It''s the end of the school year again! In Chiayi County, one elementary school just held a graduation ceremony on a whole new level. Kids at Buxin Elementary had to complete an ocean triathlon to take home their laurels. It included sailing, canoeing, and even a beach cleanup. After a tough couple of years with COVID, teachers and parents say this was the perfect way to celebrate the children''s resilience.

A little boy floats into the sky and circles gracefully, powered by jets of water. In his hand, the school flag.

This is the ocean graduation ceremony at Buxin 布新 Elementary in Chiayi County. As well as trying the water-powered flyboard, the elementary school graduates get dropped off at the Waisanding Sand Bar for an exotic three-part graduation test. First, a beach cleanup, followed by canoe class, and finally a run with the children’s sailing dinghy, the Optimist. Only those who complete all three tasks are awarded the Ocean Graduation Certificate.

Lu Po-chuan

Buxin Elementary principal

Here at No. 3 Fishing Harbor, we’ve been running these special classes in canoeing and sailing the Optimist for a long time. The community flyboard association sponsored us to have this unique flyboard experience, making the graduation even more exciting for the children.

Buxin Elementary sits on coastal reclaimed land. Its curriculum is designed to nurture students who are thoroughly at home with the water. Its original plans for an ocean graduation last year were scuppered by COVID. This year, 14 of the school’s 25 graduates registered for the ocean day, and all of them passed the test, taking their certificate home.

Chou Chien-hung

Buxin Elementary parents’ association

They couldn’t attend class in person during the pandemic, and lots of events were canceled. So we’re using the occasion of their graduation to give them an experience of a kind of triathlon.

This is definitely a triathlon to remember. Lots of kids who graduated online might feel a bit jealous watching this ceremony, but as summer kicks in, there are plenty of chances for everyone to get out and about in Taiwan’s wonderful waters.