School Value System of Queen’s College
‘Sow a thought and you reap an act; sow an act and you reap a habit;
sow a habit and you reap a character; sow a character and you reap a destiny’
By Charles Reade, an eighteen century English novelist
Your thoughts determine your actions, influence your behavior, and lead you to your destiny. Brotherhood, Passion to Excel, and Diligence, the core values of Queen’s College, are most significant in the development of your thoughts. Brotherhood is reflected in your personal attitudes, showing concern for your schoolmates, offering your help and service, working collaboratively towards common goals, and sacrificing your self-interest for the greater good.
The school motto, ‘Labor Omnia Vincit’, means ‘Diligence Conquers All Things.’ Complacency is the enemy of Diligence and undermines the Passion to Excel. Always expand your horizons, work creatively, and strive for excellence. In school, your excellence may be reflected in your academic achievements; in the future, it will be reflected in your achievements in society, which, whether in terms of fame or wealth, must always be positive.
Integrity and Responsibility are the vital ingredients of the Passion to Excel. The word ‘integrity’ comes from the same Latin root as integer, bearing the sense of wholeness; a person of integrity, like a whole number, is a whole person who we feel we can trust to do right, to play by the rules, and to keep commitments. It is the right virtue that contributes to good character. If you know what is right or wrong, you must do the right thing, so that you can be trusted to do right.
In society, you must observe the laws. You can fulfill your responsibilities at home, in school and in the society, by performing your duties, keeping your promises, and honoring your commitments. When demonstrating social responsibility, you have to respect others’ rights, preserve the environment, and most importantly, direct your talents and abilities toward service to others. Integrity and Responsibility will guide you to do what is right, to play by the rules, to honor commitments, and to serve others.
Always keep the three pillars of the school value system, Brotherhood, Diligence, and Passion to Excel, foremost in your mind, and conduct yourself with Integrity and Responsibility. A sense of these values should always be reflected in your personal attitudes, responsible actions, and personal relationships with students, parents, and the larger community.
LI Lok-yin, principal of Queen’s College
Foreword by the Principal
(in the S.5 graduates’ Graduation Book)
At the outset, I would like to congratulate all of you on your graduation from Queen’s College, the most prestigious school in Hong Kong. Not only have you overcome the many challenges of the past five years, but you have done so with pride and confidence. In addition to your academic accomplishment, your personal behaviour and attitude have successfully reflected the five core values of our school: Brotherhood, Diligence, Integrity, Responsibility and a Passion to Excel.
Many of you will have read the book ‘The World is Flat’, and will therefore be aware that, with the advance of information technology and convenience in travel, the world is brought closer together and the sharing of information is increasing. We demand global collaboration and learning from each other, in order to accomplish greater achievements and find solutions to more complex problems. Group co-operation is paramount; so, you must develop core competencies in this regard. The first of these is EQ, which requires the development of tolerance, control of temper and respect for others. The second is Devotion, reflecting the fact that you are a responsible person who will contribute your efforts wholeheartedly. The third is Bravery, whereby you approach challenges, as well as failures, with courage. These three core competencies form the acronym EDB, which also stands for Education Bureau, the body that governs our education policies.
Continued globalization will provide a constant impetus for change. Therefore, the acquisition of knowledge is critical, while the generic skills essential for research and communication are also significant. As you go forward with your future endeavours, I hope you will bear this in mind, and I wish you years of success, years of happiness, and years of friendship.
EXCELLENCE IN ACHIEVEMENT
Dr Stephen Tommis
The Hong Kong Academy for Gifted Education
Address at the HKPHo Presentation Ceremony, Hong Kong
12 July 2008
I am honored to be here today to participate in your award ceremony, and I thank you most sincerely for your invitation. There is no other place that I would rather be than here enjoying this celebration of your accomplishments in the Hong Kong Physics Olympiad.
Being a young member of the Physics Olympiad is a statement. It is a statement of both excellence and achievement in a particular science - “excellence” in that each member has shown that they are capable of sustaining performance at an incredibly high level and “achievement” because to be selected as a team member confers the acolade that each is amongst the best at this particular time.
Let’s explore a little about what “excellence” and “achievement” really mean.
Ceremonies like these are held in tribute to those of you who have learned that excellence is not a single act, but a continuous striving toward a way of being - a way that demands that we give our best at all times, and one borne from an understanding that outputs (results) generally reflect the quality and effort of the inputs.
Committing yourself to excellence is the best way to ensure that you will expand and perpetuate what has been handed down to you. By your presence here today, it is clear that you have that desire for excellence as well as the discipline to pursue it.
Let’s take a few minutes to reflect on this concept of excellence in achievement, and what it means. It was the Greek Philosopher, Aristotle, who first said:
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
And, the great twentieth century Spanish philosopher Jose Ortega Y Gasset noted that
“excellence is simply doing ordinary things, extraordinarily well.”
Many other scholars have made the distinction between excellence and competence, excellence and perfection and even excellence and success.
For me, excellence is not a single act, but a process, and one that speaks less to the size of a task than it does to the way we choose to approach it. Consequently, it is possible to strive for, and achieve excellence in every facet of our lives, in very small things with limited external value but nonetheless feeds our desires to strive for the highest possible standards at all times.
Clearly, it takes a special kind of character to be driven always to achieve excellence. Throughout my years in education, I have found that, generally, the students who achieve excellence are often the most well-rounded. They are the ones with a highly developed sense of their relationships between themselves and the world around them; they are the ones for whom mediocrity is never good enough; they are the ones who have learned the value of hard work, tenacity, determination, and commitment. Nothing of any lasting value comes without these virtues.
And they have learned that these are all critical elements of the end product that we call “excellence”.
I congratulate all of you who are being honored here today as the embodiment of all of those qualities.
This time of year seems particularly appropriate to celebrate excellence and all the qualities that it takes to make it happen.
Summer, with its incredible explosion of life and beauty, reminds us that despite the difficulties we face in our own varied quests as human beings, if we are resilient enough, we will survive. In fact we will do more than survive. We will grow and bloom spectacularly. But first, we must face up to the challenges inherent in every worthwhile venture just as we must survive the ravages of winter to revel in the joys of summer. This is the nature of that often elusive state we call excellence.
Excellence is sometimes elusive because it is not an act; it is not rigid; it is not stagnant, and it is often not absolute. Rather it is a fluid process that demands adjustments in our attitudes and in the methods that we employ in pursuit of our goals. And, in that pursuit we must often remind ourselves that excellence does not end with success. Instead, real success merely challenges us to reaffirm our commitment to excellence, to push ourselves to the boundaries of capacity we are sometimes too afraid to test.
Year after year, decade after decade, the seasons change in perfect timing, guided by some unseen hand. The changes are on schedule, in the same order, with the same characteristics, without fail.
So, Consistency too, is a hallmark of excellence.
Those of you who are committed to achieving excellence know that excellence does not allow you to be mediocre one day, average another day and great in the end. No, it requires a concerted effort to strive to do your best even as you undertake the smallest task. In the words of 18th century literary giant, Samuel Johnson,
“excellence is not often granted upon easier terms.”
You must engage in a repeated pattern of setting the highest standards for yourself at all times in order to achieve excellence. For many of you, that pattern started a long time ago. Years ago, when you came into your consciousness of your own power to determine your destiny, you decided that you wanted excellence.
That is why you are here at this ceremony.
That is why you are here now being recognized for doing what you had to do with extra-ordinary dedication to the task at hand.
And that is why you understand that this honor is merely one small phase of a journey, one tiny patch woven into a quilt that will last a lifetime as you begin to channel your skills and passion into your further and higher education and into your careers.
Ultimately, you will find that like spring, summer, autumn or winter, excellence is distinguishing. Excellence sets you apart from the crowd. It distinguishes you as a leader, a scholar, a social engineer—someone who can and will make real and lasting difference in the world. Excellence is therefore, its own distinction.
I wish you well in your pursuit - in your struggles - for excellence. Don’t give up. Always keep trying!
Thank you again and my very best wishes to you all.