[Head of Secondary] Term 4 Week 3 Message

We held our first regular assembly of the term this week, and aside from the enthusiastic singing of the school song and outstanding musical performance by Tiare Short and Jeannie Leung, a clear highlight was welcoming ten new secondary students to AISHK. While normally it would be unusual to have such a number enrol at this time of year, we have been delighted to welcome many new students over the last two years whose educations elsewhere have been disrupted by the pandemic. Our school community always strives to be inclusive and welcoming and we look forward to getting to know these students.

Another inspirational aspect of Wednesday’s assembly was the student discussion panel on mental health. Part of the highly successful, schoolwide Mental Health Week, the panel saw eight year 11 students talk candidly about their own experiences of mental health and how students can best take care of themselves and each other. The students showed great maturity and courage in the way they handled the subject matter, and to be able to openly address mental health issues like this showed what a safe and supportive environment our school can be. Well done to the students and a big thank you to our secondary school psychologist, Bernadette Spencer, Janine Haymes and many others who worked diligently to make Mental Health Week such a success.

The efforts of our students inside and outside the classroom continue to bring vitality to our campus. Year 8 have been particularly busy of late, with ongoing work in preparation for the upcoming Science Fair and completion this week of their digital design projects in Mandatory Technology. The final products on display in the workshops are extremely impressive and the students – supported by Andy Griffiths, Nancy Mitchell, Justina Dear and Claire Lo – should be duly proud of their work. Elsewhere in secondary, year 7 are eagerly preparing for their field trip next week to the Hong Kong Wetland Park, year 10 are studying hard (we hope!) for their upcoming exams, and senior students are hiking today and tomorrow in pursuit of the Silver Award in the Hong Kong Award for Young People program. Next week sees the second of our mufti days for the semester, with Jacaranda and Wattle co-hosting what promises to be a day overflowing with house spirit.

It was an absolute pleasure to meet so many year 11 parents this week at Tuesday’s parent-student-teacher conferences. While the obvious goal of these evenings is for families to receive feedback from subject teachers on student performance and areas for growth, one lovely benefit is the chance for parents to meet each other, chat and share experiences. A number of parents commented that it was their first time visiting our campus, and as restrictions continue to ease, we will aim to create more opportunities for parents to visit us in person. One such event is next Tuesday morning’s information session for year 11 parents in the cafeteria, and I look forward to further conversations about the all-important final year of secondary school then.

Growing up in Australia, Halloween was never a big deal in my childhood and in fact my own parents actively discouraged observation of the festival. This is definitely not the case in Hong Kong, with Halloween bringing much joy and imaginative fun for all age groups. Certainly in my home, our two young daughters have been anticipating this weekend for months! However you plan to spend it, I hope you have a rejuvenating and spooky weekend with family and friends.

Peter Phillips | Head of Secondary