SOTY 2015: It's all about the journey


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The Student of the Year competition is open to all senior-secondary students. In fact, we're accepting more nominations (two per category per school) this year in order to celebrate the hard work of more students. It's a common misconception that the Student of the Year Awards are only for elite schools, but that isn't the case.

For many of the students, being nominated for Student of the Year shows that their hard work has been recognised by their peers, teachers and schools. The nomination is both an honour and an opportunity for students to learn.

"I want to let our students explore the world outside, to meet more talented people, and then they can know where they stand," says Calepodius S.K. Poon, principal of Cheung Sha Wan Secondary School.

Poon believes that the competition can help students develop confidence in their skills. "Before Chan Pang-wong knew he had won [the Student of the Year Linguist (Putonghua)], I asked him if he had confidence in winning, and he said the chance for him to win was very slim because he found his fellow nominees to be very good. He enjoyed the process, the competition and the interview. He enjoyed the many activities involved," says Poon.

Dr Kai Sze-fai, principal of STFA Yung Yao College.
Photo: Frankie Tsang/SCMP


"Students learn presentation skills: for example, how to respond to judges' questions. The process allows them to share their strengths and the fruits of their labour with others," adds Dr Kai Sze-fai, principal of Shun Tak Fraternal Association Yung Yau College.

Although SOTY is a competition, what is most important about the whole process is that students are given a platform to showcase their talents.

"The competition is great as it brings people of all sectors together to recognise and praise students for their hard work. It allows them to feel honoured and proud of what they have achieved," says Kai.

"Students do not participate in competitions just for the award. They do so to meet like-minded peers and learn from each other. They can also explore the depths of their own talent, and figure out how to incorporate that into their lives," adds Hairo Wan Ho-yin, principal of Yuen Long Lutheran Secondary School.

Kai goes on to stress that the competition shows that each school can have outstanding students to represent them, and that students, irrespective of their school, have equal opportunity to win.

"The award is recognition for both the student and the school, because it was the first time we entered, and we ended up having a student win a category," he says.

“Through research and preparation for my ‘Celebrating Hong Kong’ speech, I gained a lot of new insights into Hong Kong. Practising it in front of my friends and parents also improved my public speaking skills.”

Jenny Zheng, St Paul’s Co-educational College, Student of the Year Linguist (Putonghua) 2013

“I was very happy and  honoured to receive the award as I was competing with some of the best student athletes in Hong Kong. It shows that all my hard work over the years has paid off. I hope this award can motivate and encourage me to continue in the pool and in the classroom.”

Siobhan Haughey, St Paul’s Secondary School, Student of the Year Sportsperson 2013

“This competition has given me a chance to meet the other amazing 19 finalists, and hopefully we can get together and create some change very soon.” 
 Lai Yuet-chi, Yan Chi Tong Tin Ka Ping Secondary School, Student of the Year Community Contributor 2013

“I felt a great sense of acceptance. Getting this award means that my works are approved of and appreciated by others. This will encourage me to work extra hard in the future.”
Wan Wai-lam, STFA Yung Yau College, Student of the Year Visual  Artist Second Runner-up 2014

“There were students from international schools and elite schools. Some were passionate musicians, others were strong debaters and had extraordinary talent in language. Meeting students with such diverse interests expanded my horizons.”

Harry Tam Pok-man, Sing Yin Secondary School, Student of the Year Grand Prize 2013