Prepare to welcome the new academic year
As we prepare to welcome the new academic year, we are to bid farewell to an extraordinarily difficult year with mixed emotions. I hope you and your family have had some much-needed rest. We are still in the midst of yet another wave of COVID-19 pandemic which has taken away numerous lives and damaged the health of many more. In addition, it has wreaked havoc on the human race by further causing personal, social and economic problems which jeopardize people’s livelihoods as well as emotional well-being. I pray that the pandemic can be brought under control soon and that God keeps watching over you and your loved ones, granting you strength to overcome and peace of heart to see a silver lining beyond the adversities.
Schooling during a pandemic of such a tricky nature is hugely challenging for teachers, students as well as parents. We have to make do with online teaching for extended periods despite it being less effective than a face-to-face setting in many respects. Many of our educators have faced these challenges as their learning opportunities with courage, passion, and creativity.
Another issue that has pained many and caused deep divisions in our community is the series of incidents related to the now withdrawn extradition bill. Here I would like to reiterate our wholehearted commitment to our mission of Jesuit education as this is about our youth and our future. In line with this commitment, we see our school as a place of learning. While “learning” has always been defined broadly in our tradition, our school is not a political organization or a platform for political maneuvering from any side. Thus, political activities such as class boycotts and propaganda of all sorts in our school are inappropriate as they distract us from our mission. As always, if such activities are being carried out in our school or outside but in the school name or uniform by our students, we shall follow them up in the way inspired by the Jesuit ethos of cura personalis that includes listening, dialogue, guidance and other educational means. We would like to seek your understanding and cooperation in this regard.
In times of great divisions infused with strong emotions, we shall do our utmost to enable every single member of our school to feel safe, welcome, and included regardless of their backgrounds or viewpoints. By upholding our spirit of “unity in plurality” and “men for and with others”, we shall continue to help our students learn to be empathic with others’ needs, ideas and feelings. Such is the foundation for open and fraternal listening, dialogue, respectful acceptance and, hopefully, eventual reconciliation.
In the face of complex social and political controversy, our long-held tradition of nurturing our students into reflective and discerning gentlemen implies that they adopt a thoughtful and inquisitive attitude towards complex political issues, instead of rushing into any particular position. They should be extremely careful about legal and other serious consequences of their actions for themselves as well as others. With the National Security law and the National Anthem Ordinance recently promulgated as well as the laws related to the national flag and emblem, let us work together to guide our young gentlemen to take note of their words and deeds. It is always our aim to help students become responsible, respectful, and caring members of the communities they belong to, whether it be our school, our locality, our nation, or the world, and nurturing their national identity along the line of Catholic social teachings will continue to form part of our educational work. Furthermore, we want to help our gentlemen see that it is basic human decency to be sensitive to and respectful of symbols that represent anyone’s national identity.
Our students are growing up in an unprecedentedly challenging time and we see it as our duty to provide all the support they need. Our Form Teachers, Counselling Team members (consisting of psychologists, social workers, counselling teachers and professionals), Pastoral Team members, as well as our School Chaplain and other Jesuits are always ready to help. Please do not hesitate to contact any of the aforementioned persons directly or via our general line 25722251 / firstname.lastname@example.org if you need assistance.
Allow me to finish this letter with our School Prayer:
O Lord Jesus, be with me all through today to help me to live as I ought to live.
Be with me at my lessons, so that I may grow in knowledge and never give up any task, no matter how hard and difficult it is, until I have tried my best.
Be with me at my games, so that, whether I win or lose, I may play fair, and if I win I may not boast, and if I lose I may not make excuses.
Be with me in my pleasure, so that I may enjoy your gifts and never use them selfishly or to hurt others.
Be with me in my home, so that I may be kind and considerate, and that I may try to make the work of others easier and not harder.
Be with me in the streets, so that I may be a credit to my school and to those who love me and to myself
Be with me in my disappointments and sufferings, so that I may have strength to overcome my problems and accept my pain with courage and cheerfulness.
Help me to be the kind of person you want me to be.
This I ask for your love's sake. Amen.
|Rev. Fr. Stephen Chow, S.J.
Dr. Davis Chan