Catherine Chu, Yew Chung's True Ambassador
Every year, the Yew Chung International School of Beijing awards scholarships to students who demonstrate excellence in different areas including academics, the arts, sports and community service. However, for the first time this year the Madam Tsang-Chor Hang award, named after Yew Chung’ Founder, was awarded to one student who embodied “all of the values that align with our YCIS Mission, Principles and Practices.", this is according to Farah Sun, YCIS Beijing’s Vice Principal, Head of Secondary.
For Catherine Chu, Year 12 student, applying for this particular scholarship was not only going to provide financial relief but most importantly it was a great opportunity for her to prove to herself that she should achieve anything she sets her mind to, especially with this being her second last year in secondary school. “I used to doubt myself because I am the third daughter in my family, and I have two super outstanding sisters.”, said the American born student, “I used the pressure to motivate me to prove myself, and thus I worked very hard these past few years and did improve a lot.” she adds.
With only a single award of this kind being offered, the The Madam Tsang Chor-hang Scholarship awardee “needed to be a globally-minded leader, who always acts with a servant's heart.” Ms Sun said, but at the same time, also required to meet the following criterion;
- Demonstes on-going excellence in their studies and performance both inside and outside of school;
- Represents and promote the school across the wider community;
- Acts as role models to their peers during all school activities;
- Displays a high level of personal integrity in character and demonstrate the characteristics of a role model at all times;
- Is caring and willing to help others in a humble, modest and grateful manner.
Catherine, who is also a member of the Student Council, met the requirements to perfection. Her involvement in sports on and off-campus, volunteering efforts and displayed hard work are a testament to her qualification for this esteemed award. She recalls her first time at YCIS Beijing nine years ago as a Year 4 learner, "at first it was a very difficult time because my first language is Chinese, and here in an international school, almost every class uses English, so this was a very challenging task." But due to her determination, Catherine took additional language lessons to ensure that she adjusted well to her new environment.
Chu joined the volleyball and basketball teams which have come to benefit her team working skills, but, “attending these activities also allows me to take a short break from my school work, and also prevents me from being an anti-social person who only focuses on school work.” she explained.
Another project close to her heart is the Mingyuan School Foundation run by herself with the help of her community. This is a philanthropic organization which she founded after two years of her involvement with Beijing based Migrant Children’s Foundation which is also for migrant children. However, with only 122 students in the school, Catherine believes focusing her resources to the specific needs of these students is better than addressing their challenges with a general lens. Chu fundraised and was able to purchase gifts for the students and teachers and with the remainder, she is planning a field trip for the group.
Her involvement proved that she is an exemplary candidate, hence the awarding of The Madam Tsang Chor-hang scholarship. Speaking to her reaction when finding out the news she said "It was thrilling news, but I was expecting it because I knew the hard work I put in was visible to people around me, yet I did indeed feel very honoured and grateful.” she added.
According to Miss Sun, “winning a scholarship opens up the opportunity to become a part of the Student Leadership Team, who work together in various committees to represent student voice and choice in the school.” Consequently, “scholarship holders have greater exposure to roles, projects, and service-learning opportunities, thereby strengthening their profiles for applications later to colleges and universities.” Something that will be useful for Catherine who is planning to study Sports Science in future, with a specific focus on food and nutrition.
Chu’s advice for her fellow school mates who would like to apply for this scholarship is to know yourself and display honesty at all times when applying. When asked about her parting words she said “I really want to say thank you to the people who trusted me, I feel very lucky to be seen and to be affirmed.”.
To apply for the Madam Tsang Chor-hang and other scholarship programmes, click here.