SOTY 2021: Grand Prize winner should adapt to the new normal while staying positive

  • This year’s winner should reflect creativity and resilience in the face of challenges, say the judges
  • Judging for the Student of the Year awards is already underway and winners will be announced next month
YP |

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Students have certainly faced a lot of adversity this year.

Judges are interested in nominees who’ve dealt with adversity in the past year for the Student of the Year Grand Prize award, which recognises a secondary student who has excelled in many areas.

“This year’s award will reflect adaptability, creativity and resilience in the face of challenges,” said Andy Ho Wing-cheong, one of the judges for this category and the Executive Director of The Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups.

The Student of the Year Awards have recognised the achievements of Hong Kong students for the past 40 years. It is organised by the South China Morning Post, and sponsored by The Hong Kong Jockey Club.

Take a look at last year’s Grand Prize winner

Including the Grand Prize, there are a total of 11 SOTY awards across nine categories. Judging is underway, and winners will be announced next month.

The other two judges for this category are SCMP editor-in-chief Tammy Tam and Dr Tsui Lap-chee, President of the Hong Kong Academy of Sciences.

Tsui said judges usually look at IQ (intelligence quotient) and EQ (emotional quotient). But this year, they will also judge AQ – how someone deal with adversity.

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Ho added that teens can still make inspiring achievements in tough situations, if they are well equipped.

“The pandemic has taught us we must be prepared for the future,” said Tsui.

Judges want students to show how they adapted to the new normal.

They also encouraged students to show a positive attitude. Despite difficult times, judges asked that students focus on the lessons and growth that can come from obstacles they face.

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“Assuming that out of every challenge comes an opportunity … is the best way to manage any challenging situation,” suggested Ho.

All nominees in this category have stellar achievements, so judges want students to show their character and personality during the personal interview.

“I would like to see humility, grace and even a sense of humour,” said Ho.

In closing, Ho added, “All SOTY nominees ... should continue to give of themselves in the next stage of their lives … not for an award, but because it matters. That is the mark of a good leader.”

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