While most Chinese people are still grappling with their post–Spring Festival blues, students at Hengshui No. 2 High School in Hebei Province have already been preparing for the 2018 gaokao (高考 gāokǎo) — the country’s national college entrance exam — which will take place in June as in previous years.
On Monday, February 26, more than 3,000 students gathered at the school, which is known for intense military-style teaching methods and its students’ excellent performance in the gaokao. A collection of pictures taken by Toutiao News showcases the encouraging atmosphere at the scene. With teachers and parents in attendance, students marched at the school holding banners and chanting slogans.
Some of the banners read:
“Fight for 100 days. Don’t spend your last year at high school in a wrong way!”
“Remain true to our original aspiration and keep our mission firmly in mind. Fight in the last 100 days and revive our country.”
“The gaokao has nothing to be afraid of. We’ll use the last 100 days to defeat it.”
“Peking University and Tsinghua University are under my feet. Top students at Hengshui No. 2 are unparalleled in the universe.”
“Success won’t wait for ‘Buddhist youths.’ The gaokao only believes in endeavor and sweat.”
A video by thepaper.cn captured the moment of students chanting “I am bound to succeed” three times in a row with enthusiasm and determination.
Named “Swearing to teachers 100 days ahead of the gaokao” (百日誓师 bǎirìshìshī), the event is a long-existing tradition at Hengshui No. 2 High School. It is supposed to motivate students to prepare for the fast-approaching exam, which, in the eyes of many Chinese people, especially parents, is a life-determining test of the utmost importance.
The 2012 event
The 2013 event
The 2014 event
With a teaching style that is particularly appealing to ambitious parents, Hengshui High School has opened branch campuses bearing its name across the country in the last few years. The expansion, however, has attracted fierce criticism of the school’s excessive emphasis on test scores. Last year, when the school announced the opening of a new branch in Jiaxing, a city near Shanghai in Zhejiang Province, it faced opposition from local education experts and internet users, who argued that its results-oriented teaching style would ruin the local students’ learning experience.