Speech by SLOBA President in St. Louis School 2015-2016 FDA Awards

St. Louis School 2015-2016 FDA Awards

Speech by John Po


July 11, 2016 Monday

Dear Supervisor Fr. Lam, Principal Dr. Yip, Guests, and Fellow St. Louis Students,

I am glad to be here to present the Fr. Deane Achievement Award to the selected elite students outperformed in their capacity as Outstanding young ones, “in recognition of excellence in social communion”.  Thank you Mr. Alex Wong, representing the sponsor of the FDAA, who invited me to present this.

I congratulate the recognition you receive from the committee, in your social communion performance that is an important theme of your life in St. Louis. You are recognized because you show that you care for your fellow schoolmates and the school, and you are a student of excellent all-round ability.


First, a story about Fr. Patrick Deane: Fr. Deane used to give a speech every morning during the Assembly Hours at 07:55 to 08:05. He would be addressing while students of all forms lined up just outside the Basketball Playground.  One morning about 45 years ago, as he spoke, some of the students down the line might have made some noise or words of disrespect.  Then I saw him walking down big steps towards the row I was standing.  And alas, he gave a big slap… to the boy right in front of me.  I was a scared Form 2 boy…. I thought this priest as strong as he was, is very scary, and very powerful. 

Later throughout the years of contacts, observation, and results, shows that Fr. Deane, was actually a man of wisdom, a priest with love and dignity, and an education expert in those days of a developing Hong Kong society.  He gives freedom of acts, freedom of the way students’ think, freedom of behavior, and at the same time, focus on what you can do best.  We would see him walking everywhere in the campus, with his white gown on, standing tall, and would grab a younger pupil and rub the little face with his side-burn.

And upon graduation or school leaving certificate, he would sign on every letter, hand to every single student.  If you are lucky you will have a few words of wisdom from him.  I still remember what he has given to me at my leaving: He’d say, “John, remember this, there are many ways to the top.”   I thought I knew what he said, and actually I am striving to fully understand what he meant after so many years.


I give you another story…

This one about the late Jason Cheung Tsun Wing, your senior old boy graduated in 2014.  Some of you will remember him as the CCA Chairman in his Form 5 year, and House Captain of Shamrock. The two positions he valued very highly over his shortened 20 years of life.  He was recognized by the FDAA Panel in 2010/2011 and received a Fr. Deane Achievement Award.  Although very sadly he has chosen to end his life in March 11 this year, suffering from very serious depression illness, after a full year of study in Law from the United Kingdom.  We are all very sad at the incidence, but what we have found, is the way Jason treats his Awards.  He has placed the FDAA Award shield on his own piano, and he would clean the shield almost every day whenever possible.  He would place the letter of award in a display right in front of his study, as if he would read them every time he finishes writing or working.  He precious all awards he has earned from the School and extra-curricular activities, and kept most of the memorabilia close to him.  The FDAA Award was so precious to him as a lifelong achievement, and recognition of himself.  He may not be the brightest student in scholastic results, but an excellent peer to most of his classmates of the same era.  His affection would have influenced his peers, and some of the younger students who would follow his footstep in being a peer.  The hundreds of students who know Jason as a good friend with St. Louis Spirit will remember him.   


I give you a third short story… that the way freedom of thoughts reflected from Steve Jobs, an important icon of the modern days. He is the founder of Apple Computer Company since the 1970’s and has since then been one of the major leaders in the world of technology.  

Steve Jobs, in his 2005 Stanford Commencement Address, spoke about 3 stories of his.  First one was from his birth youth to university, and he decided to drop out of the Reed College after just 6 months.  But he stayed as an attending student without going to formal classes.  Incidentally, he liked the Calligraphy expertise that Reed College was famous and good at.  He took the Calligraphy classes for 18 months.  He learned the serif, and the san serif typefaces.  Learned how to write them and how to make them look beautiful.

After 10 years, when Steve Jobs has already started Apple Computer, and they were designing the first Macintosh, Steve applied the Calligraphy he has learned from Reed College, and evolved a huge invention to the modern character writing from a Computer.  Every dot we know now from a computer, all the alphabets and characters were the invention from the “dots” evolved from the Calligraphy Mr. Jobs learned at his free time during drop out. 

He went on with a second story.  After very successfully created the Apple Company, and delivered a wonderful Personal Computer “The Apple II” and releasing the “Macintosh”, Steve Jobs, the founder of the company, was fired, when he was only 30 years old.  Not supported by the Board of Directors and was asked to leave the company he founded, so with dismay and disbelief he left, with some money of course.  That was a big personal and public failure on the icon, as worldwide news.  But instead of despair and hiding himself, he founded NeXT, and in 5 years he founded Pixar. 

Jobs did this because he still loves the technology he invented.  He still loves to do what he was good at.  Pixar was so successful to put computer applications into film making, and created a successful Toy Story series with innovation technology. Pixar was then sold to Apple, and Apple asked him back into the chief position.  And without fail Jobs brought Apple into the modern technology giant who influences every step of our modern lives. 

Of course Steve Jobs was not a student of Fr. Deane, but the story and character reflected the belief and method of our Fr. Deane, with freedom of thought, freedom of behavior, and focus on what you are good at. 

Remember this: there are many ways to the top.

Thank you very much.


John Po

President, SLOBA