FROM MARGINALISED YOUTH TO UNIVERSITY GRADUATE
Lingnan graduate Danny Kwok’s story teaches us that life should be judged by one’s gallops, not by one’s stumbles. Once a marginalised youth, he recently received the “Top 10 Outstanding Youth in Hong Kong - Star of the Stars (Open Category)” award in the Outstanding Youth Commendation Scheme jointly organised by the Home Affairs Bureau and the Commission on Youth.
Born in a single-parent family, young Danny was bullied by his peers due to his chubby appearance. At lower secondary, he became acquainted with some underachieving schoolmates, turning into a bully himself. “I was naive and the only way for me to avoid bullying was to stay with the powerful gang,” said Danny. Life went downhill when he was under peer pressure to smoke, drink alcohol, skip school, wander in video arcades and even take drugs.
Muddling along with no purpose for over four years, seeing his classmates battle for the Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination (HKCEE), Danny questioned the meaning of life and seemed to get a wake-up call. Three months before the HKCEE, he
picked up his studies but only got seven marks in the exam. It was not until his second attempt at the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE) that he received 25 marks in the best five subjects and won a place at Lingnan University. As a psychology major, he did not only graduate with first class honours but also actively participated in Service-Learning programmes.
“Service-Learning at Lingnan transformed my life. I was given the opportunity to travel to the US for the first time in my life, as a student delegate, and to study at Stanford University in a summer exchange programme. Having benefited from Service-Learning, I established the Service-Learning Student Association, launched a project to serve disabled children and orphans in China, and launched the first LU Service-Day at Lingnan,” said Danny. Exposed to other civic engagement models in the US, Danny reflected upon the meaning of service and set up the Student Take Initiative Rally (STIR) with students from other universities, hoping to promote volunteer responsibility and improve project efficiency.
“My language proficiency and communication skills were not good when I first entered Lingnan. The professors I met and the opportunities I received helped me develop into a confident person who can articulate his views, set his goals in life and, most importantly, contribute to society,” said Danny. Once a flunking student, Danny is now working as a full-time Research Assistant at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University as well as being a part-time Research Assistant and Hostel Tutor at Lingnan.