06 January 2016

Outstanding Young Students Awarded the Harvard Book Prize

Marking the fifth year of collaboration between Sunway College and the Harvard Club of Malaysia, four students were awarded the Harvard Book Prize at a small ceremony recently. The Harvard Prize Book is one of the most prestigious awards for outstanding Pre-University and Sunway International School Year 11 students. The tradition of the Harvard Prize Book Award was started way back in 1910 with the aim of attracting outstanding young individuals to study at Harvard College.

The four awardees, Hii Chun Yuan and Gan Ye Zhuan from the A-Level programme, Lok Huey Ning of the Canadian International Matriculation Programme (CIMP) and Melanie Yap Ann Ann of Sunway International School were chosen through a stringent selection process. They each received RM 2,000 cash prize, a copy of the Harvard Prize Book, an opportunity for internship at the Harvard Club of Malaysia throughout their duration of study at Sunway College, and a certificate endorsed by the Harvard Club of Malaysia.

Winners and finalists of the Harvard Prize Book Award

Candidates were assessed by a panel of judges from the Harvard Club of Malaysia based on an interview covering social, intellectual and ethical aspects. This year for the interview session, shortlisted candidates were posed with questions which required them to not only think out of the box, but also to think about their responsibility in society, and their roles as citizens of the country.

“It was a challenging interview, definitely had me thinking hard, but it was also very fun! Some of the questions were really unorthodox, and the interviewers built up a very casual atmosphere”, said eighteen year old Huey Ning of the interview.

“I mostly do tutoring for students who need my help in CIMP. I occasionally volunteer for charity events as well. I tutor 3 days a week; the times I help out for charity events is sporadic, it really depends on my schedule and when the event is being held. Tutoring is really a prime example of ‘the best way to learn, is to teach’, it trains me to explain concepts to others and understand which area of study challenges them the most. I think it really teaches me to be more understanding and tolerant,” said the former student of SMK Bandar Utama Damansara (3), Selangor.

Hii Chun Yuan, Gan Ye Zhuan, Tan Sri Lin See-Yan and Lok Huey Ning

“I volunteered at National Zoo twice, helped out at a charity bookfair and various awareness campaigns, planted trees and had helped in painting an orphanage recently. I prepared food for animals in the zoo, including the primates and the birds. During the awareness campaign I took pledges from students and helped raised awareness on endangered animals,” said Chun Yuan who hails from Sibu, Sarawak.

Surprised and happy that she won, Chun Yuan said “It definitely makes me feel more confident personally. I am not good at talking and had a few bad experiences with interviews. My English is not so proficient either as I grow up in a Mandarin-speaking environment. This achievement now makes me more confident in speaking my thoughts out loud.”

To be eligible for the award, candidates are required to have a consistent academic achievement of an average of ninety percent and had demonstrated exceptional contribution and engagement in community service.

“We are certainly proud to be chosen by the Harvard Club of Malaysia, for such a prize will certainly be a boost to our students, as it recognises Malaysian academic achievers who have put in great effort and demonstrated tremendous drive and capability to excel. Through such recognition, we hope to emulate Harvard in producing great men and women who will make significant contributions not only to our society and country, but the world”, said Dr Elizabeth Lee, Senior Executive Director of the Sunway Education Group and Sunway University.

Tan Sri Lin See-Yan, President of the Harvard Club of Malaysia delivered a speech on “The Harvard Experience” where he advised students to consider what Harvard and the Americans have to offer in terms of education. Each awardee was also presented with a signed copy of Tan Sri Lin’s book “The Global Economy in Turbulent Times”.

Also in attendance at the ceremony were Professor Graeme Wilkinson, Vice-Chancellor of Sunway University; Robert Boxwell of the Harvard Club of Malaysia and KC Yap from the Charles River Centre Malaysia.

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