Seven outstanding young people show why they beat out 280 other contestants Finalists in the South China Morning Post Student of the Year Awards showcased their debating skills at the finals yesterday, while winners of the seven categories in the awards received huge applause for their talents. The event started with a 30-minute debate, in which the six finalists argued whether local schools should choose their medium of instruction. One side argued schools should be given a certain degree of freedom to pick what was best for them, while the others claimed uniformity was more important. Speaking after the event at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, Student of the Year Award runner-up Candice Mok Chi-yan, from St Paul's Convent School, said she had learnt a lot from the competition, including how to debate on stage and deal with being interviewed. 'It's the interactive skills [I've learnt], such as when not to speak and when to speak, and how to articulate your own view in the proper words,' the arts student explained. Candice said she found the experience of debating with such outstanding students in front of a large audience life-altering. 'It's life-changing actually because I really see the difference between different students with different abilities and I see how I have to develop myself more, because there are so many great students out there,' she said. Candice intends to study law at the University of Hong Kong next year and hopes to be a journalist one day. In addition to the debate, a piano recital was given by the Student Musician Award winner, Wong Mun-tzung, and a dance was performed by Student Dancer winner Kwong Lai-ping, both of whom gained warm rounds of applause as well. And Student Linguist Bryan Alexander Kam Tsun-hon stunned the audience by demonstrating his fluency in six languages. The contest, now in its 31st year, attracted more than 280 candidates for seven award categories: student of the year, best improvement, dance, languages, sports, computer science, music and visual arts. The sponsors include Microsoft Hong Kong, Hong Kong Arts Centre, Canon Hong Kong, Venture Language Training, Tom Lee Music, Reebok Hong Kong, Ocean Park, Hong Kong Dance Company and Wall Street Institute.