Chapter 7 – A Star was Born

Mr. John Higginbotham, the former Commissioner for Canada in Hong Kong and the first Honorary Patron of CDNIS, wrote in September 1992: 

“With a combination of the Hong Kong “can-do” spirit and Canadian common sense and volunteerism, the challenge issued by the Hong Kong government to the Canadian community to create more international school places for Canadians coming back to work and live in the Territory was met in record time.” 

The joining of John Crawford in 1992 and Li Ho-kin, Maria Mui, Eric Kong and Neil Johnston in 1993, Chisolm Lyons in 1994 and many others before and after, have proved the strength of the Canadian community in Hong Kong. The dedication and selflessness of such individuals and many others devoted to the cause have been the driving force behind the success of CDNIS. 

1999 was a special and momentous year in CDNIS’ history. January 11, 1999 marked the opening of the permanent campus to house all the staff and students from Reception to Grade 12 under one roof. It was the year of the official opening of the campus which was held on May 11, 1999 and officiated by then Chief Secretary, Madam Anson Chan and then Canadian Consul-General, Mr. Colin Russell and attended by distinguished guests such as Mr. Alan Li Fook-Sum, then Chairman of the Jockey Club, and Dr. Stanely Ho and many others. 

More importantly, the year marked the graduation of CDNIS’ first batch of Grade 12 students. 

Throughout CDNIS’ history, it has had many important visitors from overseas. One special occasion was the visit of CDNIS by Canada’s highest official, its Prime Minister. 

On February 16, 2001, CDNIS was visited by Team Canada, led by Prime Minister Mr. Jean Chretien, the Minister for International Trade, provincial premiers and territorial government leaders, as part of its ten-day visit to Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong and he remarked : 

“For generations … Canada and Hong Kong have been the best of friends… Perhaps the most visible proof of this is the Canadian International School … It is a symbol of how Canadians have become a part of the fabric of life in Hong Kong …” 

He further described CDNIS as “a superb example of the combined power of our ingenuity. It is a stunning show case for Canadian architecture and a model for the use of IT in the classroom and creative teaching and management.” 

On November 30, 2001, CDNIS celebrated its 10th Anniversary. The occasion was officiated by Mr. Donald Tsang, Chief Secretary and CDNIS’ Honorary Patron and the Honorary President of CDNIS, Canadian Consul-General, Mr. Anthony Burger, and many other distinguished guests. 

With the completion of Phase II in August 2002, CDNIS has now completed its campus. It now provides outstanding information technology and many other excellent facilities such as an indoor swimming pool, a full-sized gymnasium, canteens and excellent library facilities, to say just a few. 

It now has over 1300 students from over 60 nationalities in year 2002-2003 offering 6 subjects, namely, English, History, Calculus, Chemistry, Physics and Biology as Advanced Placement courses. It obtained 95% pass rate in its previous year’s Grade 10 Literacy Test. Its graduates are attending outstanding universities in Canada, USA and other parts of the world. 

It is truly international and the language of instruction is English plus French and Putongua and in the high school, the Ontario curriculum is followed. 

However, we must not rest on our laurels. The task of making CDNIS to be one of the best is an on-going mission. With the completion of Phase II of the campus, it is now necessary to further improve the curriculum of CDNIS. Consideration could be given to complement its Chinese language program as a Chinese version of the ESL program and provide the niche to allow it to stand out from other international schools in Hong Kong. In the process, one must also not forget that after the initial heavy expenditure on construction, one should bear in mind to maintain the original central theme of CDNIS-quality education at an affordable price. 

The good work of the governors, administrators and staff, past and present, was recognized and CDNIS was awarded Directors of the Year Awards 2001 under the category of Public/Not-for-profit Organization Boards. The Award was presented by the Hong Kong Institute of Directors to the Governors of CDNIS on October 16, 2001 and a star was born.