Principal’s Speech for Graduation Ceremony 2009-2010

Principal’s Speech for Graduation Ceremony 2009-2010
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Dear Dr. Tommis, honourable guests, parents, colleagues and students,

I convey to you the warmest welcome on behalf of the school.

Like previous years I am going to highlight some of the developments of the school within this limited time.  You can refer to the annual report for details of the work of the school.  I am sure that seeing all of this you would like to congratulate staff and students for their hard work and the plentiful achievements.

This year the school is opening up a new chapter in her history.  We have passed our 25th anniversary and we are moving forward with the reaffirmed vision of “Learn to love, love to learn”.  For the whole of Hong Kong, this is the first year that the 6-year secondary school system and the New Senior Secondary (NSS) curriculum are being implemented.  The challenges ahead are great indeed.

We are embarking with our NSS curriculum framework that extends the tradition and strengths of the school, and that can respond to the interests and opinions of students and parents.  This year our Form 4 students are taking 3 electives and an Other Learning Experience (OLE) programme together with a core curriculum comprising the two languages, mathematics and Liberal Studies.  With 3 electives students are able to focus on a special disciplinary area and at the same time to extend their horizons.  There are 34 combinations of electives from which students can choose.  Our OLE curriculum enables all students to have exposure to music, visual arts, drama, physical education, moral and civic education, social service and career education.

Liberal studies has long been a strength of the school since this subject was implemented at AS level in the early 90s.  We are at present taking the role of a Professional Development School (PDS) engaging in professional sharing on Liberal Studies with schools in Hong Kong, and that of a District Network Center for schools in this part of the New Territories.  A 3-year Quality Education Fund (QEF) project is also underway, focusing on the Independent Enquiries Studies (IES).

Our junior secondary curriculum has gone through remarkable school-based developments for many years.  This, together with the NSS curriculum, is now providing a wholistic curriculum of secondary education to meet the needs of the future.

Education is more than imparting knowledge and developing thinking and working skills.  It plays an important role in the building of character of a person.  As a Christian school we have the vision of nurturing Christian faith and values.  In recent years a Life Education curriculum was developed with resource support from the Methodist Church.  We are now fully implementing the curriculum and also disseminating our experience among other schools of the Sponsoring Body.  Our goal is that our students will acquire the values and life skills essential to live and to serve in tomorrow’s world.

Ever since the beginning of comprehensive education the challenge of meeting individual differences has prevailed.  With the introduction of inclusive education and the blurring of band divisions, the call to cater for students’ diversified needs is never as urgent as at this moment.  In this school, there have been many changes in curriculum design and pedagogies responding to the situation.  Strategies of special groupings and small group teaching are employed in Languages, Mathematics and  other subject areas to cater for the full range of needs.  Many teachers use their spare time to organize make-up lessons and tutorials, and also to take care of individual students.  I should give my heartfelt appreciation to every one of them for their professional dedication.  We also thank the alumni and the PTA for participating in the after-school tutorial classes.  In view of the increasing number of students with special educational needs(SEN), an SEN team was formed this school year.

Our school has been keeping a strong emphasis on Gifted Education since we joined the Cluster Schools for Gifted Education of the Curriculum Development Institute at the turn of the millennium.  Taking as our reference the Renzulli Model of Talent Pool, all students can benefit from a curriculum enriched with elements of gifted education.  Those gifted students are provided with programmes for stretching their potential.  These after-school courses cover languages, mathematics, science and other areas.  In recent years, many subject panels and committees have also organized various ambassador schemes that foster opportunities for leadership training.  Our particularly gifted students are encouraged to join outside programmes provided by universities and institutes, and to take part in competitions, visits and conferences at local, national and international levels.  To mention a few held this year: 3 Excursions were organized for separate groups of student leaders to Sichuan Province to help in the earthquake rehabilitation work; a group of students gifted in English Language took part in the Think Series Video Competition 2010, organized by the English Speaking Union of Hong Kong.  Their talents were proven by the awards won.  Another group of student leaders participated in the Model United Nations Conference held in Singapore, an occasion on which their potential was matched with students from the Asia-Pacific region.  You can refer to the school report to see the whole range of achievements by these outstanding students.

We have also been the beneficiaries of gifted education programmes provided by various outside institutes.  Among them, the Hong Kong Academy of Gifted Education has been our close partner since its foundation.  Tonight we have the privilege of having their Director, Dr. Stephen Tommis, to be our guest of honour.  Dr. Tommis is the founding director of the Academy and is internationally recognized for his outstanding work in gifted education.  It is our great honour to have this distinguished guest with us to address the audience and to present the prizes.  I think you will be pleased to know that at this moment we have several students successfully enrolled in the programmes of the Academy.  Colleagues might already know that I also have opportunities to work with the Academy on some of its committees.  I am looking forward to extending the tie between the Academy and the school.

Last September and October, the school completed a new round of the External School Review (ESR).  The following aspects were highly rated by the ESR Team : management and organization, medium of instruction, critical mass of outstanding teachers, guidance and support, students’ academic and non-academic achievements, leadership, and participation of parents.  Though the school is still following up with the EDB on the writing of the final report, substantial improvement initiatives are underway with reference to the drafted version of the report.

The school would like to thank the School Management Committee for its contributions in the governance.  This year under the supervisorship of Rev. Yuen, long strides have been made in the school’s development.  Some significant ones include the restructuring of the school management and administration, raising resources to meet the manpower needs for NSS, and planning for further developments of the school premises.  However, I have to inform you that Rev. Yuen will be leaving the school supervisor’s position in the coming school year, because of work arrangements of the Sponsoring Body.  We are indebted to Rev. Yuen for his leadership and guidance to the school.  May I express our thanks and best wishes to him on behalf of the school.

To end my speech, I am going to give my affirmation to our graduates.  You are among the best students in the world.  God has put in each one of you the talents and potential to be outstanding in your further studies and future careers, to serve Him and people around you.  I would like to give my encouragement to every one of you by quoting the aspiring verse from Li Sao written by the poet Qu Yuan : “The road ahead is long and with no ending; yet I will seek with my will unbending” (「路漫漫其修遠兮,吾將上下而求索」屈原Ÿ離騒).  May the Lord keep and guide you.

My prayer that God’s blessings be with every one of you here tonight!