On 21 December, we commemorated the birth of Christ Jesus in an assembly in the hall.  The theme is Today a light will shine upon us, for the LORD is born to us. The programme started with a narrative taken from Luke 2: 4-8 on the nativity scenes: the manager, terror-stricken shepherds in the field, baby Jesus, Mother Mary and Joseph, the heralds of angels at the sky. Meanwhile, frustrated teenagers expressed their stress with studies, loneliness, and helplessness about the divided society and Syrian civil war. There is a plea for some light of hope.  In a dance, angels declares a good news that brings hope to everyone who follow the Light.

Ms Catherine Yan, a devoted member of Faith and Light, introduced the mission and work of a special ministry for the intellectually-challenged.  Through Ms Yan’s story, we realised how we could recognise the gifts of those with different intelligence and bring joy to them and their parents through listening to the parents’ personal struggles and reaching out to the much neglected group in our neighbourhood. Throughout the years, this small community has witnessed the love of Christ through arranging pilgrimages to chapels and churches overseas, bringing the children and their parents to the mass and sharing Eucharistic mass.

Perhaps we could reflect on our way of celebrating this season and make a difference: being a present, being a Christmas light to each other, hugging our families and friends, as well as casting our cares to Jesus, the Light.

Followed the programme, the Student Council arranged a series of interactive games, Christmas challenge. Then Sr Veronica, Miss Florence Kwok, Ms Priscilla Kwok and Ms Lam Mei Yi, greeted everyone and passed on the blessings through giving treats to every class and leading the whole school to sing Christmas songs.

The board decoration adjudication started at 10:30, during which students and teachers had class parties.  We had a wonderful time meeting past students and graduates who returned to see their teachers and old friends.

The campus looked anew with thoughtful décor and ornaments of birds, bells and many familiar Christmas motifs.  But for the efforts of the school artists, art team members, past students, we would not have such a mesmerising campus.

On 17 November we had our second sports event, the annual athletics meet, at Wanchai Sports Ground. It was a great time for being engaged in races, field events and the cheering part of our own houses. The Sports Society has recruited many keen student officials. The six houses have spent time making thoughtful arrangements for the cheering pomp. With all their might, house captains and committee members roared slogans and beat recyclable bottles and mooncake tin boxes to make their own chants for the athletes.

The occasion was witnessed by special guests from PTA, AA as well as School Supervisor, School Principal, and many parents and past students on the spectator stand.  Ms Ivy Tam, our PTA representative, Ms Stephanie Ho, our AA representative, Sr Veronica, Mr Yeung Ka Wai, our guest of honour, presented the winning houses and overall individual champions with trophies and medals.

We were taken by surprise by the sprinters from Sacred Heart Canossian School, as well as those from the private section in the primary-secondary school student relay. A group of our past A-Team members joined the teachers in the teacher-student 4x100m relay.  Ms Paula Kong, Mr Jackson Yau, Mr Harry Wong and Mr Ben Tam also showed their true colours in the relay.

Mr Yeung Ka Wai, our guest of honour, addressed the school with a forceful note. The established rowing athlete has had ample experience in Asian rowing cup since 2012 but then started his speech with a humble beginning about a little boy who was drafted to a rowing training team to improve his figure. In a genuine manner, Mr Yeung speaks of the value of finding one’s dream and being committed to it.

Some of our athletes certainly have realised their dreams on this occasion. Fanny Lam of House of Keller and Hilary Chung from Nightingale shared the honour of C Grade Individual Championship. Rachel Chong is this year’s B Grade Individual Champion. Tammy Luk is A Grade Individual Champion.  The House of Curie is the Champion in both C Grade and A Grade. House of Nightingale came first in B Grade with her smart athletes. House of Bronte returned to become House Overall Champion and Cheering Team winner, in addition to C Grade House Champion.

Miss Shiza Shahid, co-founder of the Malala Fund and advocate for social innovation gave us an inspiring talk on 16 November about her early life and her passion for empowering girls.

Unlike most Pakistanis, Miss Shahid was born to parents who value education. The conscientious girl eventually worked her way to receive a scholarship to further studies at Stanford. Then from Stanford she returned to Swat Valley, a Taliban-festered region where schools were bombed and girls had no hope of going to school. She ran a summer camp for girls in Swat Valley and neighbouring regions to discuss their dreams and express their thoughts. One of the participants, Malala Yousafzai, was so convinced by Miss Shahid’s idea that she called upon public attention to give girls the rights to be educated. We know she ended up being shot but survived the gunshot and became one of the Nobel Peace Prize recipients in 2014.

Our guest speaker, Miss Shahid was so compelled by this incident that she made another major decision in her life: quit her promising post in a leading consultation firm for establishing Malala Fund and continue her path of empowerment through meeting and collecting stories about girls who have yet the chance to go to school. She hopes to generate fund for this good cause.

In her response to questions from the floor, Miss Shahid reinforces the importance of being kind to each other and be supportive of seeing someone else succeed. She also speaks of the importance of empathizing with leaders of a country, a clan, or an established system as we explain our cause. Her response has truly revealed benevolence and natural grace. We wish Miss Shahid and her team every success in their pursuit.

The latest surveillance data shows that HFMD activity is increasing in Hong Kong. Common symptoms of HFMD are fever, sore throat and skin rash over the hands and feet. To prevent outbreaks of such disease on the school campus, students who develop skin rash, fever, diarrhea or vomiting are strongly advised not to attend school and should seek medical advice.
In addition, they should

- observe strict hand hygiene, avoid touching the mouth, the nose or the eyes;

- wash hands frequently with liquid soap, especially before handling food or eating, after going to toilet, or when hands are dirtied;

- avoid sharing food and drinks;

- maintain good indoor ventilation in classroom.

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