South Island School
South Island School in Aberdeen looks like any other busy, thriving international school, but below the surface is a huge community of students passionate about all things equestrian.
Hundreds of students have been involved in this horse-riding element of the curriculum, and the numbers are rising.
The head of geography, Noor (Ava) Khalfaoui, oversees all of the school's equestrian events. She also runs after-school horse-riding activities every week at Lo Wu Saddle Club, which mixes riding for pleasure with tests tailored to different abilities.
The school has been very supportive of Khalfaoui, who is currently taking her British Horse Society examinations to become a qualified riding coach.
This year the school has integrated Riding for the Disabled into its CAS curriculum, which is open to all students in Years 10 and 11. Once a week, students act as side-walkers to disabled children at Tuen Mun Public Riding School. To fully immerse equestrianism into school life, the first inter-house event was established last year, giving the students a chance to ride for their own house.
Wider participation is also available through two inter-school competitions. The most established is the Hartpury College Inter-school Equestrian Challenge, while the younger event is the Ann Baron Memorial Cup. Both of these events have attracted dozens of international and local schools to participate for the chance to win a trip to Britain and ride at the famous Hartpury College.
For those who are perhaps new to riding or who want to spend an extended time with horses, there is a Pony Camp during Focus Week. Focus Week is run by the school in November when all classes are cancelled and students can elect to take part in something creative, or perform a service. At Pony Camp, the students can spend quality time around horses and gain experience from vets, blacksmiths and even Paralympic riders.
South Island School tries to foster a real community spirit among the students who participate in the many equestrian events, and it is one of the few schools with its own dedicated equestrian website. The site allows students and parents to keep in touch with everything going on. This is a website by the students for the students, where they can upload photos, write about the horses and ponies they ride or just chat about events and experiences.
The school has managed to integrate the curriculum into horse-riding and has dedicated photographers and moviemakers from the media department who accompany the students to the events and competitions, thus ensuring that the whole school can enjoy the success.
Looking to the future, a Hong Kong school league is the next venture where it is hoped that riders can compete on an equal footing to rugby, soccer and tennis players.
Diocesan Girls' School
The Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) of Diocesan Girls' School celebrated its 60th anniversary on September 30.
The ceremony was held at the school's redeveloped campus on Jordan Road. Guests included chairman of the school council Bishop Thomas Soo Yee-po, PTA supervisor Doris Ho and present and former PTA chairmen and executive committee members.
At the ceremony, school headmistress Stella Lau praised the PTA members. She said: 'Our former and current parents have been giving us tremendous support ranging from participating in large-scale projects such as the school redevelopment programme, to the finest details of daily routine, such as making a new uniform to keep our girls warm in winter.'
Emily Dai, headmistress of Diocesan Girls' Junior School, said: 'The past generation [of PTA members] planted the trees, and we enjoy the shade today ... The celebration of the 60th anniversary of our PTA in 2011 adds to the joy of the completion of the school redevelopment programme.'
PTA chairwoman Yvette Ho thanked the supervisor and the two headmistresses for encouraging parents' participation in projects.
The school's PTA, founded in 1951, was the first such body to be established in Hong Kong.
Yuen Long Lutheran Secondary School
Yuen Long Lutheran Secondary School held its 49th sports days at the Tin Shui Wai stadium on September 14 and 15.
I really appreciate the cheerleading teams, who had very little time to practise but did a great job during the competition.
The last event, the interhouse 400m relay race, was the highlight of the meet. The scores of the four houses were very close at the time.
Some of the participants were injured, but they insisted on taking part in the race. This showed their team spirit and determination.
Everyone did his or her best, and some of my schoolmates even set new records, which was really encouraging.
The competition was all about enjoyment - not just winning - and everyone had a wonderful time.
I hope every student will learn what sports has to offer and have a good, all-round education.
Leung Sui-yin, Form Seven