DragonTales sat down recently with the iconic entrepreneur, DJ, and new dad Kevin Poon ’99 for a laid-back chat at a cozy neighborhood coffee shop near Repulse Bay Beach. Being the force behind so many successful ventures in Hong Kong, we wanted to know where his never-ending drive and motivation come from, learn more about his time as a student at HKIS, and the impact it had on his journey in becoming the successful creator he is today.
Kevin is a tireless entrepreneur. A DJ, and the man behind many successful businesses and, with the arrival of his son, Calihan, with his wife Fiona McLeish over the summer, Kevin can add ‘dad' to his long list of accomplishments!

Before diving into the insights he has gathered through his professional experience, Kevin takes a moment to think back on his HKIS days. “There were some challenging and trying moments, to fit into the curriculum and the academic part of it,” Kevin shares. As a student, he could never sit still, was jumping on tables during class, and found it tough to focus. Looking back, he thinks he had ADD which despite its challenges he used to his advantage to always try out new things. “HKIS was a great school, with great teachers and great peers with so many resources available to students”, he recalls. He felt blessed to have the opportunity to be able to explore so many different things like photography, playing in the band, creating art. He also credits his group of friends, several of whom remain lifelong friends, in providing support and encouragement throughout his journey.

“Don’t be afraid of failure. Because with every failure you learn something. And, that’s the idea."
So, what would he tell his younger self knowing what he knows today? He paused for a moment before responding and replied, “trust yourself, trust the process. I think growing up there’s a lot of uncertainty, you wonder am I adequate and see lots of your peers are overachieving. Take it easy, and enjoy the process. You get so sucked into that zone, and compare yourself to others. When I was graduating, all the kids were comparing what schools they were going to. Life is not a zero game, there is room for everyone to win. You just have to put things into perspective sometimes.”

With over 20 years of experience building brands in the creative sector, Kevin has seen a lot, and now finds himself in the position of mentoring aspiring entrepreneurs. He shared, “In the creative field, I don’t think there are enough resources for people who want to learn to be a designer, a DJ, and one of my aspirations going forward is to be more involved with the school to mentor the next generation. Kids are crazy smart today. They are so mature, so accelerated. And, I think EQ, people skills, and thinking outside the box is really going to be the future of work. However, I see a lot of young people giving up too easily nowadays. After one week on the job saying ‘this job is not for me. I have to move boxes, I thought it would be more glamorous.’ You have to learn the fundamentals and you’ve got to build trust within the company. If you can’t handle such a small task, how can you be expected to be given more responsibility?”

Top Kevin in his first grade photo at HKIS in 1988.  Above Art lover Kevin at WOAW Gallery.
His advice for the next generation is “Don’t be afraid of failure. Because with every failure you learn something. And, that’s the idea. A lot of the kids today that I talk with, they only see what’s on social media, this person got an award and so on. They don’t know what lies behind that...many failures, lots of hours of despair and mistakes, and having to climb through that. I think It’s also important to not give up. It’s a journey, you have to enjoy the journey too. It’s not easy and if it was easy, then everyone would do it.”
To learn more about Kevin follow him on instagram @kpee.
HKIS Today

Student Choice
Dragon Days
From guided play in the Lower Primary School to the wide variety of Advanced Placement (AP) courses in High School, the HKIS program has always valued Student Choice in its approach to learning. As such, Student Choice is a key pillar of the HKIS Strategic Plan, as the school continues to look at ways to meet the needs of every learner. From this, Dragon Days were born.
Dragon Days started out as a way for students to take a break from screens, do something different, and seek fresh air during one of our home learning stints in 2020. They were called wellbeing days, “Day 9”, or Wow Wednesdays. Since then, the concept has stuck. Around once a month in the Middle and High Schools, students pause from their regular schedules and take part in a variety of activities led by the HKIS faculty. Students can sign up for kayaking, tap dancing, mahjong, academic enrichment, service endeavors, card game strategies, American football TV analysis, and the list goes on.

The thinking behind Dragon Day is to give students an opportunity to try new things, in addition to building community and pursuing health and wellbeing. Having new experiences outside the regular schedule can spark passion projects and encourage collaboration in ways that don't always happen in the everyday setting. The key is to give agency to our students to take ownership of their learning and have voice and choice throughout their school journey. The result is some pretty great Dragon Pride.

The thinking behind Dragon Day is to give students an opportunity to try new things, in addition to building community and pursuing health and wellbeing.
Choice Selections UP students trying their hand at Mah Jong and culinary arts in UP Kid Kitchen.
Recently, our Upper Primary School decided to take advantage of early release days where faculty break for professional development in the afternoons and run Dragon Days during the first half of the day. Click below to watch what our 8-11 year olds did- it was all about student choice!