From a very young age, we're taught the virtue of generosity: the gift of giving and dedicating ourselves to serving and helping those less fortunate than we are.
On November 11, our school's Red Cross paired up with Hong Kong Red Cross Blood Transfusion to run a blood donation campaign. Many students and teachers enthusiastically dedicated themselves to the cause right here at school.
Many students had heard about blood donation, but taking part in the procedure was an entirely new experience for most of them. Some students, on the other hand, may feel uncomfortable, or even scared, at the thought of donating blood. But it has great meaning.
Physically capable volunteers aged at least 16 are given a simple blood test. As our school's Red Cross senior section leader Aaron Mok put it, the donation procedure is tiring. However, he says, the slight discomfort we suffer from giving our blood is nothing compared to the joy of being able to help patients who need it the most.
It's a notion that many other donors considered during the process.
We don't need to travel great distances to lend a helping hand. And you might be surprised by how much the smallest efforts can mean a great blessing - it could even mean giving a new life to someone.
On behalf of our Red Cross personnel, Aaron urges those eligible to take part in blood donation campaigns, whether at their school or elsewhere, to commit to the cause of serving those in need. All of these patients deserve another chance to enjoy life in the way we are lucky enough to do, Aaron says.
Donating blood doesn't take a lot from the donor because they recover very quickly, Aaron says, but it gives back so much more to the recipient.
St Mary's Canossian School and St Mary's Canossian College
Students and teachers from the school and college gathered at 11.11am on November 11, 2011, under the theme '1heart and 1 way' to celebrate the 111th anniversary of the two education institutions.
The gathering was organised by St Mary's Past Students' Association and kept a secret until the day of the event.
The principals, Maria Cheung and Catherine Wong, joined PSA chairwoman Justina Law and vice-chairwomen Annie Choi and Angela Liu to launch the ceremony. Organisers Angel Leung and Becky Lui, and Daniel Suen, chairman of the parent and teacher association, were also present.
The PSA gave everyone 'twin' popsicle bars, to resemble a number 11. 'The bars symbolise the spirit of sharing and happiness,' Law said.
Such a day, where all the digits align, may only happen once in a lifetime. Law said: 'We will have to wait for another 1,000 years to enjoy such an occasion again.' Joan Liu (5E),
St Mary's Canossian College
St Antonius Girls' College
Form Two students from our college in Yau Tong, Kowloon, visited Crossroads Global Village, in Tuen Mun, which is a charity that allows visitors to experience the hardships of poor people, both locally and internationally.
We were able to 'walk in the shoes of the poor' and experience life in a slum. In one simulated task, we used newspaper and glue - a mixture of water and flour - to make lots of paper bags. We sold the paper bags to vendors, who were actually our teachers. We even had to beg them to buy our paper bags, with the money to be used for our rent, food, education and medicine. All the money went to the charity.
We discussed what we had learned from the simulation and then did something unexpected - we ate lunch with our hands. It was the most unforgettable experience I've had!
The visit made us realise that it is not easy to earn a living. Poor people have a tough life. They have to do several jobs in their struggle for survival. We admire their perseverance as they toil away to make a living.
We are luckier than them as we have all the basic necessities of life. So we should cherish what we have. We should donate money, or do voluntary work to help the needy improve their lives.
Carmen Chan Yuen-yi (2E)