Have you got what it takes to win?

By Young Wang

With HK$165,000 in scholarships up for grabs, the best and brightest secondary students in Hong Kong are ready to battle for the top awards

By Young Wang |

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Jenny Zheng, Li Yu-Chim, Ashley Chung, Lai Yuet-Chi, Tam Pok-man, Janice Tse, and Siobhan Haughey proudly display their Student of the Year awards at the Kowloon Shangri-La in TST.

The prestigious South China Morning Post Student of the Year competition is back! The 34th awards event will celebrate the achievements of Hong Kong's top secondary school students.

The Young Post team take pride in all that is great in the city, including our students - that means you!

This year's competition will reward nine Form Four to Form Six students in seven different categories: community contributor, linguist, performing artist, visual artist, sportsperson, scientist and mathematician, and the grand prize. The winners will be announced next February and share a total scholarship grant of HK$165,000.

"We are looking for the best-of-the-best," says Young Post editor Susan Ramsay.

Having run for 32 consecutive years from 1974 to 2006, the competition was resumed last year to involve students in celebration of SCMP's 110th anniversary.

South China Morning Post was always looking for a good occasion to bring the awards back, and last year proved to be perfect timing.

"Young Post goes to secondary schools; it is the leading English newspaper for Hong Kong teenagers. These awards are right in our readership, so they are a perfect match for us," says Ramsay. "We know how hard Hong Kong students work, how much effort they put into getting good results, be it on the sports field, as a volunteer or in the classroom. It's an honour to be part of that and to celebrate their brilliance with the rest of Hong Kong."

The award ceremony in March featured plenty of important people in the audience, including Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, CEO of The Hong Kong Jockey Club, Jay Walder, CEO of MTR corp, and district councillor Paul Zimmerman. "I really enjoyed the looks on their faces when the winners gave their acceptance speeches and they realised the calibre of student in Hong Kong - they were amazed," said Ramsay about her favourite moment from last year's competition. "That was extremely rewarding for me … I enjoyed the fact that they at last had this moment when they realised how brilliant the students were."

The joint Scientist and Mathematician award is a new category this year. Ramsay said she is really looking forward to meeting the best students in that field and seeing them recognised by Young Post and the Student of the Year Awards.

In the coming months, you'll hear all about the exciting awards. Past winners will tell you how the awards helped them and what they've been doing since. Judges will also tell you what winning qualities they're looking for.

Everything you need to know about the Student of the Year awards:

First awards took place: 1974

Background: Designed to celebrate talented secondary school students in Hong Kong, the SOTY awards focus on those who excel in arts, academics, sports, and community service.

Past winners: Swimmer and artist Alex Fong Lik-sun; Morgan Stanley associate Jolie Chow Mei-kwan; and barrister Hugh Alexander Kam Tsun-ting have all taken home Student of the Year scholarships.

How to participate: Candidates in every category are high-achieving students who have been nominated by their school teachers. The participants then proceed through a series of rounds, such as essay writing and interviews. Three finalists in each category are selected, and the winners are announced at the ceremony.

Prizes: The grand winner receives a HK$25,000 scholarship; first and second runners-up receive HK$8,000 and HK$4,000 scholarships, respectively.

Winners in other categories each receive a HK$10,000 grant; first and second runners-up receive HK$4,000 and HK$2,000, respectively.

Join us in celebrating the excellence of the city's students by nominating them for this meaningful award.

For details, go to the Student of the Year website.