Reaching Higher: A Gold Medal Performance in the Green School Award

Reaching Higher: A Gold Medal Performance in the Green School Award

September 6, 2019

Over the past few years, ISF has sought to encourage a greater personal and institutional focus on adopting habits and practices that are supportive of local and global sustainability and environmental stewardship. We have established many linked programs within our school that are active reminders of these ideals: waste food is recycled into organic soil for our rooftop gardens; solar power is generated from rooftop photo-voltaic panels to illuminate and air-condition some of our Grade 3 classrooms; and other campus waste is recycled in appropriate ways. Student research continues to focus on building a deeper understanding of our environment and the ways in which we can be more effective stewards to protect the future.

Our efforts to become a more sustainable and environmentally responsible school were officially recognized this past week with the announcement that The ISF Academy Primary School and Secondary School were awarded gold medal status in the Hong Kong Green School Award. This accolade is fitting reward for those teachers, parents, and students who work with great commitment and diligence to guide us to make good decisions when it comes to matters of consumption and waste. We should all take encouragement from this honor, which is conferred on just a handful of schools out of thousands in Hong Kong. We stand as leaders in a field of human endeavor that has the potential to change the future and make the world a better place.

This award, while immensely satisfying for those who turned a dream into reality, also reminds me of a primary motivation for testing our skills and values against daunting challenges, high standards, and fierce competition. In fact, an athlete that has never run a race, a sporting team that has never faced the prospect of defeat in competition, or a scholar who has never been examined, all are unproven and incomplete until tested. But what is more important: participation or outcome?

Even more so, our values, best expressed at the ISF through the Eight Virtues + One, stand not as ideals for an inspiring display in an auditorium or a classroom; they are expressions of who we are and who we are aspiring to become – through our thoughts, words, and deeds. One common, perhaps misguided objection to this idealism in a set of values is that one can never truly live up to them. If perfection eludes the athlete or scholar, does that diminish their efforts to reach for something higher – a personal best? When we seek to be and do what we say we are, when our aspirations become actions, even in our imperfections and failures, we reach a special place that transcends the ordinary and touches the extraordinary.

In this week’s extraordinary achievement, the ISF community can take great pride. We should also be inspired and encouraged to ignore the fear of failure to become better versions of ourselves in every other walk of our lives.


Dr. Malcolm Pritchard

Head of School

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