Sun, Jun 21, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Student becomes star for a day at solo graduation

Staff writer, with CNA

Chen Ting-wei, the only graduate at his school this year, shows off his prizes and gifts at Heping Elementary School in Taitung County’s Chenggong Township on Friday.

Photo: Huang Ming-tang, Taipei Times

An Aboriginal pupil at the coastal Heping Elementary School in Taitung County had a unique graduation ceremony on Friday in that not only was he the only graduate, but the event turned into a tourist attraction with more than 300 unexpected guests attending his graduation party.

The party that the school threw for Chen Ting-wei (陳庭偉) presented a festive atmosphere with Aboriginal games, a photography exhibition about the township and stands selling food and handicrafts that attracted many curious tourists.

With just 20 pupils, Heping Elementary School is one of the smallest primary schools in the nation. This year, 80 percent of the pupils come from a nearby Amis village.

Ting-wei is the fifth of the Chen family’s six children to graduate from the school. A younger brother is in the fifth grade.

Principal Shih Hsiu-ying (施琇瑩) told the visitors that when Chen Ting-wei started attending the school, he had three classmates. He became the sole pupil in the third grade and remained so for three years, until the school decided to have him join younger children in a mixed class in his sixth year, so he could have company while studying.

Chen said he did not mind being the only graduate — after all, he received all the prizes and presents for graduates.

Besides, he also enjoyed tourists asking him to take photographs with them.

Talented at math and particularly interested in machines, Chen said that his graduation wish is that one day he can have a backhoe similar to the one that his father operates.

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