Memorial fund benefits 103 pupils
Scholarships worth $250,000 were awarded yesterday to 103 high school students from the Nicola Myers and Kenneth McBride Memorial Fund.
David James, principal of Island School where the annual presentation of scholarships was held, said the fund - named after two pupils murdered on Braemar Hill in 1985 - helped to keep in school promising youngsters who might otherwise have had to join the workforce.
'They're good kids, hard working kids,' Mr James said.
'But often their families are quite hard up. The scholarships help to buy their lunches, it buys their minibus fares and it helps buy their textbooks. All of them are hoping to go on to university and further education.'
The memorial fund is financed by donations and proceeds of the Island School Fair and has so far helped more than 2,000 students stay at school and continue their Form Six education.
Mr James said the fund this year received 175 applications for assistance. The number had been increasing since the onset of the economic downturn in 1998. 'Over the last five years we've noticed that there has been an increase in that element in Hong Kong that is really struggling to keep their children at school. There is some real hardship out there,' he said.
One of the Braemar Hill murderers, Won Sam-lung, was freed in September after serving 19 years behind bars for the crime. Mr Won, who was 16 at the time of the attack and was the youngest of the five youths and young men convicted of the murders, was released on the recommendation of the Long Term Prison Sentences Review Board after having served two-thirds of his 27-year sentence.
He has since offered his apologies for the crime, the violence of which stunned Hong Kong.