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Bob Christian Alumnus of the Year Award This award was created in 2006 during the school’s 40th anniversary celebrations to recognize the tremendous service of Mr. Bob Christian for his dedication and commitment to HKIS as the first Head of School. Desmond Chu '91 is the recipient of this year’s Bob Christian Alumnus of the Year Award. Desmond is being recognized for his tremendous service and commitment to HKIS and the alumni community through the years. His impact on HKIS students is felt to this day. During his time at HKIS, he was fundamental in transforming the student-led Service Committee into the Interact Club, one of the first and largest service-focused clubs in the High School. Desmond is also a co-founder of the James. A. Handrich Service Leadership Endowment Fund along with fellow alumnus Kenneth Koo ’79. The Handrich Fund was established in 2007 in honor of former administrator Jim Handrich and has provided critical funding to over 50 student-led service projects benefiting underserved communities both locally and abroad. In addition, he has played an integral role in keeping our Hong Kong alumni community connected and engaged with HKIS, not least by serving several terms as Treasurer for the Hong Kong Chapter of the Alumni Association Board and as a Class Agent. Congratulations Desmond, and thank you for all of you have done for HKIS and the greater community! SPEECH FROM DESMOND CHU '91 Desmond Chu '91 addresses students at this year's Dragon Spotlight awards recognition evening in the High School. “Good Evening. Dr. Roukema, Ann [Wardwell], Hillary [Sandeen], Parents and Class of 2022, it gives me great pleasure to be here this evening to accept this Bob Christian Alumnus of the Year Award. When I started at HKIS 40+ years ago as a third grade ESL student, I never dreamed I would have the honor of speaking tonight and sharing what HKIS has meant to me. Joining from a local school, I was placed into the “Special Needs” Learning Centre so that I could improve both my spoken and written English. I was assigned extra library reading so that I could expand my vocabulary base. I still remember getting an “N”: Needs Improvement in English on my report card, which essentially equated to my first “F”! But my teachers were patient in guiding this shy Chinese student and helped me quickly assimilate into my classes.
Fast-forwarding to my High School years at HKIS; they are definitely the ones that I recall with fond memory. Apart from academics, I became very active in extra-curriculars starting my Freshman year and looking back, I feel they were the critical years that shaped my career interest and my character. As a Sophomore, I remember being invited by the High School Principal to a Rotary Club event to learn more about their school outreach program. Coming back, I was so excited I shared the program with then advisor Zella Talbot (who I still affectionately call Ms. Talbot), and the rest of course is history. The program, called Interact, transformed the service offering at HKIS into becoming one of the most active clubs on campus. Gone was the “Day of Giving” and in came “Service on Saturdays”; in later years the annual “Fashion Show” became the top student-led fundraising initiative. Looking back at those early days with Interact, it is where I learned all about CONFIDENCE and RESPONSIBILITY that I have used in most of my professional life. Together with another HKIS alumnus, we built and sold two start-ups in the telecom and education industry. For that, I am truly grateful to HKIS for the transformation from that shy third grade student to the entrepreneur I’ve become today.
Speaking of service, my Interact experience also inspired me to co-create an Endowment for an administrator who truly embodies COMMITMENT and is very much part of the fabric of HKIS. Even though most of you won’t know him, Jim Handrich still stands as one of the most popular principals who has served both Elementary and High School divisions at HKIS. Mr. Handrich cared about the well-being of each student and always encouraged us to explore our interests beyond the classroom and into the community at-large. When he retired in 2007, Ken Koo and I started the Service Leadership Endowment in his honor and over 50 student-led service projects have benefited from this Fund. Receiving the Alumni Award on the 15th anniversary of the James Handrich Service Endowment is particularly meaningful to me, as I feel this honor should be shared with Jim and the student recipients who have all contributed to HKIS in their own special way!
FAMILY … that is the same word that my son Brian chose when he spoke at his High School Graduation last May. We are all part of the HKIS family and I encourage you to share the same sense of CONFIDENCE, RESPONSIBILITY, and COMMITMENT as you, the Class of 2022, go out and venture into college life and beyond. To you, soon-to-be graduates, trust me as an Alumni of 31 years in saying that HKIS has prepared you well for the adventure ahead. But don’t forget this HKIS family that has shaped who you are; share your stories in Dragontales and come back often to visit.
Thank you Mom & Dad for giving me 10 years of an enriching International School experience. And my gratitude to HKIS, for giving me the honor of this Alumnus Award and for sharing it with you tonight. ”