From humble beginnings in Stubbs Road, Hong Kong Academy (HKA) has grown beyond imagination into what is now one of Hong Kong’s most respected international schools. Founded 20 years ago by two parents with the vision of creating an inclusive environment for students across Hong Kong, HKA promotes seven core values; rigorous international education, pathways to individual excellence, engaging in responsible action, captivating learning environment, dynamic learning community, sustainable future and educational leadership.
Since relocating to Sai Kung Town in 2013, the non-profit co-educational day school has bonded with the local community, becoming a firm fixture as a place to promote good causes and host events. Stephen Dare has been Head of School for 11 years and oversaw the move to Sai Kung. “While the new campus was exciting, many of our students and their families moved with us or had to increase their travel time significantly in order to stay. But it was all worth it when we got to witness students and parents walking onto the new campus and looking around in wonder on the first day,” says Dare.
After a unique year of online learning and social distancing restrictions, Dare is happy to see students and teachers back on campus, “as beautiful as buildings can be, they are pretty souless without teachers and students filling the hallways,” says Dare. Now that everyone is back at school, HKA is excited to kick off their twentieth anniversary celebrations.
Mission and values
With over 500 students, HKA is a close-knit school with an excellent student-teacher ratio, meaning that every student gets the differentiated learning opportunities they need to flourish. The school has a strong diverse community both culturally and integrated within its teaching methods, “we want to set our students up for success in the working world by empowering learners to pursue pathways to individual excellence,” says Dare. HKA also believes in strong parent engagement and works closely with families to make sure the school programme and educational outcomes are understood and supported at home.
While the academy has had to reimagine celebration plans in light of Covid, there is still plenty going on. A virtual event featuring parent and faculty stories and a choir performance kicked off the celebrations last month while an art exhibition by the school’s alumni will also be featured around campus along with community events and fairs, depending on government restrictions. The school entrance has also been given a facelift with the doors painted bright red to reflect the red doors of the school’s very first location on Stubbs Road. Dare looks back fondly at his time with HKA, “one of my favourite memories at the Sai Kung campus was being able to give my two daughters their certificates when they graduated, it was such an honor,” he smiles.
Future of HKA
Online learning has been an unexpected learning opportunity for HKA, while the school believes face-to-face learning is crucial for the development of students, the use of technology has also proved beneficial. Looking ahead Dare says “we will continue to be adaptive and use the things we’ve learnt about technology over the past few months to incorporate into our classes.” Dare is aware that the way people work is changing and he wants to make sure that HKA students are fully prepared for the unpredictable future that lies ahead.
It is wonderful to see such a community-oriented school celebrate this milestone. After seven years in Sai Kung, it is clear to see that a school like HKA can provide a unique education for students both near and far.
Hong Kong Academy offers the International Baccalaureate Primary Years, Middle Years and Diploma Programmes for students from Pre-Kindergarten through twelfth grade. They also offer a playgroup for 2-3 year olds.