The South China Morning Post Student of the Year Awards celebrate their silver jubilee this year. Having notched up 25 years of helping promising pupils get scholarships, the awards are one of the highlights of the academic year. From this month, secondary school principals can nominate pupils for the awards programme which seeks out students with excellent academic, sporting or artistic achievements who have strong links to the community. Shortlists are drawn up by the judges and the final choices are made after written tests, interviews and auditions. When the scholarships were launched, there was just one award - for the Student of the Year. Since then the scheme has flourished and now eight categories are offered every year. As well as the overall prize, the other categories are: Best Improvement, Student Dancer, Student Linguist, Student Musician, Student Programmer, Student Sportsperson and Student Visual Artist. The Student of the Year is selected from pupils in Form Six and Form Seven. The other categories are open to pupils in Form Four and up. The Post's assistant general manager, Sally Chow, said: 'We were asked to introduce some of the awards. 'For example, the introduction of the Student Visual Artist was requested by the Arts Development Council and the council is on the judging panel for that award.' Raymond Young Lap-moon, Deputy Secretary for Education and Manpower, said the guiding principle behind the awards was a noble one. 'The awards include various kinds of categories which can encourage students to develop in many aspects,' he said.