For all those hoping to make their mark at the Student of the Year Awards 2017 (SOTY), now is the time to take action. The official launch of this year’s event takes place on November 16, and that’s when schools and senior secondary students need to start finalising and submitting their entries.
This time, awards will be presented in nine distinct categories, with a view to recognising outstanding individual achievements in academic subjects, as well as in extracurricular activities.
There are categories for Linguist, Scientist and Mathematician, Sportsperson, Performing Artist, Visual Artist, and Community Contributor, along with the Student of the Year – Grand Prize.
And after debuting in 2016, there will also be separate awards for Best Improvement, and Best Devotion to School. The intention here is to identify and acknowledge the impact and contributions of students who have shown the way, whether in terms of overall personal development or in leading and inspiring others.
That might be through volunteering for charitable causes or fundraising. It could be by organising school events, captaining a team, or helping others to reach new heights. The common denominator, though, is that these efforts have made a positive change and are leading the way in showing what’s possible.
In each category, the panel of judges will be looking for clear examples of excellence. But they will also be looking for other qualities, including broader involvement in school activities and in the life of the local community.
The SOTY awards, which are now in their 36th year, is organised by South China Morning Post and Young Post, and sponsored by The Hong Kong Jockey Club, supported by the Education Bureau.
As one of the most prestigious events of the year, they regularly attract a large number of high-quality entries from secondary schools across Hong Kong. Last year, there was an excellent response, and the organisers are confident of the same, or even better, this time around.
The top contenders can expect to be shortlisted and then asked to meet – or perform for – the judges in person, when the competition moves into its second phase over the next three months.
To keep things fresh and provide something extra, the organisers will once again arrange a special one-day leadership camp open to all those who make the respective shortlists.
First introduced last year, this proved a big hit. Supervised by professional trainers, it was a chance for students to deal with new types of challenges in an unfamiliar environment and learn how to work together effectively when not in their usual comfort zone.
The general feedback from students who took part was that the camp was a great experience, and an opportunity to make new friends. Beyond that, the hope is that it helps to open students’ eyes to new possibilities, as well as teach lessons about teamwork, planning and communication which will be valuable now and later in life.
Visit the SOTY website for more details on the successive stages of the event and to submit your nominations now.