Dr LAM (Dr Peggy LAM Pei, School Supervisor of VSA), Dr KOONG (Dr Maggie KOONG, Head of VSA), Mr DOO, distinguished guests, principals, teachers, parents and students,
Good evening. I am most honoured to join you all today at Victoria Shanghai Academy (VSA)’s Graduation Ceremony 2021. On this memorable, solemn and joyous occasion, I join the Chief Secretary for Administration in congratulating all graduates on reaching a significant milestone in their learning journey. Graduation is a culmination of years of hard work, and a time to celebrate. I also congratulate the VSA on its remarkable success in pursuing excellence in nurturing high quality graduates.
Eight years ago, I attended the graduation ceremony in another capacity. I was filled with joy, excitement and gratitude. I witnessed first-hand, the transformative power of education, thanks to the visionary leadership of the school, the inspiring teachers and the caring school community. Since then, the VSA has gone from strength to strength. It has grown into a dynamic community of some 1,900 students, with passionate faculties recruited from 15 nationalities. It is also recognised as one of the top IB schools in the world.
With the lingering COVID-19 pandemic and amidst many fast-evolving changes globally and locally, the world has encountered unprecedented challenges in these two years. The graduating class is no exception. The past two years of IB Diploma Program are very challenging, but hopefully, memorable as well. Thanks to the commitment of the teachers and parents, and the resilience and hard work of students, learning has never stopped due to the suspension of face-to-face classes. You are undaunted by challenges. Indeed, we should not see challenges as disadvantages; we should embrace them as opportunities. COVID-19 revolutionizes the way we operate, and we are now in a “New Normal”. History tells us that tough time never lasts; tough people do. And opportunities always go to those who are well-prepared. Life-long learning is one of the keys to unlock the opportunities.
You are all blessed with the rich array of learning opportunities in VSA. Throughout the years, VSA has spared no effort to provide a broad array of educational experiences, both locally and globally, for students. Through these experiences, students develop a global outlook, the readiness to embrace multi-cultural diversity, and a sense of social responsibility. To this end, I would like to express my warmest gratitude to the school management, principal and teachers.
You are also blessed to live in Hong Kong, an international city where the East meets the West. It is also a place that attaches great importance to education. As the Chief Secretary for Administration mentions, one out of every five dollars of Government spending goes to education. Opportunities abound as the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area continues to scale new heights with innovation and technology as the growth engine.
Dear graduates, graduation marks the achievement of a milestone and the beginning of a new chapter. You will be the master of your new journey in unchartered waters. Someone describes the world as a world of VUCA – Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity. Forge ahead with the VSA spirit, i.e. Value, Strive and Act.
Value provides the anchor amidst the storm; it is also the rudder that guides your direction. Value yourselves and value others. Let good and positive values, such as integrity, respect, responsibility, love, law-abindingness be your guide in decision making.
Secondly, Strive to be the best. VSA has provided you an excellent training ground. And I congratulate the two students who have received the Hong Kong Island Outstanding Students Award 2020, and another two having been awarded the Sir Edward Youde Memorial Prizes amid extremely keen competition.
Finally, Act to build a better world, a better Hong Kong. VSA’s mission echoes well with the Government’s vision to nurture the future generations into quality citizens who are socially responsible and equipped with a sense of national identity, a love for Hong Kong and an international perspective. To achieve this ambitious goal, we need the concerted efforts of schools, teachers, parents and their friends and families to join hands. Students can also do their part. For instance, you can get fully vaccinated and encourage others to do so. Together we can build a protective shield for ourselves, our family and the Hong Kong community and our world. Higher vaccination rate will help boost Hong Kong’s economic recovery and speed up our resumption to “normality”.
As an old saying goes, “It takes a village to raise a child”. Indeed, parents and schools play a vital role in the growth and learning of their children. Through enhancing home-school co-operation, parents and teachers together could nurture children to grow up healthily and happily. To promote parent education and home-school co-operation, starting from the 2019/20 school year, we increased recurrent funding by about HK$30 million annually so that additional resources can be provided to Federations of Parent-Teacher Associations and Parent-Teacher Associations of schools for organising more community-based and school-based parent education programmes or activities. We have also launched Positive Parenting Campaign. Here, I would like to pay tribute to the VSA PTA and parents for their valuable contribution to the school over the years.
On a final note, I would like to thank VSA once again for your all-in efforts in nurturing future talents for a stable and prosperous Hong Kong. I wish VSA continued success in the many years ahead, our graduates today all the best in their life journey and all of you good health and happiness. Thank you.