates and Aristotle, for example, knew this. They both identified learning as the ultimate pursuit of the virtuous and happy person. So, when it happens well, we want to celebrate and encourage it, and so we gather together and give out medals. To celebrate a student’s pursuit of education is a beautiful moment, and a wonderful way to end the term.