Out of the nine students selected for the Hong Kong Outstanding Student Awards this year, two are from German Swiss International School. Arista (Y12) and Christie (Y12) both went through the rigorous selection process from October 2017 to January 2018, completing a written test, a three-day assessment camp, and an interview with a panel of judges. They stood out among 487 other student applicants from 131 schools.
“I knew from the beginning that if I made it through, it would be at least 6 months of work, which honestly almost made me not apply. Adding to that was the fact that I broke my ankle fairly recently, so during the 3-day, 2-night assessment camp, I worried about being able to present myself as a leader and enthusiastic team player if I couldn't participate in the more physical activities,” recalled Arista. “Nevertheless, once I knew that I was in the top 50 when they invited us to the camp, I was more determined than ever to get to the next step, and found amazing support from my team mates.”
The awards were only given to students who are not only strong in academics, but also demonstrate great character, exceptional talents or achievement, and passion for community service.
“I was incredibly excited and felt so honoured when I was notified of the good news by the Youth Arch Foundation,” said Christie. “This award is not only a glorious trophy with a certificate, but also recognition of my hard-earned success of balancing academics and synchronized swimming.”
Arista also expressed her excitement and disbelief when she found out that she had won this prestigious award.
“When I signed up, I mostly wanted to do it for GSIS, knowing that we hadn't won in the past two years – I wanted to make the school proud,” said Arista. “Winning taught me that perseverance really does pay off, and it felt particularly sweet because I knew I had put all my effort into being the best version of myself and had learned along the way. It's great to be recognised like this.”
Frau Cichon, Acting Principal, and Mr Misso-Veness, Head of English Secondary, attended the ceremony and watched with pride as Arista and Christie collected their awards.
“We are exceptionally proud of Arista and Christie in being awarded this year’s Hong Kong Outstanding Student Awards. Their commitment to helping others as well as developing their own skills and interests is at the heart of this recognition by a long-established and well-regarded organisation,” Mr Misso-Veness remarked. “Although this is a brief moment in the spotlight, we should not underestimate the hours of dedication both students have applied to their own self-improvement and in actively making a difference to others’ lives. These are qualities we admire at GSIS and we will continue to support other students by creating opportunities for them to find and follow their passion.”
Apart from being awarded trophies, certificates of distinctions, and a sponsored service trip, our two finalists will now be part of a diverse community of former awardees. Overall, GSIS has had 14 Hong Kong Outstanding Student Awardees since 2001.
“This award puts me in an alumni community of equally talented and motivated people who really stress social change, encouraging me to be more involved in the community and doing my part, which I have definitely been working towards since being involved in the Outstanding Students Awards,” said Arista.
All recipients strived to live up to “Giving is Outstanding,” one of the key qualities that the Youth Arch Foundation commends.
“Through my encounters with the assessors and other amazing students in the past few months, I also learnt to appreciate the deeper meaning of ‘Giving is Outstanding’,” expressed Christie.
Hugh Kam (Class of 2004), the first awardee from GSIS in 2001 and currently a Board Member of the Youth Arch Foundation was also present to witness the proud moment of our students this year.
"I am delighted for German Swiss International School. It is the only school to have produced two Awardees this year and this is so despite a strong field of candidates. Further, Arista and Christie exemplify the best of what we look for - they express themselves confidently but never forget the need for humility, they are fiercely determined to do well for themselves but never forget those in need and they excel in their natural areas of talent but never forget the need to venture out into the unknown,” said Hugh. “Congratulations to the students, their families and their teachers. It is a privilege for me to be part of this Award community and I look forward to meeting many more GSIS Awardees in the years to come.”
We applaud Arista and Christie for their effort and determination, and hope their success will inspire more GSIS students to act on their compassion and pursue their goals.