Here's to adolescence, growing pains and the challenges of 2016

The final 2015 holiday season is upon us after what can only be described as a momentous year for everyone at The Harbour School. We go boldly into 2016 in the semi-trepidatious knowledge that it will overshadow both the challenges and achievements of 2015.


Our expansion into Ap Lei Chau with Upper Primary and Middle School saw us break new ground in how we work with our students. Learning from our successes at Main, The Garden was designed to be modern, spacious and open, with every area conducive to collaboration. By year end, anecdotal feedback from students indicates that this has been a huge success. Just as important are the stunned reactions we get from prospective THS parents visiting us on school tours. The sight of students and teachers working together in our common "Living Room" space, even eating together, is not one that can be seen at other schools in Hong Kong. The equality with which we treat our diverse faculty and student body is obvious and speaks volumes to the philosophy of THS and the ethos that has seen us grow as fast as we have.


As we look to the building of The Grove in Ap Lei Chau next year, we know that the same sights and sounds will be in evidence there, too. If anything is likely to make 2016 an explosive year with even more change ahead, it is our impending move to The Grove.


This is as good an opportunity as any to remind you all that The Grove will be built in phases over about 18 months. Phase 1 will see between seven to nine classrooms being made ready for us to move into in the second half of the year. Phase 2 will see the total number of classrooms reaching 21 by mid-2017. Phase 3 will open up specialist rooms, such as the library, science lab, and so on, to us later in 2017.


We would like all these facilities to be available to us immediately, but have to be realistic and patient when it comes to the building schedule and when working with the Government. It is always important to get things right. We were also hoping that the MTR would be available to all of us early next year and are disappointed at the slippage there into the tail end of 2016, but here, too, understand the importance of patience and fortitude.


In all of this, we look for your support and understanding as we deal with much the same growing pains as are being experienced by the children in our mutual care. THS is eight years old, and in the grand scheme of things the equivalent of a Primary School student, barely starting out on our journey of life. Yet, the level of growth we expect in 2016 can only be compared with adolescence.


There are some loud scary voices that would have us believe early-onset adolescence can start at nine for the children of today. In THS' case this would seem to be true, and we can only trust that we as parents, faculty and management give our beloved school the same understanding and support we would extend to any loved adolescent in our care. We all know we are going through this growth together, and look forward to what comes next.


All that remains now is for us to wish you all the best for the festive season and a most successful and prosperous 2016.

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