The ESF Chairman’s Awards is a celebration of the world-class performance of our graduates. The awards recognize excellence in academics and outstanding achievement in Leadership, Commitment and Contribution to Service, Embodying the Spirit and Values of the School, Sport and Creativity.
Today’s #ESFRapidFireQuestions feature Bethia Kwok of ESF South Island School (SIS) who won the ESF Chairman’s Awards for Leadership and the Award for Excellence for attaining the perfect score of 45 in the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme (DP). She also received the prestigious Hong Kong Scholarship for Excellence to study Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
Ms. Kelly Diaz, Head of Upper School & IBDP Coordinator wrote: “Bethia is one of those students who was an excellent all-rounder. A student who really embodied the values of South Island School. Academically she was as comfortable speaking Spanish with native speakers as she was completing an extended essay in Psychology on the nature-nurture debate. She was an enthusiastic student who could always be relied upon to contribute to class discussions, even through the medium of Zoom!
She was an integral member of the head team for the school’s annual Student-Led Event of International Evening. At the time circumstances in Hong Kong were changing week by week regarding public events and restrictions enforced by the government. Bethia led the head team, the performers and the volunteers for the event, during these uncertain, difficult times, with positivity, empathy and resilience. It was always a pleasure to work with her.
We are incredibly proud of all her achievements. She was one of our Head Prefects. She scored a well-deserved 45 points for her IBDP and was a very worthy recipient of the prestigious HKSES Scholarship.
We wish her all the best with her studies at UCLA and thank her for the impactful difference that she made whilst a student at South Island School. We are sure that she will go on to make a difference in her chosen field of Healthcare in the not too distant future.”
You have won The Chairman's Award for Leadership. What makes you a good leader?
I think good leadership begins with a humble heart and learning to serve others first, whether it’s the willingness to be the first to do the things no one would like to do or arriving first and leaving last. Good leadership requires strong communication and humility, which doesn’t necessarily mean thinking less of yourself, but thinking about yourself less and more from the perspective of others.
How did your ESF education set you up for success?
Leadership, skills and even confidence were all things that were certainly not natural to me, but something that needed to be cultivated. I am grateful for ESF’s missions and core values that bring together a diverse amalgamation of cultures and backgrounds, providing a learning environment that facilitates our growth not only as students but as individuals inextricably intertwined with our peers, local community and the world. I would also attribute much of my success to the emphasis on collaborative relationships, both vertical relationships between students, staff and community collaborators, as well as horizontal relationships in student leadership, student voice, and student-led events.
What advice would you give to other ESF students who would look up to someone like you?
If there is something that I have learned myself it is the importance of community—people who build each other up, are not afraid to be vulnerable or acknowledge weaknesses, and will walk with you at your highest of highs and lowest of lows. And equally important is that you be that person for them! When I look back on my years at Quarry Bay School and South Island School, what comes to mind aren’t the achievements, but the people and the lessons learned that I will continue to carry with me into the next season of life.
Can you share a memorable moment that happened when you were at South Island School?
I recall vividly my tenure as Head Prefect where I learned the value of teamwork in leveraging the unique strengths of each member towards a mutual goal. More importantly, however, was the sharpening and refining process that enabled us to improve our weaknesses too. Attributes I felt I lacked were fortified by my team members, creating a synergistic effect that helped us collaborate as one body. When the time came to pass on the baton, it was truly heartwarming to reflect on how far we had come as a team and our personal growth.
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