One of the city's most expensive international schools yesterday offered a full scholarship to the 14-year-old star pupil from Yuen Long who scored near-perfect results in the Certificate of Education Examinations last week.
Ho Hoi-lam found herself in the media spotlight when she scored eight A-grades plus a Level 5* in Chinese language and a Level 5 in English.
Hong Kong International School yesterday contacted the South China Morning Post in an attempt to reach the student to make a conditional offer of a free place on the strength of media reports following Hoi-lam's performance in the exams.
'This is part of our annual scholarship scheme under which we reach out to the local community,' a spokesman for the school said. 'The committee members have been moved by what they have been reading about this 14-year-old girl.'
The scholarship offer from the American-styled international school in Southern district would be worth more than HK$300,000 over two years, providing tuition fees and possibly other financial support.
If she accepted the offer, Hoi-lam would need to travel daily from her home in Tin Shui Wai at least as far as Kowloon Tong, the nearest departure point for the school bus. The school, which is on Red Hill Peninsula, has no boarding facilities.
'There could be additional help for transport if it was required,' the spokesman said.
Hoi-lam's achievement was all the more remarkable because she bucked several stereotypes.
Not only did she take the exams three years ahead of schedule, she also comes from a working-class family in Tin Shui Wai and studied at a Chinese-medium secondary school.
She was turned down by the elite Diocesan Girls' School in Kowloon, when she applied for a Form One place there at the age of nine.
Hoi-lam has already been awarded a HK$20,000 scholarship by Tung Wah Group of Hospitals, the sponsoring body of her school, Lo Kon Ting Memorial College.
The scholarship would include full tuition up to grade 12, plus possibly further financial assistance.
Hoi-lam said yesterday she would consider the offer.
'I would need to know more details about the school and the scholarship before I could make a decision,' she said. 'I hope they can send me something in writing.'