Traditional elite school St Paul’s Co-educational College has topped the table for pupils achieving a clean sweep of the highest grades in Hong Kong’s university entrance exams this year, providing three of the seven students in the city who posted perfect results.
The high-fliers were among the 50,000 on Wednesday morning finding out their Diploma of Secondary Education (DSE) exam results, which were released online this year so young people did not have to return to campus at most schools, in line with official advice during the city’s third wave of Covid-19.
Those sitting this year’s DSE exams were hit with an unprecedented series of challenges under the double whammy of anti-government protests, which erupted last June, and the ongoing pandemic.
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Classes at Hong Kong schools were suspended from early February because of Covid-19, while the exams themselves were postponed for a month due to a surge of infections in March.
Of this year’s seven top scorers – those who attained the highest possible grade of level 5** across seven DSE subjects – at least two said they held ambitions to become doctors.
Three of those who obtained perfect scores came from St Paul’s Co-educational College, and two were Diocesan Girls’ School pupils, while both institutions each had on their roll one student also awarded the title “super achievers” for attaining level 5** in the mathematics elective module.
Elite boys’ schools Queen’s College and Wah Yan College, Hong Kong, taught the other two of this year’s pupils achieving the perfect scores. It is the first time Wah Yan College has produced a top scorer in the DSE exams’ nine-year history.
Hung Chun, a top scorer at Wah Yan College said he hoped to study medicine at the University of Hong Kong (HKU) to fulfil his ambition since primary school – when he was inspired to become a doctor by a physician treating him for tonsillitis.
“I think the [Covid-19] pandemic is a test for me, whether I could stick to my promise to myself to help patients, instead of just looking for a stable job,” he said.
Ivan Ng Ho-yu, top scorer of Queen’s College, also plans to apply to study medicine at HKU and serve as a doctor to “give back to the community”.
“Even though the pandemic situation is getting worse, I believe if Hongkongers unite together, we can do anything,” he said in a video message. “Even in the shadow of the pandemic, we will eventually see the light.”
One of two top scorers from Diocesan Girls’ School, Eunice Chong Yan-ying is heading to the University of Cambridge to study human, social and political sciences, setting her sights on working at the United Nations to “solve global environmental and social problems”.
“I have always been passionate about pressing environmental issues like climate change, ecological destruction and resource depletion, as well as recurrent social problems including poverty,” 18-year-old Chong said.
The other Diocesan Girls’ pupil to record straight 5** grades in all the relevant subjects was Elena Yin Vermeer, also a “super achiever”, who plans to study English and literature at the University of Oxford.
The top trio at St Paul’s Co-educational College are Lam Cheuk-wang, Wong Chi-ngai and Lu Hiu-ching.
Lam, also a super achiever, who is expected to study engineering at the University of Cambridge, was a member of the school’s Chinese debate team, while Wong, who wants to study science at Chinese University, was a silver medallist at the International Biology Olympiad last year.
“I have always been interested in neuroscience … My goal is to do research and teach at a university after completing my master’s and PhD overseas in that field,” said Wong, who is also a finalist in this year’s Student of the Year awards organised by the Post.
This year’s batch of seven top scorers was a drop from last year’s 12, the highest number of candidates since the DSE exams were introduced in 2012 to replace the Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination and A-levels exams.
Although no one at Diocesan Boys’ School managed to secure all top grades, two of its students secured 5** in six DSE subjects.
Shum Yuk-ching, 17, who plans to study law, said the extended study break and exam period had put a lot of stress on students. “I had a lot of emotional fluctuations during the course of preparing for the HKDSE exams,” he said.
Additional reporting by Gigi Choy, Kelly Fung and Wong Tsui-kai
More from South China Morning Post:
- Competition for Hong Kong university spots dips as 1,100 fewer entrance exam takers meet minimum requirements
- Hong Kong’s class of 2020, bracing for DSE results, is well placed to brave pandemic-ravaged world