Speech at the Presentation Ceremony for the SCMP Student of the Year Award
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I have been asked to speak on behalf of the panel of judges to explain a decision which, as the organiser has warned us beforehand, is extremely difficult to make.
2. All of the six finalists for the Student of the Year Award have an illustrious track record of both academic and non-academic achievements. All of them have gone through preliminary rounds of selection which only those with a breadth of knowledge and the ability to think on the feet can pass.
3. There is no question that each of the finalists is an outstanding student in his or her own right, and I congratulate their parents and schools for having raised such fine young persons.
4. David, Adolf and myself have the unenviable task of having to select the best from among the best. We struggled and the results are now in my hand.
5. You have watched the six finalists in action during the roundtable discussion. While you were enjoying the performances of the student awardees in the seven categories, we were interviewing each of the finalists in the back-stage to get to know them better in their capacity as a person, a citizen and a potential leader.
6. We look for evidence of creativity, analytical thinking, resilience, and initiative in the person. We look for public spirit and commitment in the citizen. We look for evidence of vision, confidence, and communication skills in the leader.
7. I would also like to share with you some observations on the background of these six finalists. They all play some form of music, are members of the school debating team or have taken part in the school Speech Festival, and have participated in a wide range of community services. There is no single sure-win formula of success, but these model students do provide a pathfinder on the way to success for every educator and parent to reflect on.
8. I thank the SCMP for organising the annual Student of the Year award and for inviting me to be one of judges this year. It is a delight to meet outstanding young students.
9. They re-affirm my belief that the best of our students today are better than before. They provide evidence of the strengths of our education system. They also reinforce my faith in the education reform which aims to nurture all-round individuals with breadth of knowledge, depth of thoughts, strength of character and the courage of one's conviction.
10. To parents, principals and teachers, I thank you for your unfailing efforts over the years in nurturing young leaders of tomorrow. To the six outstanding students, I congratulate on your achievements and wish you continued success in your future endeavours.