At a recent City University (CityU) ceremony to award prizes and scholarships, Professor H K Chang, the university's president, pointed out that all of us need encouragement and financial support of one kind or another, if we are to achieve our full potential.
Subsequently, he explained that no student should be deprived of the chance to reach the top, simply because their family was not so well off. "With the involvement of our faculty and the support of generous donors, we want to give students every opportunity to make their mark in society," he said.
The award ceremony recognised, in particular, students who stood out for their all-round personal development. The winners were chosen by a special panel which looked for a high level of individual achievement, as well significant contributions to society.
Fang Brothers Whole-person Development Scholarship winner Mabel Cheng is a third-year student in CityU's Department of Marketing. As an athlete, she became a student champion over 400 metres at the Inter-Collegiate Competition in 2003. Despite average results in public examinations, she was determined to get into CityU and, after years of hard work, achieved her ambition.
What was the secret of her success? "I sacrificed time in bed and only slept five hours a night, so that I had enough time to study and train," she explains.
Louise Zhang, another Fang Brothers Whole-person Development Scholarship winner, has taken a different approach. The second-year student of economics and finance is an expert in the art of calligraphy. "It helps me remain calm and deal with life's adversities," she says. Ms Zhang has been practising calligraphy since the age of nine and was specially commended by the then mayor of Shanghai Xu Kuangdi at an event celebrating the return of Hong Kong to China in 1997.
James Chen, who won the special IEE award, is studying electronic and communication engineering. Like Ms Zhang, he is from Shanghai, and has made a determined effort to fit in at CityU, as well as in Hong Kong society. "I have been learning Cantonese for three years and I can speak it fluently now," he says.
At the ceremony, Jalcy Liu won recognition for her language ability. The translation and interpretation student was awarded the Hong Kong Translation Society Chen Hsong Group Scholarship. She hopes to further her studies in Japan and to get involved in research.