Hong Kong International School

Coordinates: 22°14′16″N 114°13′25″E / 22.23789°N 114.22354°E / 22.23789; 114.22354
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Hong Kong International School
Repulse Bay and Tai Tam, Hong Kong
Religious affiliation(s)Christian
Established19 September 1966; 57 years ago (1966-09-19)
Head of schoolRon Roukema (Interim)
Number of studentsOver 2,640 students
Color(s)Dark Red, White, Navy
MascotTorch the Dragon
High School Principal:George Carr
Middle School PrincipalBrad Latzke
Upper Primary PrincipalBen Hart
Lower Primary PrincipalGeoff Heney
Campus surroundingsPrivate Campus
Hong Kong International School
Traditional Chinese香港國際學校
Simplified Chinese香港国际学校
Front view of the Hong Kong International School (HKIS) Middle School Campus

Hong Kong International School (HKIS) is a co-educational private international school in Hong Kong with campuses in Tai Tam and Repulse Bay, serving students from Reception 1 to Grade 12. The Repulse Bay campus houses the Lower and Upper Primary Divisions, while Tai Tam houses the Middle and High School Divisions.

Hong Kong International School is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)[1] and is a member of the East Asia Regional Conference of Overseas Schools (EARCOS).[2]


In 1964, a Hong Kong-based committee of the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS) first submitted a proposal to have the school built.[3] The Repulse Bay Lutheran Church and School Project conducted a survey of Americans in July 1964. The results showed the majority of respondents were in favor of establishing an American school, with 100 new families anticipated to arrive each year.[4]

In 1965, the Board of Missions of the LCMS and the Hong Kong Education Department approved a land grant and loan for the construction of the school. The LCMS matched the land grant with its own grant and loan, and the American business community in Hong Kong raised additional capital.[4]

With the establishment of regional headquarters of the Dow Chemical Company and Pan Am in Hong Kong, a number of American families arrived in 1966.[4] The HKIS Board of Managers agreed to establish and open an “HKIS Provisional Elementary School” program for the 1966–1967 school year in a leased apartment building at Chung Hom Kok with a capacity for 195 students.[5]

In April 1966, the groundbreaking ceremony was held for the first permanent school building in Repulse Bay, with a capacity for 630 pupils. The campus included a cafeteria, library, and gymnasium. It became the first school in Hong Kong with a U.S. education program.[6] The school facilities were completed in 1967, with the Church of All Nations also located on the campus.[4]

HKIS officially opened in Repulse Bay in 1967, with more than 600 students in kindergarten through to grade 12.[5] By 1969 this had grown to 900 students from 26 nationalities, with 80% being U.S. citizens.[7] The campus was as dedicated in 1975.[8] In the 1970s the school had both American students and students of other nationalities.[9] In 1971, HKIS became WASC accredited, five years after the school opened.[4]

In 1985, the Hong Kong Government approved a land grant in Tai Tam. The groundbreaking ceremony for the new campus was held in 1986. The campus was completed in 1989, in time for the 1988–1989 school year. Hong Kong Governor Sir David Wilson dedicated the new campus. In 1989, the school grown to 1,7111 students across its two campuses.[7]

In 2001, the student count was 2,650. That same year, Charles Dull announced that he would not stay on after the end of his period as the head of the school. William Wehrenberg succeeded him.[10] Wehrenberg left his position in 2004.[11]

In 2003, HKIS and BrainPop collaborated on an episode of the latter about SARS/MERS.

By 2004 the school had established an extracurricular summer school, which was one of the largest in Hong Kong.[12]

The Middle School completed a new Middle School Annex overlooking Tai Tam Bay in 2009 or 2010, including administrative offices, a boardroom, Modern Languages classrooms and a seminar/meeting space.

Recent developments[edit]

HKIS announced in June 2011 that it would be redeveloping the Lower Primary school building in Repulse Bay for three years, with the old building being leveled during the process. In 2013, HKIS announced that lower primary students would move to the Tai Tam campus starting in the 2014–2015 school year. Offices and support staff rooms were retrofitted into classrooms, with space in the Middle School being turned over to Lower Primary. Work began in 2014, with the new campus featuring an indoor swimming pool, auditorium, gymnasium, learning spaces, and housing.

The school undertook a complete renovation of the Lower and Upper Primary Campus in Repulse Bay in 2017 and 2018, respectively. The Lower Primary school received six new playgrounds, swimming pool, auditorium, cafeteria, and Wonder Lab. The Upper Primary school received major renovations with all classrooms increasing in size and including art, science, and Design Garage rooms, a Chinese Cultural Center, cafeteria, multiple purpose sports room, and two-story indoor place area.[13]

During the 2016–2017 academic year, HKIS celebrated its 50th anniversary.[14] One of the biggest events included the 50th Anniversary Ball among a series of other celebrations held throughout May 2017.

School structure[edit]

HKIS Middle School
HKIS Middle School
Hong Kong International School grounds

The school is divided into four divisions, all co-educational: Lower Primary (Grades R1 and R2–Grades 1 and 2), Upper Primary (Grades 3–5), Middle School (Grades 6–8) and High School (Grades 9–12). Lower Primary (LP) and Upper Primary (UP) are housed in the original building in Repulse Bay, while the Middle School (MS) and High School (HS) are in the newer building in Tai Tam.

Each school division has its own administration and student government organization; the high school's is known as the Senate, the middle school's is called the Student Leadership Team, and the upper primary's is called the Student Consul. The entire school is overseen by the head of school.

For the 2011/17 academic year, over 2,640 students (from over 40 different nationalities) and 500 faculty and staff occupied the two separate campuses of HKIS. Four libraries housed a total of 200,000 books, periodicals, and technological resources.

In 2000, HKIS had the highest benefits and pay scheme in HKD of all of the international schools in Hong Kong.[15]

In 1994, Lutheranism was the school's religion.[5]


The school follows an American curriculum, offering various Advanced Placement courses and three foreign languages in Middle School and High School: French, Spanish, and Chinese. Chinese language study is mandatory for R1-G5 students.

Students in the High School division are required to study interdisciplinary humanities, American history, Biblical studies, life sciences, physical sciences, mathematics, and also meet various requirements in fine arts, information technology, Asian studies, and physical education & health. Religious education is a compulsory element of the curriculum.

Independent study and Senior Option, in which students design their own coursework and present their studies to faculty advisors.

Fine arts[edit]

HKIS' High School has an extensive fine arts program, offering numerous the performing and visual arts courses. At least one arts credit is required for graduation, with at least one half-credit course in performance/studio arts and, if only the minimum requirement is met, a one half-credit fine arts survey course.

Performing arts[edit]

HKIS is a member of the Association for Music in International Schools (AMIS), which hosts honor festivals for students of international schools. Acceptance is highly competitive and HKIS' Middle School and High School bands, choirs, and strings programs have been well represented at AMIS festivals since 2009.

HKIS's high school has also hosted the annual Southeast Asia Honor Band Program, inviting several major schools from the region (e.g., Jakarta and Taipei) to participate. At these festivals, HKIS also provided three honor bands of its own: the Middle School band, the Junior Varsity band, and a Varsity honor band.

In 2005, the High School Wind Ensemble earned first place at the Hong Kong Schools Music Festival. The High School band also travels to various countries for the APAC Festival, where students work with composers such as Robert W. Smith to put on a full-length concert in a few days. This festival has been held in places such as Seoul and Shanghai.

The Middle School band performs twice annually: once publicly, often in Stanley or City Hall, and once privately, usually in the Middle School Gymnasium. Other instrumental programs include the Strings program, which performs twice a year.

In Middle School, there are two performances per year, a musical and a play. Along with these, there are also musical theater classes, drama classes, and classes on theater craft.

HKIS has several choirs: an Upper Primary choir of 60 students, several Middle School choirs totaling over 100 students, and three High School choirs totaling 80 students.

Every year, the Madrigal Singers perform at the American Club's tree-lighting ceremony, the Rugby Sevens, and the Middle School choir sends a contingent to AMIS festivals around the world every year, in locations such as Kuala Lumpur (2012), Jakarta (2010), Scotland (2009), and Paris (2010).

Visual arts[edit]

A statue in the Hong Kong International School

The High School visual arts program offers classes of various levels in 2D studio art, 3D studio art, photography, and more recently, graphic design. Classes at the introductory level are more structured, with students gaining more freedom in project direction as they progress in the curriculum.

Art program[edit]

There is a strong emphasis on socially conscientious art; students from the High School art program were invited in 2005 to participate in The Art Miles Mural Project, and the 100 People World Portrait Project (100People.org).

Film program[edit]

The film program has also expanded in the past several years, now boasting the Tai Tam Virtual Film Festival, judged by industry professionals as well as media instructors throughout Hong Kong and the Asia region.

Theater program[edit]

Students in both High School and Middle School can also participate in school plays and musicals, both backstage and onstage. In the past three years alone, HKIS' HS and MS have produced many shows, including Into the Woods Jr., The Apple Tree, Aida, The Crucible, Picasso at the Lapin Agile, Thoroughly Modern Millie Jr., and The Bald Soprano.


In 1988, the school began operating its own bulletin board system (BBS), called "Dragon BBS".[16] Additional technological infrastructure was installed around 1994.[17]

In 2010, HKIS became a 1:1 (one laptop, one student) school, offering education in traditional and technological forms. Every student from grade 5 upwards was equipped with an Apple MacBook Pro and, younger students learn using a wide range of software using MacBook Pros, iPods, and iPads that remain at school. In 2013 the school switched to MacBook Airs for students participating in the 1:1 program.[18]


In 1994, John Haibrook of South China Morning Post described the Tai Tam campus as "reminiscent of a classy, overgrown Italian villa", and that it had an "isolated location".[17] At that time, its capacity was 2,200.[5]

Notable alumni[edit]

Arts and literature[edit]






  1. ^ "ACS WASC Commission – Accrediting Commission for Schools". directory.acswasc.org. Retrieved 1 February 2023.
  2. ^ "Learning Overview - Hong Kong International School". www.hkis.edu.hk. Retrieved 13 April 2023.
  3. ^ "Proposal for US-based international school submitted". South China Morning Post. 7 August 1964. Retrieved 10 November 2018. - Online: 6 October 2016 - Print: "School with U.S. Curriculum Proposed"
  4. ^ a b c d e HKIS: Celebrating 40 Years of Learning and Service. Hong Kong International School. 2007.
  5. ^ a b c d Campbell, Al (4 July 1995). "School nurtures diversity". South China Morning Post. p. 25 – via ProQuest Historical Newspapers.
  6. ^ "An American education-Authentic US curriculum offered at Hong Kong International School". South China Morning Post. 7 January 1968. Retrieved 10 November 2018. - Online: 21 November 2016 - Print: "The American Way of Schooling: U.S. curriculum and programme at H.K. International School"
  7. ^ a b "HKIS hosts discussion on American schools in Asia". South China Morning Post. 26 November 1969. Retrieved 10 November 2018. - Online: 16 October 2016 - Print: "Discussion on U.S.-Run Schools in Asia"
  8. ^ "HKIS primary school dedication to take place this week". South China Morning Post. 28 October 1975. Retrieved 10 November 2018. - Online: 5 October 2016
  9. ^ "Quality over quantity: New HKIS expansion plans focused on providing world-class student service". South China Morning Post. 29 October 1975. Retrieved 10 November 2018. - Online: 6 October 2016
  10. ^ Hui, Polly (9 June 2001). "HKIS head to quit post at term end". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 22 December 2022.
  11. ^ Cray, Steve (17 July 2004). "HKIS head quits after year of bitterness". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 22 December 2022.
  12. ^ "An elite summer school, too". South China Morning Post. 15 May 2004. Retrieved 10 November 2018. - Re-posted on 12 July 2017.
  13. ^ "Overview - Hong Kong International School". www.hkis.edu.hk. Retrieved 19 January 2020.
  14. ^ "Fiftieth Anniversary - Hong Kong International School". www.hkis.edu.hk. Retrieved 23 May 2019.
  15. ^ Yeung, Linda (16 December 2000). "Top salaries tempt staff to leave home". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 22 December 2022.
  16. ^ Chapel, Chris (24 May 1994). "School's BBS draws strong pupil support". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 22 December 2022. - re-posted on 22 March 2017.
  17. ^ a b Haibrook, John (21 May 1998). "IT puts school on leading edge". South China Morning Post. p. 69 – via ProQuest Historical Newspapers.
  18. ^ "Hong Kong International School: Technology @ HKIS". Archived from the original on 22 July 2013. Retrieved 29 May 2013.
  19. ^ Agell, Charlotte. "Charlotte Agell, Author & Illustrator". Charlotte Agell Official Website. Archived from the original on 30 September 2014. Retrieved 8 September 2014.
  20. ^ "Notable Alumni - Hong Kong International School".
  21. ^ a b DragonTales Winter 2017. Hong Kong: Hong Kong International School. 2017. p. 96.
  22. ^ Leopold, Todd (2 March 2015). "Who are these 'Power/Rangers' guys?". CNN. Retrieved 2 July 2017.
  23. ^ "Wesley Tongson 唐家偉". www.wesleytongson.org (in Chinese). Retrieved 15 April 2023.
  24. ^ "Who is Cathy Yan, the first Asian female director to helm a DC film?". South China Morning Post. 18 April 2018. Retrieved 14 April 2023.
  25. ^ Staff, John Cannon News-Post. "Linganore's China connection Joe Alexander took his game from the Far East to Western Maryland". The Frederick News-Post. Retrieved 14 April 2023.
  26. ^ "HK's speed skater at the 2019 Winter Universiade on learning resilience through injury, and academic discipline through sports". Young Post. Retrieved 14 April 2023.
  27. ^ "Jamie Yeung - Hong Kong International School". www.hkis.edu.hk. Retrieved 14 April 2023.
  28. ^ DragonTales Summer 2011. Hong Long: Hong Kong International School. 2012. p. 26.
  29. ^ Pages, HKIS (8 December 2021). "DragonTales: 55 Years of Staying the Course". HKIS Pages. Retrieved 14 April 2023.
  30. ^ https://odkobo.me
  31. ^ "'He'd be better off staying away from HK showbiz'". South China Morning Post. 22 February 2008. Retrieved 14 April 2023.
  32. ^ "Loletta Chu Lo Ling-ling". South China Morning Post. 28 February 2010. Retrieved 15 April 2023.
  33. ^ "Taku Hirano '91". Hong Kong International School. Retrieved 1 June 2016.
  34. ^ "Learning how to give back". Young Post. Retrieved 27 July 2022.
  35. ^ Chan, Jenny. "Juno Mak: A Young man with aspirations". varsity.com.cuhk.edu.hk. Retrieved 14 April 2023.
  36. ^ Reynolds, Donna (20 August 2004). "Syracuse University Senior to Appear on Next Survivor". The Post-Standard. Retrieved 22 February 2021.
  37. ^ Choy, Gigi W (31 October 2011). "HKIS Alumnus Set to Release Sixth Album". Junto. p. 3. Retrieved 14 April 2023.
  38. ^ "Blind mountaineer has a soft spot for Hong Kong heights". South China Morning Post. 30 April 2006. Retrieved 14 April 2023.

External links[edit]

22°14′16″N 114°13′25″E / 22.23789°N 114.22354°E / 22.23789; 114.22354