In September 2020, I told the Class of 2020 how it had been a roller-coaster year for them on their Speech Day, postponed time and again. Little did I know that the roller-coaster journey would have gone on and on. I think the true test is that no one knows when this will end.
Some years later we would all be able to look back at this point in time, with very different feelings from now -- we might even be very thankful that we have gone through such experiences which make us become more adaptive and creative in facing unpredictable situations and overcoming difficulties.
At the beginning of the school year, we were not totally unprepared for the need to adapt to a new mode of learning and teaching. We knew that in order for us to go on with school, we needed to be creative and innovative in the way we handle things, in conducting lessons and extra-curricular activities.
We have found our way and vacillated between online and face-to-face classes. We had to revise our timetables and release our calendar of events one month at a time. We had carried on with our school programmes via live streaming or pre-recorded online programmes. Our school orchestras, drama teams, debating teams, singers and dancers were able to demonstrate their talents in a very different mode from before. Having to stage their performances at home instead of in the school hall, our students have learnt to produce quality video clips and sound files online, with their own brilliant editing efforts and those of our dedicated AV technician. We were able to carry out our new students’ Orientation Programme, School Opening, Christmas Programme, Chinese New Year Programme, seasonal prayer services, parents’ meetings, careers programmes and mentorship programmes, Speech Day etc.
We might not have been able to have cross-border or overseas exchange programmes, but we maintained contact with our sister schools, in the Mainland and in Scotland, via online modes. We gave each other encouragement in the pandemic situation wherever they were in different parts of the world. Our STEM teams carried on with their research efforts, competed with teams from other parts of the world and won international competitions. When facing constraints, our students show their creativity and this becomes a new driving force for them to surge ahead. In short, we are not deterred by the difficulties we have to face.
If I am to rate our No. 1 achievement, I would definitely state that we at Maryknoll have continued to serve. “As one lamp lights another, nor grows less.” Many of our classes went on with their service projects. Instead of cleaning beaches, preparing food in kitchens run by NGOs, or visiting homes for the aged, our students were able to conduct online tutorial sessions for local primary school students and teach English to children as far as in Myanmar. Our Religious and Moral Education Committee also organised donation drives for the needy both locally and abroad. We filled cartons with noodles, rice and canned food to be sent to the underprivileged in different areas around Hong Kong, and collected books, stationery and musical instruments for students in South Sudan. Social distancing might have kept people apart but our determination to serve remains stronger than ever.
Having gone through challenging experiences and adversities enables us to be all the more adaptive and creative. Keeping our spirit of service alive, we continue with the lighting of the lamps, to show how “nobleness enkindles nobleness”.