This year was particularly challenging for CHOICE due to the Covid-19 outbreak. In addition to the UK being in periods of lockdown, social distancing measures and travel restrictions in both Cambridge and Hong Kong greatly hampered our ability to hold regular events. As a result, the overseas service trip unfortunately had to be canceled since it was simply not feasible. In spite of these developments, we still manage to hold several major events aimed at helping local children, especially those that are underprivileged, during the pandemic.
Tung Tak x CHOICE
CHOICE has a long established partnership with Tung Tak School located in Yuen Long, each year, the committee would organise a visit to the school. Previously, it would be an activity day consisting of games and question sessions which engages the children in english during their school christmas party. In light of the school suspension due to COVID-19, we successfully held a two-day online interactive session for students from P1 to P4 in January 2021. The students greatly enjoyed the educational quizzes and competitions.
Held between February and April, the student mentorship programme was aimed at both primary and secondary school students. Overall, we received over 90 student sign ups, but unfortunately due to limited resources we chose 40 mentees and matched them with cambridge student volunteers who provided guidance and support academically. For primary students, mentors helped them with homework through online platforms throughout the school year. For secondary students, mentors focused on university applications and subject choice guidance by sharing their own experience. 95% of mentees are satisfied with the programme and over 80% of mentees believe that the programme has met or exceeded their expectation.
Beginning last year, we ran the Summer Programme for primary school students in partnership with SoCo. This year, we have expanded this initiative by last year’s committee and provided classes covering a range of subjects, from English to STEM. In July and August, we held six weekend classes lasting two hours each and covering a range of subjects from English to STEM. We served around twenty children in each class, with them greatly enjoying the interactive and interesting content we prepared such as a wide range of science experiments and Mathematics Olympiad questions. The participants have gained much from the programme.
Holy Trinity College x CHOICE x Access Abroad Hong Kong
As the university application process kicks off, we partnered with Access Abroad Hong Kong and reached out to Holy Trinity College, a local secondary school to provide university application support. In light of the COVID-19 restrictions on after school activities, this session was held virtually and in person simultaneously, with a group of students attending in person live streamed online. In the two-hours session we focused on the application process, personal statement writing and scholarship applications. We then divided them into small groups to provide personalised advice on specific subject areas the student might be interested in. Our volunteers covered a range of subject areas, including medicine, sciences, social sciences and business. We hope that this initiative can serve as a pilot for future committees to expand our services to secondary school students.
While we may not have been able to hold as many events as we have planned, it is important to remember the main goals of CHOICE: raising awareness, instilling hope and igniting passion. We tried our best to ignite the passion for learning in students even in the face of adversity. This is especially important given the detrimental effect that the Covid-19 pandemic has caused to regular school education this year. We hope our events have mitigated some of this impact by providing support and guidance to participants and encouraging them to study and learn.
The success of this year’s programmes is the fruition of the tremendous amount of effort put in by committee members and volunteers. We would also like to thank the people at SoCo for making the summer programme possible and for their great support throughout the programme.