WWW: World-Wide Whizkid - Learning in a virtual global classroom

WWW: World-Wide Whizkid

Learning in a virtual global classroom

June 20, 2022

Twelve-year-old Vinci Chan (7A) has been interested in life science, biology, paleontology 🦖 and zoology since he was 3-4 years old. His parents and teachers have encouraged him to further pursue his interests outside of school. Since October 2021, Vinci has successfully completed numerous online courses hosted by various universities around the world while still managing his schoolwork! To date, he has completed and received 25 course certificates in various areas, such as paleontology, marine life, climate change and more. Vinci also enjoys reading and at the age of two and a half already recognized 500 English words! He definitely enjoys the challenge of testing himself.

We know a lot about Vinci’s extra-curricular studies, let’s find out some other interesting and fun facts about him in some quick-fire Q & A:

How has your newfound knowledge and skills helped you in your school studies?

Due to these courses, analyzations of different things have become easy for me, like observations and research in science class. The courses also help me get a better view of the world around me. 👀🌏

Your favorite subject at school seems obvious, but tell us about other subjects or activities you really enjoy at school and why?

I really enjoy English class and Christian Ethics class because they both teach me about wonderful moments and things, sometimes in the form of amazing stories. I also love drama because it helps me communicate with others in the form of body language. 📖✝️🎭

Who inspires (or motivates) you at CAIS?

Several teachers (including Mr. Gordon Chiu and Ms. Emma Van Vuuren) and my friends around me – they help me build up my strength and confidence in my studies and in the world I live. 💪🏼

What is your most memorable moment in CAIS so far?

When I stepped up into Grade 7, it was a symbol that I worked hard towards secondary grade and that made me feel proud of myself. 📚7️⃣

Which corner of the school do you like the most, and why?

I love the lecture hall because I look forward to hanging out with my friends there after lunch, watching movies and laughing away. 🍿📽️

What are you looking forward to with the new Amenities Building?

I’m excited for the new hall because I hope the school can host bigger school assemblies, host plays for bigger audiences – and maybe give me and my friends a whole new way of watching movies! 🎦🏩

What other (hidden) talents do you have?

I can make good rhymes and have a special side for poetry. I won a United Nations’ Poetry Competition when I was in Grade 5. 🖋️

What do you want to do when you are an adult?

I haven’t decided on my future career, but it’s possible I may end up doing something that requires observation, like an animal researcher, or something to do with English, like a writer. 🦎📝

“We hope Vinci’s interests can make his school life even happier. We feel his talents and achievements are just a part of the natural progression of humanity providing innate talents for a new generation.”

– Mr. & Mrs. Chan


An interview with Boccia Paralympian Hiu Lam YEUNG

Bearing the Torch Together:

An interview with Boccia Paralympian Hiu Lam YEUNG

March 2, 2022 [updated April 1, 2022]

Last summer, CAIS had the honor to be selected by Hong Kong Sports Association for the Physically Disabled (HKSAPD) [formerly known as Hong Kong Paralympic Committee & Sports Association for the Physically Disabled] to be one of the venues for its Boccia* Regional Training Programme (eight days in July and August 2021), with the Kowloon West team training in our Primary Play Area. In fact, we were privileged to be visited by the elite Boccia athlete and Paralympian, Ms. Hiu Lam Yeung 楊曉林, who came to give a short demonstration to encourage the Kowloon West team before she flew to Tokyo for the 2020 Paralympic Games!

The Regional Training Programme culminated with the 2021 Boccia Regional Cup being held in our gymnasium in November 2021, when teams from six regions around Hong Kong gathered to compete in an exciting day of strategy and accuracy.

Just as the Hong Kong government granted CAIS a piece of land, we have in turn made our facilities available to external organizations as a part of “giving back” to the local community. It is our honor to continue to play our part in nurturing Hong Kong athletes.

*Did you know…Boccia is one of only two sports in the Paralympic Games that does not have an Olympic counterpart. It is like bowls – a target ball sport which tests both muscle control and accuracy. It is specifically designed for motorically impaired wheelchair athletes with cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy. It also has a therapeutic effect on the athletes and serves as a rehabilitation intervention. It can even be played sociable by anyone, even able-bodied players as long as they stick to the rules of remaining seated. Please click 👉🏽 here for more information about Boccia.

📷: CAIS

We want to support and promote Team Hong Kong (with stellar performances from them in both the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics). We especially want to promote Boccia within our school community and give an insight to the experience of a top athlete.

We are pleased that Ms. Yeung was able to take some time from her busy schedule of training and international competitions, to speak with us (via video conferencing on January 17, 2022) about her experience, the challenges, the training required to become a top Boccia athlete, and how people can get involved/support this sport.

📷: CAIS

Last summer, CAIS had the honor to be selected by Hong Kong Sports Association for the Physically Disabled (HKSAPD) to be one of the venues for its Boccia* Regional Training Programme (eight days in July and August 2021), with the Kowloon West team training in our Primary Play Area. In fact, we were privileged to be visited by the elite Boccia athlete and Paralympian, Ms. Hiu Lam Yeung 楊曉林, who came to give a short demonstration to encourage the Kowloon West team before she flew to Tokyo for the 2020 Paralympic Games!

The Regional Training Programme culminated with the 2021 Boccia Regional Cup being held in our gymnasium in November 2021, when teams from six regions around Hong Kong gathered to compete in an exciting day of strategy and accuracy.

Just as the Hong Kong government granted CAIS a piece of land, we have in turn made our facilities available to external organizations as a part of “giving back” to the local community. It is our honor to continue to play our part in nurturing Hong Kong athletes.

We want to support and promote Team Hong Kong (with stellar performances from them in both the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics). We especially want to promote Boccia within our school community and give an insight to the experience of a top athlete.

We are pleased that Ms. Yeung was able to take some time from her busy schedule of training and international competitions, to speak with us (via video conferencing on January 17, 2022) about her experience, the challenges, the training required to become a top Boccia athlete, and how people can get involved/support this sport.

*Did you know…Boccia is one of only two sports in the Paralympic Games that does not have an Olympic counterpart. It is like bowls – a target ball sport which tests both muscle control and accuracy. It is specifically designed for motorically impaired wheelchair athletes with cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy. It also has a therapeutic effect on the athletes and serves as a rehabilitation intervention. It can even be played sociable by anyone, even able-bodied players as long as they stick to the rules of remaining seated. Please click 👉🏽 here for more information about Boccia.

📷: Hiu Lam Yeung

INTERVIEW after general introductions between CAIS Advancement Team and Ms. Hiu Lam YEUNG and HKSAPD Rep.

Please tell us about yourself and how you got into Boccia?

I got into Boccia in Junior High. I went to interest classes and entered some competitions to try out the sport and ended up showing potential. My interest and sense of accomplishment in competing grew, and I wanted to develop this further. My parents didn’t know much about this sport but just thought it would be a good way for me to condition my physical frame and do some sporting activity.

There are different classifications within this sport. [As it is a Paralympic sport] Boccia athletes can’t be too physically capable/mobile. I have an eligible impairment for Boccia and entered the ranks of the Hong Kong Boccia squad.

Has Boccia affected your daily life?

Definitely. It started with me taking part in a few interest classes, then grew to me seriously focusing on training while I was still in Junior high. Those junior high days were packed with a school-and-training routine: school in the daytime, training after school, doing my homework after training, looping the same schedule every day.

Describe your training schedule. How often do you need to train? What is your routine?

As a full-time athlete now, I train 5 days a week, usually 9:30 to 6pm with 1 hour lunch break, sometimes only half a day. Two days off to rest. Not really long hours of training. [CAIS says that’s training for a whole working day!]

During my free times I’ll use one day to just sleep in late because I really like sleeping and training is sometimes tough! The other day I usually gather with friends and family, though I might train during weekends too. Family and friends are only free during the weekends, so it’s hard to find time to spend with them when they are free, but I try to do so as much as possible. I also get a break during public holidays.

What challenges have you faced personally and as a Boccia athlete?

Whether I face challenges in my training or in my daily life, it is about my attitude and mentality. In training, I have to keep training day in day out to a high-performance standard, repeating the same exercises. The challenge is to make the repetitive training enjoyable and more effective. In competitions, I have to find a way to get back on track when faced with losses or feeling like I’ve lost my touch. This mental resolve is the same for other life situations as well.

PROFILE:
Athlete’s name: Yeung, Hiu Lam 楊曉林
Boccia Class: BC2

World Ranking (as of in March 2022):
• 1st in Individual BC2 Female
• 11th in BC1/BC2 Team
Reference: https://worldboccia.io/rankings

Recent achievements:
• Ranked 5th at Boccia Mixed BC2 Individual event at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games (東京2020殘疾人奧運會) (Aug-Sep 2021)
• Two bronze medals at the Fazza Dubai 2021 World Boccia Asia-Oceania Regional Championships (硬地滾球亞洲及大洋洲錦標賽) (Nov 2021)
• Nominated for “Hong Kong Sports Stars Awards for Women” in the Cathay 2021 Hong Kong Sports Stars Awards

In which recent competition were you most satisfied?

In last year’s competition in Dubai, I competed in individual and team events [winning bronze in both]. Our success in the team event was significant as it was a new team coming together and we managed to place above Japan. You have to know that a number of top Boccia teams are from Asian countries, and Hong Kong hadn’t bettered the Japan Team for a long time, so we did our best together to secure success for the Hong Kong Team.

For team events, you need to first learn how to work together with your teammates – you need to talk together to understand each other’s issues. How long this process takes really depends on each person’s characteristics, but it was fast for us because we have known each other during past individual trainings sessions.

📷: HKSAPD
📷: CAIS

You have visited our campus before and seen one of our areas opened for external use. What did you think of our school as a venue?

Thank you to CAIS for making your school available to us and for your support, the venue was very good for Boccia and the supporting facilities were very suitable for Para athletes, for example accessible toilets for wheelchair users, which is very convenient. Many multi-purpose venues in Hong Kong do not have specific facilities for Boccia.

In the past when we didn’t have a dedicated training area for Boccia and had to go to Boundary Street Sports Centre for our weekly training, which wasn’t ideal as we often faced booking issues and couldn’t train as planned. The competition for these spaces is very keen, so if people are interested to try Boccia, they will face certain restrictions.

We understand the difficulty for Hong Kong people to book public venues to do sports. CAIS will be opening an Amenities Building with more space and facilities for sports and performing arts, which again will be made available to external organization outside of school hours. What if more schools could also make their spaces available?

Your school is very well equipped. Of course, it would be great if other schools could do what CAIS is doing with their venues, hiring it out for Boccia and other such sports to the public.

Fortunately, after our [Hong Kong Boccia athletes] success in competitions, we now have our own training venue for full-time and part-time athletes at the Hong Kong Sports Institute – since 2015. We’re very thankful for this. However, there are still a lot of outside people, such as budding athletes and the public, who experience difficulty in finding venues to learn and practice this sport. It would really show the spirit of sports participation in the community if other schools could provide more venues.

📷: HKSAPD
📷: HKSAPD

Apart from facilities, what can Hong Kong people do to support Boccia/Para athletes?

For Boccia, I personally think we need more manpower. We [Hong Kong Boccia squad] currently have a stable venue but are lacking volunteers/helpers. Our physical state is more impaired than other Para athletes, such as table tennis and wheelchair fencing ones, who can take care of themselves [independently at competitions]. We need one-to-one assistance as some of our teammates have muscular atrophy and movement disorders such as Cerebral Palsy, like me. We need people to help us take care of ourselves and help us move. We do not have a lot of full-time coaches, and half of our volunteers/part time coaches are retired persons. The other half have normal day jobs.

The biggest problem now is going to competitions during the pandemic. It now takes a long time when we head out for competitions. For example, for Dubai it took us at least a whole month. We go to the competition for at least 2 weeks and when we come back everyone had to be under quarantine for at least 2-3 weeks. Those who are still working might find it hard to take leave for such a long time and might even have to take no-paid leave to accompany us on competitions. This volunteer situation seems to be the biggest problem for us.

VOLUNTEERING INFORMATION
PROVIDED
BY HKSAPD

“Our association will always welcome volunteers. Please contact Friends of Para Sports. This association is for volunteers that help different sporting activities and will also recruit and teach Boccia volunteers. For training, as long as you [volunteers] can make time, the coach and different staff will definitely help and train you to be a volunteer.

Boccia volunteers should have enough physical strength, as one of the main tasks is to take care of the athletes. If you just want more basic duties, it is also possible. The simplest job is to assist athletes when they are training; to pick up the boccia balls as the athletes cannot do so. There are many areas that we need volunteer help in, please join friends of HKSAPD. When you join, you can also take part in other Para Sports under our association.

AGE LIMIT
There’s no age limit as there is a such a wide range of volunteer jobs available to do, but if volunteers are too young, we would need a parent to agree and would be great if a parent accompanied their child when volunteering.”

Can you tell us what your plans are for 2022/23 and if there are any competitions we can look forward to?

For short term goals, I am preparing for the competitions that will be held in October and December and also to prepare for the Asian Games in Hangzhou and the World Championships in Brazil, which is the most competitive for this year. If we gain top 3 position at the World Championships, it will mean a direct entry to Paris 2024 Paralympics. I hope to do well in these competitions.

We hope to see you in Paris 2024.

I hope so too. I will start gaining points for entry to Paris 2024 from the next few competitions.

Upcoming International Boccia Competitions

October 2022 – Hangzhou 2022 Asian Para Games
December 2022 – Rio de Janeiro 2022 World Boccia Championships

CONCLUDING REMARKS:

That concludes our interview. Thank you for your time. We’ve enjoyed chatting with you, Hiu Lam. You’re a ray of sunshine with your cheerfulness. When the Hong Kong people see you compete, they will be cheered up by your upbeat outlook and professional competitiveness.

Thank you so much.

We hope you will visit and use our facility again.

HKSAPD Rep: Yes, we are still planning the Regional Training Programme. We have to be careful due to the pandemic, but we’ll see what opportunities there are for further partnership with CAIS as your facilities are really good – we’ve had a good experience arranging activities at your school and appreciate your support. Thank you.


CAIS is a school that aims to serve and share its facilities with the wider community outside of school hours. During school hours, we are a dynamic place of learning, as an international through-train school, with three pathways to graduation. Outside school hours, certain allocated space, have been used by various organizations, such as a local church, and as training facility for other groups like Hong Kong Sports Association for the Physically Disabled (HKSAPD). We look forward to establishing more relationships with other organizations to support sports, art and community developments in the future, especially with the opening of the Amenities Building, which will offer even more facilities for our students, school community and the wider community.

If you are interested in hiring our facilities for group activities or meetings, feel free to contact the school at info@caisbv.edu.hk.


CAIS continues to forge ahead with the development of the Phase IIB Aquatic Centre

CAIS continues to forge ahead with the development of the Phase IIB Aquatic Centre

February 18, 2022

CAIS shows that no obstacle can stand in God’s way. The school takes the next step to transform the dream into reality, with the completion of the indoor Aquatic Centre foundation, despite the COVID pandemic situation.

The Superstructure Work Contract Signing Ceremony between CAIS Limited and Advance Engineering Development Ltd, earlier this year, signifies the start of work on the Aquatic Centre’s superstructure. We are excited to see this development, even as the Phase IIA Amenities Building is in the final stages of fitting and finishing.

We look forward to expanding our students learning experience with broader course and ECA offerings that make use of all the amenities and space in Phase I and Phase II of CAIS. All this has been made possible through the generosity and prayers of the CAIS community and supporters.


Chantel Yiu Cheuk Faye (Grade 9A) student has been going strong in the recent TV singing contest

Chantel Yiu Cheuk Faye (Grade 9A) student has been going strong in the recent TV singing contest

June 22, 2021

Chantel Yiu, a grade 9 student at CAIS enters herself in a TV singing contest. Her voice has been praised by many judges on different levels. We had a chance to talk to her about her passion for music. Here is her story…

What made you interested in music and singing?

Music helps me, and I guess many others, to express their feelings, whether you are happy or sad and is also very soothing and relaxing when you are stressed. It is also one of the things that my friends and I share, sharing good songs and performances that are released. Music is also a universal language as in whatever language the lyrics is in, we can still enjoy it. I think when you appreciate music, you will also start to enjoy singing, as you will inevitably sing along with the pieces you like.

Biggest lesson learnt from the singing competition that is not offered in school?

There are in fact a lot of similarities, in both situations, you always have to work hard, do your best, respect and appreciate others’ efforts, manage your time well and a lot of teamwork is in play. At school, apart from teachers and staff, you are still mostly surrounded by people of your same age but during the competition, everyone you work with are adults. At school, there may still be certain leniency if you slip behind, but in this competition, there is only one chance and you have to practice hard and really prepare well in advance. The competition gives me an early insight of what it is like being in a working environment. I would say the school prepares you for the society and the more you absorb and equip with what you learnt from school, the more confident and prepared you are when you step into the society facing the challenges ahead of you.

Most memorable experience in CAIS?

I have to say is the many many good friends and teachers that I met and know in school. I have good times and bad times but I always have someone from school that gives me encouragement, constructive feedback and support. Despite the ups and downs, the days at school is always going to be in my heart and I treasure every single moment of it!

 

You can find more information on Chantel in the following media reports:

每次錄影父母都跟到實 姚焯菲簽約TVB堅持學業為先 | Headlife | 頭條日報 (stheadline.com)
聲夢傳奇︱14歲姚焯菲超多粉絲 《戀愛預告》YT點擊極速破200萬|香港01|即時娛樂 (hk01.com)


The role of hope in our lives

The role of hope in our lives

June 11, 2021


Napoleon Bonaparte once said, “A leader is a dealer in hope.” In my opinion, so too, “Teachers are dealers in hope.” Schools should be places of hope for students and how much more so, in a Christian school.

In the 1950’s a John Hopkins professor, Curt Richter, conducted a fascinating, yet gruesome experiment. My apologies in advance for the following description, but it illustrates the impact of hope. In this world-renown experiment, Professor Richter wanted to see how long rats could swim in a bucket before drowning. The first group of 12 only took a short time before each drowned. Professor Richter, then introduced a variable with the next group of rats. Just before a rat began to drown, he would lift the rat out of the bucket, hold it for a while and then put it back in the bucket. He found that those rats, were able to swim over 100 times longer than the first group he tested. He wrote in his findings that the first group ‘literally gave up’ in the hopeless situation, but the second group ‘quickly learnt that the situation was not actually hopeless’. They had a reason to keep swimming.

This reminds me of a nice inspirational story about a group of frogs:

A group of frogs were traveling through the woods, when two of them fell into a deep pit. When the other frogs crowded around the pit and saw how deep it was, they told the two frogs that there was no hope left for them.

However, the two frogs decided to ignore what the others were saying and they proceeded to try and jump out of the pit.

Despite their efforts, the group of frogs at the top of the pit were still saying that they should just give up. That they would never make it out. “It’s hopeless” they yelled.

Eventually, one of the frogs took heed to what the others were saying and he gave up, falling down to his death. The other frog however continued to jump up as hard as he could. Again, the crowd of frogs just waved and yelled at him to stop the pain and die.

He jumped even harder and finally made it out. When he got out, the other frogs said, “Did you not hear us?”

The frog explained to them that he was deaf. He thought they were encouraging him the entire time.

Both these illustrations show the impact that hope and encouragement have. Schools should be a place where children are encouraged to give their best and that there is always hope for the future. When children know that a time of difficulty or hardship is temporary, then they have the resilience to keep going.

What is of blessing however, is that in a Christian School, there is an even greater hope and encouragement that we can share with students. This hope is not found in psychology, nor in nice inspirational stories, rather it is found in the God of hope. “The God of hope will fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13).

Notice these truths:

  1. The source of hope is God.
  2. The impact of hope is joy and peace, which is often missing in times of hopelessness and despair.
  3. Hope is gained through trusting in God.
  4. We receive so much hope that it overflows out of us. Other people can see our hope in the midst of difficulty.
  5. This hope comes with power! The Holy Spirit.

If you are looking for hope (joy and peace), then look no further than the God of hope.

Blessings,
Richard Vanderpyl
Head of School


CAIS connects parents with a support network

CAIS connects parents with a support network

June 8, 2021

Our Grade 12 parents recently connected with parents of our alumni over a sharing session as part of the school’s initiatives to create a support network among parents.

Participating parents joined a discussion on parenting, parent-child communication and expectation management during their child’s transition from adolescent to adulthood.

Our alumnus Marko Choi (Class of 2020) also joined us on the night to share his experience at CAIS, the challenges he faced studying across time zones and connecting with new university friends during Covid.


CAIS Physical Education Teachers on pushing boundaries

CAIS Physical Education Teachers on pushing boundaries

June 3, 2021


Physical Education is one of the best examples to help us reimagine the physical setting of a learning space during Covid.

While the education space might not be ‘business as usual’, it certainly has spurred us to embrace digital. Both teachers and students are doing things a little different with a dose of resilience and creativity to make learning possible within and beyond a traditional classroom.

We catch up with Mr Chun-Man Fong, Primary School PE Team Lead, and Mr Timothy Jong, High School PE Teacher discuss the challenges and successes that they have, student engagement and things they hope students would keep on experiencing going forward.

Chun-Man: C
Timothy: T

When did you join CAIS? How have you found your teaching journey so far?

C&T: We both joined CAIS since its start at Butterfly Valley.  Our teaching journeys have been one filled with growth, relationships, and an abundance of joy and we take each step of that journey with gratitude, prayer and purpose.

It has been a blessing to have the opportunity to develop and equip young people with knowledge and confidence to use their body to move with purpose, build character through teamwork and leadership, and equip them with the soft skills they need to positively contribute to those around them.

How do you structure the lessons and develop initiatives to deepen students’ engagement during remote learning ?

C: Remote learning has been very difficult for our Primary students, parents and teachers. One of the ways that has helped deepen students’ engagement was by creating custom videos that are specifically designed for our PE lessons. This took a lot more work from the teachers, but our students were much more engaged.

T: In high school, to encourage engagement during our remote learning we used this unique opportunity to introduce a variety of individual pursuit activities student’s may have not previously been exposed to such as, wushu, tai chi, dance, boxing, and many more.

Prerecorded lessons are also a key to help students to engage during live Zoom lessons, as well as review different movements and skills after the completion of class.

What were some of the challenges you faced during online teaching and the transition between virtual and on-campus teaching? How have you tried to overcome them?

C&T: For teaching online PE in Hong Kong the challenges are space, safety, and how much fun our lessons were. With different amounts of space available for the students and teachers, it was difficult to provide an effective vantage point for students to see proper demonstrations of the skills being taught. This led us to prerecord lessons at school so that we could provide students with resources to see an effective demonstration of the skills for feedback and reinforcement of their learning.

The transition to face-to-face learning was one that everyone welcomed, so that was an easy transition.

What successes did you have?  

C: We define success by how engaged and how much effort students gave during PE. Whether it was that they tried to their best to follow a dance, that they remembered all the gymnastics shapes, or perform one more repetition of a fitness exercise, it’s seeing them improve that defines our success in PE.

T: Seeing students being able to adapt quickly and remain active in the past year was one of the successes we have.

What have you been doing to encourage students to keep on top of their physical fitness and mental health during remote learning?

C: Students like doing exercises with their classmates and their PE teacher. We try to keep the lessons fun by doing things together, playing music and praising effort during remote learning.

T: Once we have established how our physical and mental health are intrinsically linked, I have provided examples of how I have been remaining active and provided further resources of sites and videos that can be used by the students during their remote learning to remain physically and mentally healthy.

Have you learned something new through this experience that you might consider in future PE classes with students?

C&T: I think we could all agree that videos are a very useful resource for students. The Flipped Classroom model (a type of blended learning where students are introduced to content at home and practice working through it at school) is one that we may consider adopting in the future to reduce instruction time and increase active learning time. The use of video also reinforces learning cues taught during lessons which has been an effective practice.

What did our students and teachers experience in 2020 that you want them to keep on experiencing in 2021 and onwards?

C&T: Our students kept a positive attitude, tried their best no matter the circumstance and were more grateful for face-to-face learning afterwards. These were challenging experiences that I hope will turn into good memories for everyone. We are also hoping students will remain adaptable, resilient, and reliant on God.


“Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.”

“Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.”

June 4, 2021


Recently I received an email from an airline company informing me that they were ‘elevating my benefits’! That surprised me considering I have not travelled in the past 18 months! It did prompt me however to login to my airline plan and check what my ‘Tier Status’ benefits were. If you are like me, I do need to remind myself of the ‘benefits’ I have accrued.

In Psalm 103, the Psalmist encourages us to remember all the benefits we have in Christ. “Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.” (v3) Sometimes in our busyness, we forget to remind ourselves of all the amazing benefits God gives to us when we “join His plan”. As Christians, God promises us wonderful benefits.

In Psalm 103, we see a list of the benefits God promises to us:

  • forgiveness of all our sins v3
  • heals all our diseases v3
  • redeems our life v4
  • crowns us with love and compassion v4
  • satisfies our desires with good things v5
  • compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love towards us v8
  • doesn’t treat us as our sins deserve v10

and so on

What an amazing ‘plan’ to belong to, and to receive all those benefits, immediately, upon joining. There is no status or tier levels in this plan, with better benefits held in reserve for only a few. All these benefits are available when we accept Jesus Christ as our Saviour and commit our lives to love God and our neighbour.

As Christians, it is good to remind ourselves, daily, of the ‘benefits’ we have in Christ. In the difficult times of our life, focusing on these benefits will bring joy and hope.

As I move ‘up a tier status’ with my airline, I am thankful for the extra benefits I receive. So too should be our response when we remind ourselves of the benefits God gives us. Six times in Psalm 103 we see the phrase, “Praise the LORD”, which is the natural response of one whose sins have been forgiven, and who receives so many benefits (blessings) from God.

In Christ,
Richard Vanderpyl
Head of School


The Connoisseurs - A Fantasy Story by Janis Ho (Grade 4C)

The Connoisseurs - A Fantasy Story by Janis Ho (Grade 4C)

June 2, 2021

“I don’t think… I can take it anymore…” Queen Aquarius, the connoisseur of magic struggled to say.

“Polaris…?” She sighed.

“Yes mother?” Polaris managed to ask even with her sobbing.

A tear rolled down her snout followed by a trail of water. She couldn’t bear to see her beloved mother laying on her deathbed.

“Please… promise me… you’ll take care of our… kingdom.” The queen paused.

“Of course, mother. I will.”

Queen Aquila put her talon on Polaris’s wrist.

“Most importantly… be safe…” She trailed off and closed her eyes.

“I… won’t let you down mother.”

The sun lowered as the moon revealed itself. A tear dropped down on her mother’s talon. That night, Polaris stared at two birds chirping at each other playfully, still unsure if she should be asleep or not. When she was about the close her eyes shut, a spirit of her mother, Queen Aquarius, stepped into the room.

Polaris.

Polaris gasped. She felt a mix of confusion and fear at the same time. She took a step back and edged herself toward the spirit. She lashed her tail and growled but realized that was the spirit of her mother.

Do not be afraid. Remember this. In the future, you will need these.

The spirit handed her a few stacks of well-designed rings.

“What… what are these for?” She stuttered.

Umbra will be back. You will be crowned queen tomorrow. When you do, hand these out to every dragon. Leave no stone unturned. The evil spirit will be back soon.

Polaris nodded. Even the word ‘Umbra’ filled her body will hatred and disgust.

Please be safe. I can’t lose you. Focus on the future and look at things brightly, Polaris. Just because I’m no longer next to you, I’ll always be in your heart as long as you let it.

The spirit flared its wings as the stars reflected it. And just like that, it smiled the same comforting and confident smile just as Queen Aquarius would, and faded away.

Polaris was still in absolute shock from what happened just now, but she had sworn to her mother that she would protect the kingdom. No matter what. She clutched her talons and went to her bed. She closed her eyes and took a worried slumber.

The birds started singing their morning songs as the moon lowered, the sun rising. Polaris woke up, rubbing her eyes and stepped out of her bed. Some guards were already posted at the front of her doors and the one her mother used to trust the most, walked into the room.

“Get ready. You are about to be crowned queen.” He stated, and left Polaris to get ready.

She nodded and thanked him. Polaris looked through her accessories and decided to wear the choker her parents gave her ever since she was young, as it grew with her. When she was about to let her guards know, she was ready, Polaris took the rings as well. She stepped out of the room, realizing the guards had been standing still the whole time.

“I’m ready!” She chuckled by the fact that one of the guards was standing so still that his hat had almost fell off. She helped him put it back into place and they rolled down a red carpet for her.

The same guard notified her that she was going to be crowned queen now, and roared to get the dragon’s attentions.

All the colourful dragons and the half-visible black-white dragons gathered forward.

“Ahem. Greetings everyone. Today, we are going to celebrate our new queen. Polaris, will you please come up here?” He announced.

Polaris walked across the carpet and out into the open where the huge crowds were. As she stepped out, the crowds started cheering and roaring. Some even fired in the sky.

“Polaris. Time for you to be the new queen and lead us all, like your mother once did.” The guard looked at her.

Polaris sighed and took a deep breath.

“I will.”

The guard walked away empty handed and came back, with a crown in his talons. He placed it gently on Polaris’s head and shouted, “ALL HAIL QUEEN POLARIS!”

“Queen Polaris!” The dragons bowed and started chanting.

Polaris took a step forward and smiled, her crown glistening and her choker gleamed in the sun.

“Thank you all. But there is something every dragon needs.”

She pulled out the rings and asked the guard to hand them out to every dragon.

“What are these for, your majesty?” A dragon in the crowd asked, followed by some nods as if most of the other dragons were also wondering the same thing.

“These are for…” She swallowed hardly. “When Umbra is back.”

 

– This is the end of the beginning to Janis’ longer short story –


Rising to the challenge of reaching new heights: Richard Nadar

Rising to the challenge of reaching new heights: Richard Nadar

May 11, 2021


Have you heard the plan?

No, not the dinner or weekend plan, although a nice chicken shawarma meal or a weekend getaway does sound enticing.

We’re talking about the plan Richard Nadar, CAIS Humanities teacher, makes to help students reach new heights.

That was also the thinking behind of the experienced educator.

“Things we teach in the classroom obviously are constantly evolving and as teachers, we are here to teach and learn simultaneously, ” Richard says, explaining what’s behind the scene of his daily job.

“The process is part of what makes teachers, teachers.”

“Take Covid buzzword ‘languishing’ as an example, it’s very relatable to what we’re experiencing right now and that’s not a new word, but rather it’s a word that helps us define the moment when we are feeling ‘meh’ – the middle ground between flourishing and depression.”

“And my job, along with other teachers here is to teach and create a safe space for students to grow and learn new ideas and to find solutions to get around feeling languishing, for example.”

The best part

“The best part of the job is to expose students to ideas or experiences that they haven’t had so far. I am always on the lookout for opportunities in expanding the horizons of our students’ mind and experiences. I love helping students build frameworks of thinking in their lives.”

The pandemic has not only elevated our digital skills, it’s also lifting teachers’ multimedia skills. A while back Richard created a simple website for an annual school event Spiritual Emphasis Days (an annual activity celebrating the Christian faith of the school). The website pulled content from paper and presented it on a digital screen. It was simple but an effective way to increase engagement with digital savvy students. From Zoom lessons, video recording and editing, to building website, Richard, like many other teachers, have been given a crash course on mastering the skills to ‘repackage’ his teaching style with a view to influence the learning community.

“The pandemic has had a huge impact on India, my home country, and it was a tough time for my family here and overseas. While the emotional stress can be overwhelming, the experience was a reminder for me to look for clarity, slow down and appreciate the things I’d previously taken for granted, which was also a message I’d like to get across to my students.”

“Letting students take control of their learning is another thing that I am glad to see students picking up.”

He himself is a good example of forging ahead with continued personal and professional growth. From jumpstarting student’s interest in religious studies through podcasts to creating video series for stimulation-starved school community, he is literally showing how to regain control and make things happen, despite pandemic challenges. Plus, he is also undertaking a Master’s degree in International Educational Leadership and Change.

Looking on the bright side

The experienced educator who used to be a coach for educators in Mumbai, India, had chosen to relocate to Hong Kong 17 years ago and has been with CAIS since its start.

Born and raised in “India’s Financial Capital”, Richard suggests that Hong Kong students can often be shy at times when they could be more articulate to voice out concerns or questions and find solutions with their peers through discussions.

“Whereas students in India are very engaged and they are really active in classroom discussion which I think we can all learn from.”

“On the other hand, things that I think they can learn from Hong Kong students is the desire to cultivate skills in other areas apart from academics such as sports, music, dance,etc.”

Richard, when reflecting on things that he will (try to) keep doing from this past year, sees the opportunity to continue leveraging educational technology in learning.

“Thinking out of the box when approaching various things is important. I would like to incorporate some new learning technologies that I equipped myself with this year and work on it.”

The educator who has deep experience in connecting students believes that meaningful education is accompanied by informal chats and conversations outside the classroom which can’t be accomplished behind a computer screen.

“Engaging with students not just on academics but on the daily affairs of life truly opens my eyes to the reality of genuine human experiences. This cannot be ignored.”

And for him, food opens the door for him to communicate and learn.

“If at all I’ve to leave Hong Kong for any reason, I would truly miss ‘Yum Cha’. It’s not food rather it’s about the wonderful conversations that happen, which makes the food enjoyable.”

“I have had the privilege of spending some good amount of time with people conversing on different topics such as meaning and purpose of life, existence of God, moral dilemmas as well as health issues.”

“Like the community where I grew up in, people here in Hong Kong are very social.”

“Conversations just happen naturally and food really provides the connectivity that reaches people from all sorts of backgrounds, ethnicities and ages.”

Communication is key

“If my past experience has taught me anything, it’s not what things or programs we do but how we do them.”

An IoT (Internet of Things) device Scribit is the latest gadget students have gotten their hands on during which they need to use the “printers for walls” robot and turn vertical surface into an interactive canvas.

“Students often get the most out of the experience when working and communicating with others and in the process they better understand each other through varied perspectives and that reciprocity is the catalyst for effective communication, an important skill for everyone to have under their belt.”

And this is also one of the areas he wished he would focus on developing if he was given another chance to start over and work at it again but better.

“My career relies heavily on good communication with students, parents, colleagues. It is something I’d love to spend more time to work on it, either at work or in my personal life.”

As he gets busy helping students reach new heights, his passion for education has also led him to take up more challenges.

The multi-lingual educator who speaks English, Hindi and Tamil (and Cantonese is the next to conquer) is excited to wear another hat in the next academic year as he becomes the IB teacher for Theory of Knowledge (one of the core subjects in the IBDP curriculum).

“Despite the challenges we have, it hasn’t damped our spirit and the new curriculum the school is delivering and my new role is like how we try new things to get through the “unlockdown” stage, just like what other countries are currently doing.”