Ocean Park today hosted an award presentation ceremony for the “Best Endeavour” and “I’m with You” Award Schemes, organized in collaboration with the Committee on Home-School Co-operation (CHSC) and the Department of Social Work and Social Administration, University of Hong Kong (HKU). Over 6,800 students, from more than 600 schools, and 17 parents were given the “Best Endeavour” and “I’m with You” Awards respectively, with about 300 students, parents and school representatives present to witness the occasion. At today’s ceremony, the Park also announced a summer discount offer for this year’s Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education Examination (HKDSE) candidates as they await the release of their examination results.
Attending the ceremony today were the Honourable Mrs. Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, GBS, JP, Chief Secretary for Administration; Mr. Henry Tong, Chairman of the Committee on Home-School Co-operation; Professor Paul Yip, Department of Social Work and Social Administration, University of Hong Kong; Mr. Leo Kung, Chairman of Ocean Park; Mr. Lau Ming-wai, Vice Chairman of Ocean Park; Mr. Tom Mehrmann, Chief Executive of Ocean Park and artiste Ms. Grace Chan.
Launched in mid-March, the “Best Endeavour” Award Scheme aims to encourage students to develop their potential in multiple aspects and recognise students with significant improvement in all areas of endeavours, not limited to academic performance, during the 2014/15 school year; while the “I’m with You” Award Scheme offers accolades to parents who have achieved remarkably in nurturing their children or supporting schools in bettering the education of students. Both award schemes attracted overwhelming responses, receiving close to 10,000 nominations from over 600 schools.
Speaking at the ceremony, Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, Chief Secretary for Administration, said, “Unlike other academic accolades, the ‘Best Endeavour’ Award also recognises achievements in non-academic areas to encourage students to unleash their diverse talents. The ‘I’m with You’ Award, on the other hand, pays tribute to parents who made remarkable contributions in nurturing their children or supporting schools in bettering the education of students. Selected from nearly 600 outstanding parents nominated by schools, the 17 winning parents are most deserving for the honour. I would like to thank the three organizers for devoting valuable time and effort in presenting these meaningful award schemes, and particular to Ocean Park for donating admission tickets to winning parents and students so they can enjoy a fun day with their family.”
Leo Kung, Chairman of Ocean Park, said, “The future of our society lies with the younger generation. We are delighted to collaborate with CHSC and HKU to offer accolades to parents who have been making contributions to raising their children, as well as to recognise students who have devoted constant efforts in making significant improvement. During the selection process, we came across dozens of touching stories of parents. Their hard earned success truly deserves recognition. As Hong Kong People’s Park, we are happy to give out more than 14,000 tickets and 60 SmartFun Annual Passes to the awardees so they can enjoy a fun and educational park experience with their family.”
Henry Tong, Chairman of the Committee on Home-school Co-operation, said, “The stories of the awardees show that parent-school cooperation is essential to children's growth and development. The efforts paid by parents, no matter whether they were awarded, merit our praise.”
Professor Paul Yip, Department of Social Work and Social Administration, University of Hong Kong, said, “Achievements made by a student should not be measured solely by academic performance. Students who have shown significant progress in other aspects, such as sports, arts and their conduct, also deserve appreciation. It is encouraging to learn about their positive development, which I believe will continue to drive them to fulfil their full potential in future.”
Two parents were invited to share tips on how they worked closely with schools to coach their children. Wong To, one of the awardees, talked about how she took good care of her son, who has been diagnosed with autism. With Ms. Wong’s support, her son has been achieving top grades at school. She also involves him in volunteer work. Ms. Wong said, “I appreciate the school’s support in addressing my son’s special learning needs. I have been working closely with the school to offer him the best learning environment. During our leisure time, we always take part in community services, including visiting the homeless, residents living in subdivided flats and the elderly in Sham Shui Po. Participation in volunteer services not only teaches him not to take things for granted, but also offers him a great sense of satisfaction. This year, he has taken on more responsibility by leading a group of younger volunteers after he finished the public examination.”
Lee Shuk-fan, another “I’m with You” awardee, shared her story of nurturing her son’s talent in playing the piano. At the age of five, his son took part in an international piano contest and won first runner-up, despite being the youngest in his group. The boy was named as a “charitable piano prodigy”, as he has been taught by his mother to donate money earned from his piano performances to charitable organizations. To further reach out to the needy, they decided to put out an album at the end of this year to raise funds for charities. Ms. Lee said, “I hope my son will learn to make good use of his talents to help those in need. Although he is gifted, I do not give him too much pressure. Instead, I will let him choose his own path and hope that he can have a balanced development. For example, my son is a nature-lover so we usually spend our weekends farming in Sai Kung. I believe that having a happy childhood is the key to children’s healthy development.” Ms. Lee added, “I am honoured to receive the ‘I’m with You’ Award. My son loves nature and we often visit Ocean Park. With the SmartFun Annual Passes we get, I will take him to Ocean Park more often to learn about wildlife conservation together.”
Besides the award-winning parents, two students recognized with the “Best Endeavour” award also went on stage with their nominating teachers to tell their stories. Wong Wing-kei, a primary six student from Pentecostal Yu Leung Fat Primary School, loves reading very much, especially books on philosophical topics. She was nominated by her teacher because she lifted her classmates’ interest in reading. Wong said, “At first, I thought philosophy was very difficult to understand, but later, I found the books very inspiring as they taught me how to analyse problems from different perspectives. I would recommend books I like to my classmates and we would even go to the library to borrow books together!” Another awardee, Yang Yuan-yuan, is a secondary four student in Fukien Secondary School. When she moved to Hong Kong in 2011, her school used English as medium of instruction for most of the subjects. She admitted that she could not understand her teacher half the time and so, her teacher suggested her to repeat for a year. Aiming at improving her English proficiency , she would spend two to three hours after finishing homework every day to review what she learnt from class, read English newspapers, learn new vocabulary and take notes. Gradually, she was able to catch up in class. After adjusting to new learning approach , she actively participated in school activities and became a school prefect. Recently, she even volunteered to be the head prefect for the coming academic year in serving for her school.
In addition to offering accolades to students and parents, Ocean Park will also launch a special offer to this year’s HKDSE candidates. From 11 to 15 July, HKDSE students can enjoy 20% off Ocean Park admission tickets upon presenting their identity card and an original copy of their HKDSE admission form at the Ticketing Office at the Park’s Main Entrance. Leo Kung said, “We hope students can relax and have fun at the Park and enjoy our Summer Splash event before the release of their examination results on 15 July. We would also like to reward them for their hard work and join them in welcoming an important milestone in life.”