Mr Too, Distinguished Guests, Teachers, Parents and Students, It is always a pleasure for me to visit schools, to meet with students, teachers and parents. The joy is greater for me today coming to St Stephen's College to join in your celebration of the 100th anniversary. It is remarkable for a school to have survived and thrived over the course of a century. I am even happier when I witness just now the support the school enjoys from parents and alumni – their contribution will be vital to the continued success of the school; as well as the energy and enthusiasm of students and teachers alike. This may be an old school with a strong tradition but at the same time it is lively and forward-looking. The emphasis on the whole-person development of students, as opposed to placing sole importance on academic achievement, as well as the promotion of the use of information technology in teaching and learning, are a couple of examples of how the school is ready to move with the times to ensure that its students are well-equipped to face the challenges in life in whatever they will do.
Education indeed is never just about preparation for future work. While we would look forward to our students excelling in their chosen vocation, we also value the development of the potentials of the individuals and the enhancement of personal quality. Afterall, each student is unique and deserves his or her opportunity. At the same time, the process of education itself is equally important and something that one can actually enjoy. I cannot help but notice this philosophy being echoed in your college song. I have not heard the song but I have read the lyrics, part of which go like – we are prepared to work and play, to live good lives and to be true in everything we do or say... and life is a game that's made to play, with effort, teamwork, joy and tears... Although I would not claim to be familiar with the school songs of schools in Hong Kong, I do think the song reflects something special about your school, a certain positive spirit which people should appreciate.
We indeed encourage diversity in our school system - for schools to develop their own characteristics according to their strengths and background, which in turn would meet the needs of different students and provide parents with choice.
In this regard, I must say that St Stephen's College is privileged with an excellent environment, on top of its outstanding leaders over the years, for the pursuit of its education ideals. I wish more schools in Hong Kong could be like yours but of course there are physical constraints. In the case of your school, I hope you would continue to make the best use of your resources – the impressive facilities, the active participation of parents, the support of alumni, many of whom have made significant contribution to the society of Hong Kong and overseas, as well as a strong tradition of both academic achievement and whole person development of students – to get further ahead in the years to come. The game is certainly not yet over after a hundred years and I can see the baton being passed to future generations in what is probably a marathon relay race.