Mrs Emily Dai - Class of '74
Mrs. Emily Dai, class of 1974, has kindly agreed to meet with Grace Lam, Helen Wong and Connie Lung, to share her views on preparing our girls for the future.
Mrs. Emily Dai joined DGJS as Deputy Headmistress / Headmistress Designate in September 1998, and became Headmistress in April 1999 upon Mrs. Rebecca Yip's retirement. She had a long association with DGS, having completed her schooling from kindergarten to Upper Six with the school. She recalls that the kindergarten used to be situated at the location of the current swimming pool, and that it was upon development of the pool that the kindergarten was closed. The opening of the pool was one of the highlights for all the girls at the time, and was an exciting event that Mrs. Dai remembers fondly.
After DGS, Mrs. Dai completed her Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Hong Kong in 1979, and continued to pursue a part time Post-graduate Diploma in Education while embarking on her career in teaching. She then joined the Education Department to work in administration, before leaving for Australia in 1996. From 1996 to 1998, she completed a Master of Arts Degree in Education at the Macquarie University, and then returned to Hong Kong.
Before leaving Australia, she came across the advertisement for a new headmistress for DGJS, and applied for the position. As an old girl with a rich background and interest in education, Mrs. Dai aspired to contribute to her school and to achieve personal and professional growth by taking on this position of responsibility and challenge. She has found that the job of the headmistress requires all-round skills and flexibility to troubleshoot problems as they arise. As a private school, DGJS does not benefit from support from the Education Department, and hence Mrs. Dai must be resourceful in seeking advice on various issues.
When asked about how DGS has prepared her to face the challenges in life, she said 'resilience'. An appropriate level of pressure will steer the person to learn, to accept challenge and be able to adjust to changes. She mentioned that in her time, the terms IQ, EQ, AQ and MQ were not commonly used, but in actual fact, our school was then already preparing the students in these aspects. Mrs. Dai is one of the beneficiaries of this training and she believes our school should continue to provide these challenges to our next generations.
She mentioned one incident when she was a secondary school student. She was in the library with some classmates when a visitor visited the school. (While this visit had been announced to the girls, Dr. C J Symons had such confidence in the girls that they were not always given prior notice of the distinguished guests being received by the school, which was then a frequent occurrence). Dr. Symons was touring around the school with the visitor and visited the library. They approached Mrs. Dai and her classmates, and as would be expected, the girls greeted the guest calmly and courteously. All the questions asked by the guest were answered by the girls confidently and appropriately. The guest was the Governor of Hong Kong. Even though the girls were caught by surprise as the exchange had not been pre-arranged, they were always ready to face different challenges and could handle them well.
Mrs. Dai also commented that the training we received at DGS is very versatile and as the result, our girls are all-rounded. The school provides different channels of learning. Our girls learn not only academic knowledge but also skills they require to cope with life in society. DGS has the advantage of having a long history in education, enabling us to advance by building on its strengths.
One thing you may not know is Mrs. Dai was an outstanding athlete when she was in primary school. She has great interest in all kinds of sport. If you cannot remember what and how we did back in those times, you should look at the following photos. Do you remember the Skipping Race?
How about High Jump and Long Jump?
Mrs. Dai mentioned that her time in primary school has been enjoyable and educational for her. She had time to do sports and was one of the key players of the school team. By the time she moved up to secondary school, she realised that her priority had changed and she decided to focus more on academic-based activities.
DGS had subtly influenced her to accept changes in life readily. She gave as examples of such changes, the changes in the world economy and the advancement in technology which arrived without notice. We have to learn to be receptive of new things and know how to respond appropriately.
When asked about her work in DGJS, Mrs. Dai shared with us her openness in accepting new ideas to bring forth the junior school to face the new era. She has introduced a newsletter as a bridge between the parents and the School. She also started the Headmistress Award Scheme for the girls. This is to encourage them to try their best in all areas.
While we were looking at the sample of the newsletter and the award, we discovered a cabinet of mementos. There are dollies with DGS uniform, cards filled with words of appreciation and pictures with great ideas. These are all from the girls and their parents. We have no doubt that Mrs. Dai is serving the school with her utmost effort and love..