An Arborland Parent's Journey to Junior High
Updated: Jul 24
Mr. Johnny Tam, a current Arborland parent, offered our 2020 graduates some words of wisdom to take with them into their next adventure:
"I have not told Jason, I have not told anybody, but it brought tears to my eyes when I saw Jason was the MC on stage. Arborland gave him the opportunity and taught him really well how to become an independent individual, let him learn at his own pace, let him grow. I was very proud of Jason’s progress, his grade, his performance at Arborland."
Thank you, good morning. Thank you for everybody’s time.
First of all, my name is Johnny Tam. I am Jillian’s father today. I am here to give a speech. I want to say thank you for everybody’s time and I am honored to be here as a speaker. And, of course, thank you for Dr. Chen’s invitation.
Dr. Chen, one thing. Without you, we wouldn’t have Arborland and the kids wouldn’t have this wonderful education experience. I want to say that out loud.
And with Veronica, you are the hero behind the scenes. Sometimes I feel that you don’t get enough recognition. Thank you both.
With that said, I want to congratulate all the sixth graders today and thank you for all your hard work, especially the ability, the amazing ability, to take on this new remote learning process. With this crazy pandemic. And you have done a fabulous job. Seriously, you have. You’re taking classes online everyday, you had a recital at home, and now you’re graduating in your living room.
So Dr. Chen asked me to give a speech today, and I feel a speech is a little too formal, and I’m not a formal guy at all. So I just want to share our experience with Arborland.
So let’s start with our combined eighteen years at Arborland between Jason and Jillian. I think Jason started 2007 to 2015, and Jillian started 2010 until now, and she will be there for two more years, in 7th and 8th grade. It’s very funny: when my wife first came to me about this Montessori education system, I had no idea what it was. I was born in another country, in Hong Kong, so I thought it was an Italian dish. Well, of course, I had my doubts, because this was a new concept to me, but I was willing to give it a try. So when I saw the progress in Jason, I knew right off the bat that this is a good system. I have not told Jason, I have not told anybody, but it brought tears to my eyes when I saw Jason was the MC on stage. Arborland gave him the opportunity and taught him really well how to become an independent individual, let him learn at his own pace, let him grow. I was very proud of Jason’s progress, his grade, his performance at Arborland. Even nowadays, I still keep this picture next to my desk. When we took this picture, I think Veronica you took it for us, one of our Father’s Day breakfast.
So when it comes to Jillian, it was a very easy decision. Where else? Of course, Arborland again. But Jillian was a little different. She was quiet, shy, a little shy, and not really talkative. But now, look at her today. She has improved so much on her confidence level, her creativity skills, she creates things on her own, she thinks in her own way, adapts to changes very well, and often she voices her own opinion, which is kind of scary sometimes. But I love her.
Jillian did really, really well in her science project, and she was invited to China twice to compete at a GNHD competition. She received an award both time. And let me tell you guys, it was an eye-opening experience for her and even for myself. This will be a wonderful experience to put on her resume later on down the road in her education.
Everybody, I want to let you guys know one thing. Ms. Simms was on both trips in Wuhan and Shanghai. I want to give her my highest appreciation for her involvement, organizational skills. From the beginning to the end, in both trips, she took very good care of the kids, and she spelled out Arborland really, really loud in this international event.
These are the reasons why we chose Arborland and why we want Jillian to stay for two more years, 7th and 8th grade.
I also want to share my experience, or our experience, briefly between private school and public school. The support, dedication, attention, communication that you receive from the school faculty today will be different when it comes to public school. That’s my experience and that’s our experience. This is my personal belief, really quick. I would not put a price tag on my personal health, so I would not put a price tag on my children’s education. If that means I have to play less golf, I have to fly economy class instead of business class, so be it. I’m ready. I’m here to support my kids.
I think my time is up, two, two and half, three minutes. I want to say thank you again to everyone at Arborland. Dr Chen, Veronica, Ms. Simms, all the teachers that taught Jason and Jillian in the past. I wish everybody has a wonderful day. Good luck, and god bless.