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Meet EIS Valedictorian Eunji Yoon

When Eunji Yoon attended her first EIS graduation she was transfixed by a speech from the school’s 2017 valedictorian.  Now, she’s following in their footsteps as the EIS valedictorian for 2024.


There’s nothing like gleaning inspiration from those who come before you - and for EIS student Eunji Yoon, listening to a valedictory speech seven years ago planted the seed to strive for greatness.

“I’ll never forget attending my first EIS graduation ceremony as a Grade 6 student, and listening to the speech that was delivered by the then valedictorian,” recalls Eunji. “I remember admiring their achievement and thinking I’d love to become like them one day. That’s why being this year’s valedictorian means so much to me.”

An environment to thrive
That 2017 speech certainly packed a punch. Add to that the ongoing support of peers and teachers, and Eunji says EIS has provided all the ingredients for success.

“One thing that motivated me was seeing how hardworking my peers were and how much they genuinely enjoyed learning. Knowing they were pushing themselves inspired me to work just as hard. We’d often study together, challenge each other, and celebrate our successes. Having such a supportive community made learning so much more enjoyable and I felt naturally motivated to study.

“The incredible support and encouragement I received from my teachers also motivated me to try hard. They constantly pushed me to challenge myself, take on new opportunities and never settle for anything less than my best. Their belief in me is what really helped me keep going.”

Building resilience
That’s not to say the going didn’t get tough. Eunji says there were times she felt overwhelmed by the challenging International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP), and on occasion, she even thought of giving up.

“I was constantly juggling classes, extracurricular activities, university applications and trying to maintain personal time. The stress and lack of work-life balance took a toll on my health. Thankfully though, I had incredible support from my teachers, peers and family who were always there for me, providing a listening ear and helping me to keep going.

“I’m proud of deciding to push through as I’ve learned so much and the time I spent with my teachers and peers has been invaluable.”

Memories for life
In fact, it’s these very memories that were the high points of Eunji’s time at school.

“Getting to meet and build memories with the amazing teachers and students has been the biggest highlight of my time at EIS. Our teachers are not just experts in their fields, but also confidants who truly care about helping their students succeed. It’s been a true privilege to learn from them. The peers I’ve met have also been a constant source of inspiration and I’ve been amazed by their diverse talents and perspectives. Whether it’s debating the latest social issues, working on group projects, or simply sharing laughs during lunch, I’ve learned so much from them.”

Secrets to success
Of course Eunji’s success is not only down to the supportive environment. Her hard work and determination play the starring role, and she has some invaluable advice to share with students.

“Time management is vital in achieving IBDP success because there are so many things to do! I’m a huge procrastinator however I found using organisational tools very helpful. I used an app to create daily to-do lists which helped me avoid the last-minute scramble and do well in assessments. Additionally, creating personal study notes was very beneficial. Referring to various resources and taking time to select the best parts from each source helped me create well-made notes, and enhanced my understanding of the content.”

She also suggests embracing your unique strengths rather than focusing on others.

“It’s easy to get caught up looking at other students’ achievements and feeling like you’re falling behind, but it’s okay to learn at your own pace. Staying true to your own goals and putting in steady, consistent effort is what helps you get to the top. Seek out support when you need it - having external feedback and accountability makes a huge difference, especially when the work starts to feel overwhelming.”

Inspiring the next generation
Eunji dreams of becoming a teacher and currently holds offers from UK universities including King’s College London and the University of Manchester for Social Science/Psychology.

“I’d love to follow in the footsteps of the teachers at EIS and make a difference in students' lives the way they made a difference in mine.”

First though, she’s taking some well-deserved time out, with a highly anticipated gap year.

“During my gap year, I plan on continuing my freelance job as a translator, travelling with friends and family, and taking a break!”

Whether she’s globetrotting or taking the next step in her academic journey, Eunji knows strong foundations have already been laid.

“The rigorous IBDP curriculum challenged me to develop a wide range of critical thinking skills, and I feel confident that I now have the academic foundation to thrive in the path I choose to pursue. Beyond academics, the tight-knit community and smaller student body at EIS have provided me with unique opportunities such as the chance to take on multiple leadership roles, receive personalised academic support, and form close relationships with other students regardless of grade level.

“These experiences were invaluable and truly enriched my secondary school experience.”