Speech by Mrs Marion LAI CHAN Chi-kuen, JP
Permanent Secretary for Education
at the 110th Anniversary Celebration Dinner of
St Stephen’s Girls' College
on 18 December 2016
Rev. Canon KOON (the Supervisor), Mrs Rita FAN, Ms CHAU (the Principal), distinguished guests, alumni, parents, teachers, fellow St Stephenies, ladies and gentlemen,
It is truly exciting to be here to celebrate the 110th Anniversary of our school. To me, this is very much a home coming. I am a St Stephenie and I always will be. Just now when we sang the school hymn, the lyrics “the loving heart, the helpful word, the tender thought, the kindly deed” brought back all the fond memories of my days at St Stephen’s. I truly cherish the memory of every moment of my days in St. Stephen’s, particularly those spent at the historical monument at Lyttelton Road. I am proud of being a St Stephenie.
2. Tonight, I am very happy to see all the familiar faces. In particular, I am pleased to have the chance to see my teachers of the old days on this memorable occasion of my alma mater, who have given me the strength, and firm grounding for a most fulfilling education. As the Permanent Secretary of the Education Bureau, I strongly believe that teaching is an honorable profession and we must pay tribute to all our teachers. They understand our dreams, hopes and fears and guide us in the quest of knowledge and wisdom. Under their guidance, St Stephen’s offers our students the best possible education by helping us lay a solid foundation for learning to enable us to lead a fruitful life and to achieve excellence. In St Stephen’s, every student is a prized individual. The school gives students room for development in ways commensurate with the student’s character, interest and ability. Emphasis is accorded to balanced growth, ie, balance between academic study and extra curricular activities, between the study and use of English and Chinese, and between spiritual / intellectual and physical pursuit. In such an inspiring learning environment, students are motivated to excel. This balanced approach to education has helped to put my fellow classmates and myself where we are today, and I hope this fine tradition will be maintained. Our alumni contribute in various capacities in a wide spectrum of roles in the community. Some of them hold important positions in society with their work bearing great impact on Hong Kong, our nation and the wider world. Our Guest-of-honour today, Mrs Rita FAN, is a good example.
3. Yet, St Stephen’s never rests on its laurels. Over the years, our school has strived to strengthen the quality of teaching and learning so as to support our students in facing the challenges and opportunities brought about by technological advancement and globalization. Nowadays St Stephenies can enjoy more learning opportunities beyond the classroom. For example, St Stephen’s is among the first batch of schools joining the Education Bureau’s Enhancement of Wi-Fi Infrastructure (Wifi900) scheme to promote e-learning within the school campus. The Global Experience Programme also allows students to have wider exposure through interaction with members of the local and international community. On top of these, our school provides ample opportunities for students to serve the needy. A number of service groups have been established to instill in our students a commitment to serve. St Stephenies are indeed blessed and privileged to have all these valuable learning experiences.
4. I also dare to say St Stephen’s is not just a school to our students but also a joyful family in which we pursue our dreams together. Our strong sense of belonging to the school bonds us together no matter where we are. I know that the alumni do show great support to the alma mater in different aspects. Tonight’s celebration dinner is an example of the contributions of the Alumni Association. The alumni also render tremendous support in the Mentorship Programme. The Programme has not only connected the past and present St Stephenies, but also given students the opportunities to broaden their horizons and acquire a deeper understanding of various career options. With the benefit of the holistic career and life planning support provided by the Programme and with the guidance of teachers, I am sure St Stephenies will continue to excel in different professions.
5. I would also like to take this opportunity to express my deepest gratitude to the Council, the management and staff of the College for their dedicated efforts in offering all-round and quality education to students over the last 110 years. My sincere thanks also go to the parents who have been working in close partnership with the school and giving their love and support to their children.
6. With its rich tradition and culture, I am confident that St Stephenies will carry on the Christian ethos, ‘to serve and not to be served’, render services to God and the community, and put the school motto ‘In Faith Go Forward’ into action. On the happy 110th anniversary of the school, I wish my alma mater continued success in nurturing coming generations of students to help them realise their potential, and become responsible and contributing members of the community. Thank you!