My very first contact with ICHK Secondary students occurred around the year 2013, about six years before I started at the school. My family and I had reluctantly left Hong Kong a couple of years prior, and I took every opportunity I could to visit the city and reconnect. One year, during a transit stop, I decided to visit a school touch rugby tournament in Happy Valley to catch up with colleagues and see a few games.
There was one group of students who immediately caught my attention. They played hard and they played to win, but what I really noticed was what a fine group of young people they were. There was no unnecessary aggression, no criticism, no blame, no over-the-top try celebrations. Instead, they encouraged each other, supported each other if a mistake was made, congratulated the other team, and thanked the referee unprompted when the game was over.
This made a strong impression on me, as so much of a school’s culture is revealed during occasions like this. It was clear that the students were operating to a set of values far more important than the simple collection of medals and trophies; they instead demonstrated the attributes that underpin long-term success in all domains such as courage, collaboration, determination, resilience, and self-discipline.
One example of the long-term result of values in action was revealed this week through the amazing triple success of ICHK’s U14, U16, and U20 volleyballers at the ISSFHK competition. Led by Scarlette Leung, the teams understand that winning is never the sole focus, but hard work, consistency, positive communication, and overcoming adversity are paramount - apply these principles over time and the results will come.
There is one further element that explains why ICHK sports teams punch well above their weight against far larger schools, and it’s perhaps the part that I’m most proud of - the inclusion of any student who is interested in playing. Any visitor to the volleyball court during breaks will see students from Years 7-13 playing together, with younger students welcomed and encouraged to join in. There’s no domination by seniors, no exclusion of someone who’s not good enough, and this supportive and welcoming environment among the students underpins participation, enjoyment and long-term success for all.
You will see the same commitment to inclusion, courage, collaboration, determination, resilience, and self-discipline applied across the full range of school activities at ICHK, from drama productions to outdoor expeditions and service projects. It’s these principles that are the priority, not solely the medals and accolades, and they create the conditions in which long-term success for our students is achieved.
On December 13th is the ICHK Sports Day, a fantastic event in which the values of our school are demonstrated to the fullest extent. Everyone participates, it’s fun, it’s competitive and relaxed. All community members are welcome, and we’d love to see as many of you there as possible. Sports play a vital role in the development of every person, and at ICHK we’re proud to be a school in which being part of a great team is not only about winning - people matter more.