Hong Kong - Everyone are born with innate abilities, whether he or she is from mainstream or special schools. It would be too reckless of us to judge students with special education needs (SEN) simply with the traditionally held standards and perceptions on academic achievements, or this would consequently result in the negligence of their efforts and potentials. Indeed, a little more encouragement and a bit less bias from the society would be good enough for SEN students to glow with their talents in their life-long path. The award ceremony of “Shell/Island JC Scholarship for the Disabled” (the Scholarship), jointly organised by Shell Hong Kong Limited, Junior Chamber International Island, Education Bureau, Hong Kong Special Schools Council and Social Welfare Department, was held at the Concourse Level of apm in Kwun Tong on October 27, with the objective of rewarding SEN students who had strived to overcome learning hardship and made remarkable achievements in their respective aspects, thereby empowering them to further pursue and develop their potential capabilities, and to contribute to the community in return.
Having awarded thousands of students and being renowned among schools, students, parents and even within the society, the Scholarship is stepping into its 37th year since the establishment in 1981, adhering to the advocacy of social acceptance and support to the SEN students as well as the realisation of an inclusive and harmonious community. This year, the Scholarship is still putting forward the “Diversified Potential Development Project”. With the theme of “Flying High with Sports”, it is anticipated the students could have diversified developments in sports; while public engagement is also largely welcomed to embrace a caring and inclusive culture in society.
In the award ceremony, officiating guests included Dr Choi Yuk-lin, the Under Secretary for Education, Mr Daniel Ng, Chairman of Shell Hong Kong Limited, Mr Ronald Cheng, President of Junior Chamber International Island, Ms Grace Chan, Assistant District Social Welfare Officer (Kwun Tong)1 of Social Welfare Department, Mr Michael Chung, Principal Inspector (Special Education Support 2) of Education Bureau, Ms Shum Siu-fong the Chairman of Hong Kong Special Schools Council and Ms Margaret Chung, the event ambassador. The occasion was a big hit and had captured wide attention with its specially arranged fancy rope skipping performance by students from Hong Chi Morninghill School and the freestyle football show by footballer Kenneth Law.
Dr Choi mentioned in her address that while the government had implemented policies to support quality special education, teachers’ sincere care, wholehearted nurture and patient teaching were also indispensable in helping SEN students develop their potential to the full. She gave special credits to the co-workers in special schools for their selfless dedication to SEN students which help them achieve their goals and lead a fruitful life.
Daniel pointed out, “Shell, being a globally leading-positioned energy company, has the mission to act out a sustainable future. Given the sports theme of the ‘Diversified Potential Development Project’ this year, not only will sports build up self-esteem of SEN students, but it can also act as their communication channel, fostering mutual understanding and respect among their companions.” He also urged the awardees to sustain the spirit of mutual acceptance and appreciation with their successful stories, hence giving an impetus to an inclusive and integrated community.
In the sharing session, Margaret, as mother of a daughter with rare genetic condition, said she shares the same feelings with parents of SEN students. She hopes everyone in the society will not look at SEN students with tinted glasses. Students will be given a healthy environment for growth if we can demonstrate more love and inclusion. Being a professional yoga instructor, she also stressed the importance of deep breathing exercises in relieving stress.
The venue was not only set up with game stalls hosted by TREATS, a local NGO, to promote the message of social care and sincerity, but there was also a Dynamic Zone for the public to show off their talents in endurance cycling and golf, learn Kendama tricks and get access to body checkups. Regardless of the SEN students, teachers, parents or the public, everyone was soaked in the laughter and joyful atmosphere, having fun taking part in the games and cheering up for each other.