2017 Reflecting and looking ahead
Mrs Grace Ng (GEF)
The GEF board has recently resolved to move ahead positively over the next five years, following a reflection on progress made in achieving its original vision after two decades and after five rounds of implementing the Star Bright Scholarship Awards launched in 2010. What the GEF has achieved over the last 2 decades: When the GEF was first set up in 1994 by founders that included an illustrious group of senior government officials, educators, professionals and corporate supporters, it espoused the bold vision to raise awareness of and encourage more progressive policy and practices in gifted education in Hong Kong. The GEF achieved one of these original objectives through the successful bidding for and hosting of the 11th international conference on gifted education in Hong Kong for the first time in 1995. This conference stimulated a number of new policies, development and training initiatives that were subsequently implemented by the government, NGOs and support from major donors. The GEF became less active in the early 2000s because of major changes in key board members and the passing of one of the original founders the late Dr Raymond Wu in 2006. Revival with a new focus: The GEF was revitalized in 2009 with a new board, initially under the leadership of Dr Li Yuet Ting and since 2014, under the leadership of the Hon Mr Ma Fung Kwok, SBS, JP. After an appraisal of the environment in 2009 and the GEF’s own capacity, the GEF put aside one of its original objectives to promote gifted education through undertaking direct training as noted in its original M&AA, because there are already other training institutions established to provide such training. The new GEF board sought instead to influence the culture and practices of those involved in gifted education by engaging schools, students and their parents in a new initiative. In 2010-11, the GEF established the “Star Bright" Scholarship Awards. This is an award with a difference. The GEF board was keen to ensure the scholarship scheme is more than just a financial award. Special elements were being introduced into this Star Bright Award by putting emphasis on: expanding the horizons of the participants; encouraging attitude changes by mobilizing participation of as many schools as possible; engaging awardees in life planning, undertaking purposeful visits and activities and matching mentors. The Star Bright award targets senior primary students, with academic and/or other talents, from grass root families. Gaining momentum: By 2016, we have completed five rounds of the annual Star Bright Scholarship Awards. In the first year, 55 schools nominated a total of 95 students; and in 2016, 95 schools nominated 161 students. A total of 697 nominations have been considered so far. Resource wise, the GEF has operated almost like the miracle of “five loafs and two fishes”. The GEF started with a financial reserve of around $350,000 in 2010, and to date, it has awarded a total of $786,000 in scholarships. This “miracle” has been made possible mainly through: (a) the generous support of partner organisations such as the Kowloon West Rotary Club and the Paediatric Foundation Trust; (b) donations in cash or in kind by an expanding circle of small donors; and (c) with GEF operating almost entirely on volunteer inputs and sponsoring schools. The GEF has achieved steady progress throughout the last five years: the GEF has gained tax exemption charity status in 2015; and the Star Bright Award initiative have developed a smooth and well-functioning process ranging from publicity, inviting nominations, shortlisting, selection interviews, award presentation, and media engagement. The student reports provided anecdotal evidence of the personal transformation occurring amongst the awardees. Looking ahead: With five years of operational experience gained from the Star Bright Scholarship Awards and the recent addition of new board members, the Board is ready to scale up the operation; for instance: (a) designing more consistent and systematic ways to track changes amongst the awardees following receipt of the award and participation in various activities; (b) undertaking more systematic evaluation; (c) exploring the possibility to expand the awards and follow-up into secondary schools; (d) growing the support, donor and membership base; and (d) developing and strengthening the mentorship schemes. We believe will be made possible with your continued support.
2014 閃耀之星 頒獎禮 主禮嘉賓 鄭嘉豪先生 MH 講辭
我小時候有個夢想，就是衝上太空，探索宇宙星河奧妙。今天我非常高興，我終於夢想成真！為何？全因為你們！感謝你們每一位「閃耀之星」，讓我置身於「星河」之中。 星星同學你地好！星星嘉賓你地好！細星星同學可以稱呼我做家豪哥哥。我以前是一個武術運動員，今天是一個從事商業項目發展的轉型退役運動員。運動帶給我好多好處，不單給我健康的體魄，更給我機會學習自我檢視、修正及提升的心態和技巧，及學會「永不放棄」的精神和態度。 但今天我想講的並不是體育，而是想跟大家分享如何「觀星」？星其實好有趣，你們有發覺嗎？日常生活中，每當遇上能力強，表現出色的人，我們都稱呼他們「什麼星」，例如運動成績卓越的人，我們稱他們「運動明星」，唱歌的稱「歌星」……，而當大家精力十足、調皮搗蛋的時候，家人都會稱你為「反斗星、百厭星」。 「星」其實好特別，天上的星星遙不可及，觸摸不到，但同人類世世代代都保持一個好特別的關係，而且總比人有一種「目標、方向、夢想」的感覺。不知道古人是否因為晚上只能依靠星星分辨方向走路，所以每當遇上難題、迷失的時候總會抬頭望星星，看看自己方向，抑或是因為星星每次都於黑暗中幫助到古人，所以星星予人有守護、引領、默默支持的感覺。同時，他們也像你我的家人、朋友及師長，從小就守護著我們。而古時更有人會把天上的星星當作離世的家人，不時抬頭望星星，向星星傾訴，以表達對家人的思念。所以我們要好好珍惜現時我們身邊的家人、朋友、師長，好好珍惜我們仍然可以觸摸得到而又疼愛我們的守護星。而今天你們又多了一班關心你們的守護星，他們就是今次主辦及獎學金各單位人士，他們都是一班有心人，所以你們要好好運用有關獎學金。 此外，我想跟大家分享如何成為「明日之星」。 我於運動員生涯中獲得許多，其中以「永不放棄」最為重要。 剛開始習武，我一個獎都沒有，整日於天橋底訓練，又常常受傷，但我並沒有氣餒更學會永不放棄，決心轉做全職運動員。正因為這些付出，成就了我由第一次比賽一個獎都沒有，一直到分齡賽、全港公開賽、亞洲賽到世界賽冠軍。當中我有很多機會在不同國家運動員中看到很多風土文化，去不同國家。 總的來說，我有三個錦囊送給大家。第一個是「志氣」，第二個是「知識」，第三是「恆心」。有志氣就不會甘心為下流，而志氣就好比汽車的氣油，成長就好似一架車停在陡峭的斜坡一樣，加油就會向上，反之會不停溜後而且會越溜越快，所以志氣行第一。有見識就會知道學無止境，不敢稍有所獲就自傲自滿，漸漸你會發覺世界原來真好大，有很多新知識，所以你會更虛心學習，虛心學習最後你會發覺自己獲得更多。第三要有恆心再配合志氣同知識就肯定沒有辦不到的事。三方面缺一不可。 最後，我跟大家分享一個故事： 有天晚上，滿天的星星像無數珍珠撒在夜空中。一個孩子坐在院子裡，靠著奶奶，仰著頭，數著天空的星星。一顆，兩顆，一直數到幾百顆。奶奶笑著說：“傻孩子，又在數星星了。那麼多星星，一閃一閃地亂動，眼都看花了，能數得清嗎？” 孩子說：“奶奶，能看得見，就能數得清。星星是在動，可不是亂動。您看，這顆星和那顆星總是距離一樣。” 爺爺走過來說：“孩子，你看得很仔細。天上的星星是在動，它們是有規律，有固定距離地轉。我們的祖先把它們分成一組一組，還給起了名字。”爺爺停了停，指著北邊的天空，說：“你看，那七顆星，連起來像一把勺子，叫北斗星。 離它們不遠，有顆最亮的星，叫北極星。北斗星總是繞著北極星在轉。” 到底爺爺說的話是真的嗎？這個孩子一夜沒睡好，幾次起來看星星。他看清楚了，北斗星果然繞著北極星慢慢地轉動。原來這個數星星的孩子叫張衡，是漢朝人，距今1900多年前。他長大以後，刻苦鑽研，發明了渾天儀、地動儀等等，一生成就不凡。當時沒有電腦，科技不發達，張衡的發明對人類了解天文地理有重大的貢獻。 天河的美麗是因為有無數的星星，因為每個人都努力付出一點光而構成了宇宙的星河。在成長中碰到黑暗、灰心不要害怕，要靜靜的、默默的堅持、解決。困境越是黑暗，你身上的光芒就越顯得珍貴燦爛。各位細星星同學呀！我希望你們能於自已專長的範疇當中，漸漸成長，經過努力之後由「閃耀之星」走向各界別的「明日之星」。大家加油！
2014 has been a special year for the GEF
Mrs Grace Ng (GEF)
GEF has turned 20, having been first established in 1994 under the guidance of illustrious founders including Sir Aker David Jones, Prof Charles Kuen Kao and the late Dr Raymond Wu. GEF is now under new leadership with the Hon Ma Fung Kok as the new Chairman. The vision behind the GEF Star Bright Scholarship Award launched in 2011 appears to be taking root in the school community and gaining special attention. The GEF Star Bright scholarship awards (@$5,000} aim to encourage the development of primary school-aged students with talents but from needy families. Whilst the children demonstrated potentials in a broad range of talents despite the socio-economic constraints they experienced, their aspirations generally remain modest. Many of the children have seldom physically moved beyond their immediate local home and school communities. GEF’s vision is that the potentials of these children could be maximized, their horizon broadened and their aspirations extended through greater social connectivity and mentorship. The GEF strives to extend its support to the children beyond financial and practical assistance. The GEF programme centre around enhancing their confidence and building their capacity to reach for the “stars” – hence the name of the Star Bright Award. Over the last three years the GEF has, in partnership with its philanthropic partners, organized a number of social, cultural, technical and scientific events for these awardees (and their parents). Where possible, we connected the students to volunteer mentors in various fields. From the observations of mentors and the development reports collected from these awardees, the attitudes and outlooks of these students and those of their parents were often transformed through such exposure and engagement. For instance, one awardee, who was tonguetied at the selection interview, has since become a confident guest TV DJ, becoming top of her year, with a positive outlook and is on track to study for medicine. The social values of these Star Bright awards have received increasing media and public attention. For example, the media report of one awardee who spent 4 years living in make-shift rooftop accommodation but gained an interest in astronomy through “star-gazing” caught the attention of a donor from the USA. The response was expeditious. This donor air-freighted his treasured telescope to the school 20 days after the media report. The initiative caught the attention of the HKSAR Chief Executive who invited the students to the Government House, listened to their stories and encouraged each and every one in their future development. The GEF has supported a total of 94 “Bright Stars” (including 24 this year) so far and is being sustained entirely through the generous giving of our donors, mentors, adjudicators, supporters and philanthropic partners who share this vision.