Past Program

2015 HK YLOT

 YLOT 2015 program was filled with fun and learning. Our students this year came from HKIS, CIS, Renaissance, Discovery College, Good Hope, Loomis Chaffee (US), The Taft School (US), and Lexington High (US).

"During these two weeks, I have not only made many new friends but I have really learned more about myself and how I can improve myself in a positive way. From solving puzzles, to fun game breaks every single experience I have participated in at YLOT has been positive. My most memorable experience at YLOT was most definitely proposing new ideas to NGO because I really learnt how to be professional and what it is like to work in the professional world. The various collegiate facilitators I got to meet were all so helpful in answering all my questions about college and their experiences at their different colleges. The answers to these questions helped me greatly in understanding what it is like outside of the high school. I would highly recommend YLOT because I know I did not regret one minute of it."
~ Christopher McDermott, The Taft School (Grade 10)

My experience in YLOT has been truly inspiring. Walking in on the first day, I didn’t expect the program to be that interactive for us as students but as the days past, we did a numerous amount of activities that involved teamwork and simulations that required real life issues. For example, mock interviews, microfinance and leadership simulations and debate activities. Because of these activities it has enhanced everyone’s teamwork abilities and appreciation for the opportunities that were given to us to benefit us for our future career. Our main project for this year was to give ideas for improvement on a social enterprise in Hong Kong that promotes empathy for and social inclusion of the visually impaired called ‘Dialogue In The Dark.’ Because of this experience, I learnt what it means to work in the business world, which is extremely helpful to me in the future.
~ Abe Luk, Chinese International School (Year 9)

2015 HK YLOT

“Young Leaders of Tomorrow”

Colleges currently attended by our first batch of YLOT alumni

We are excited to share that all our first cohort of YLOT ( graduates are now pursuing their degrees in university locally or abroad. Outside school, most of them are continuing to pursue their interests and passions which were deepened during their time with us at YLOT. We wish them every success in their college years.

Brown University - Andrew Li
Cambridge University - Carine Ha
Chicago University - Shirley Yuen, Sheenie Chan
Chinese University HK -
Phoebe Chan (Pharmacy), Alissa Ng (Psychology), Karen Chan
Columbia University - Kiran Aida
Cornell University - Jeffrey Fung
Hong Kong University - Lily Ma (Medicine), May Lee
Imperial College London - Hayley Kwan
Lancaster University - Nathan Ma (Law)
Oxford University - Hubert Au
Princeton University - Harold Li
Rice University - Justin Yau
University College London (UCL) - Kimberly Yeoh, Natalie Chyi
University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Annie Chan
University of Southern California (USC) - Jun Yen Leung


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2014 HK YLOT

13 bright and talented students have successfully completed the YLOT 2014 program, with students coming from Heep Yunn School, St Joseph’s College, West Island School, Yew Chung International School, CIS, Choate Rosemary Hall (US), The Bronx High School of Science (US) and Loomis Chaffee School (US).

Students immersed themselves in a range of activities, ranging from microfinance simulations amd leadership case studies to mock interviews and 1-to-1 coaching with their facilitators.

Highlights from the program can be viewed here.

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2013 HK YLOT

HK YLOT Summer Leadership program was successfully completed during summer 2013, with students coming from Phillips Academy Andover (US), HKIS, Island School, South Island School, Concordian International School (Thailand), Hockaday School (US), and Renaissance College. 

Students in the program shared their aspirations of how they would like to be of service to the society in the future.  See video

Highlights from the program can be viewed here.

“Young Leaders of Tomorrow”

Launching the YLOT Kick-Starter Fund

Objective: help YLOT graduates and junior facilitators pursue educational, entrepreneurial, or service opportunities aligned with their aspiration to become a successful leader of service to the world

Funding limit (2012): $1,000 USD per successful applicant

Application process: submit a maximum one page application describing
• Educational, entrepreneurial, or service opportunity to be funded
• How the opportunity is aligned to who you aspire to be
• How you aspires to serve others/society (does not necessarily have to be linked to the opportunity being funded)
All applications should be submitted to Huijin Kong and Agnes Kong (email addresses below), who will contact you for a chat.

Rights & Obligations (if application is successful)
• The Senior Facilitators of the YLOT Program will provide mentorship and other aid (if relevant)
• Funding is disbursed after the application is approved, in 1 installment
• Use the funds for the intended purpose; any unused funds should be returned to the Open Classroom (administrator of the funds)
• Write a one page essay describing the impact of the experience, which YLOT shall have the right to include in any materials (written & electronic)
• Attend 1-2 future information sessions for YLOT
• Contribute to the YLOT Leadership Guide [working name]
• Acknowledge YLOT in any events/efforts funded by this fund

Contact People
• Agnes Kong:
• Huijin Kong:

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2012 HK YLOT Session 2

We just completed Session 2 of the HK YLOT Summer Leadership Program (July 30 - Aug 3).  Students came from HKIS, CIS, West Island, St Paul's Co-ed, ICS, Shatin College and the King's School, UK.  Our NGO partners for this session are Table for Two and Dialogue in Silence.  Students from this session were exceptionally creative, and filmed two promotional videos for the NGOs to promote their causes.

Check out video created for Table For Two (TFT) and blog post by TFT on our program.

Check out video created for Dialogue in Silence.

Check out photos from our facebook album and slide show for highlights from this session.

2012 HK YLOT Session 2

“Young Leaders of Tomorrow”

2012 HK YLOT Session 1

We just completed Session 1 of the HK YLOT Summer Leadership Program (June 29 - July 6).  Students came from HKIS, CDNIS, ISF, ICS, West Island, Choate Rosemary (US), Hockaday (US), Cheltenham Ladies' College (UK).  They all enjoyed the program thoroughly especially in working on the NGO projects (for Dialogue in Silence and Crossroads).  More importantly, they learn about themselves, working with others and what it takes to be an effective leader.  Thank you to all the guest speakers, facilitators and students for the two weeks of fun and hard work!

Check out photos from our facebook album. 

Video from Session 1

2012 HK YLOT Session 1

“Young Leaders of Tomorrow”

Sharing from Megan Felder, Columbia College, Junior Facilitator of YLOT 2015

 Participating in the Young Leaders of Tomorrow (YLOT) program as a junior facilitator was one of my favorite parts of interning at The Open Classroom. The students are incredibly interesting people with a lot of creative ideas and unique, international backgrounds. It was a pleasure to not only get to know them extremely well over a two week period, but also to have the chance to mentor them and share my own experiences with them. This group of students and facilitators got to be very close by the end of the program, and I know that these strong friendships will continue beyond YLOT. Our shared YLOT experience makes it impossible not to genuinely care about each other and want to keep in touch. I look forward to seeing how the students apply the skill set they learned in YLOT. I know that they will all go far in life as they pursue their dreams and goals. While the role of the junior facilitator is to teach and guide the students during their NGO project, junior facilitators also have the invaluable opportunity for learning and growth. By the end of the program, I felt I had not only gained valuable and hands-on teaching experience, but had also become more informed regarding how to craft a resume and how to have a successful interview. The leadership simulations and self-reflection activities during YLOT helped me to clarify my own future goals and sense of self.

“Young Leaders of Tomorrow”

Sharing from Lauren Kreps (2012 Junior Facilitator)

Reading over the student testimonials at the close of the first Young Leaders of Tomorrow (YLOT) program, I noted one recurring sentiment, which was, ‘before this program, I didn’t really know what leadership is.’ Now it is time for me to confess something as well: neither did I.

Looking back on my high school and college career, I could certainly point out moments when I was in a leadership position… as Executive Editor-in-Chief of my high school newspaper, as a Lead Intern for the Jewish Heritage Programs at Penn, and so on. I think many my age could do the same. But did I ever think about what exactly that meant, beyond the mere fact that I was—on the pyramid of a student organization—somewhat ‘higher up’ than my peers? Well no, to tell you the truth, I didn’t. I’ve always known that leadership experience was something to seek out, and that I learned a lot as I held those different positions, but I don’t think I ever knew precisely why it was all so important.

When Brett Hilliard, one of the many wonderful speakers that took part in the YLOT program, wrote on the board ‘POWER vs. INFLUENCE,’ something clicked in the room. The ‘power’ to tell people what to do, to direct a team, and to be a ‘boss’ are ideas that have been inextricably linked with the notion of leadership in our society, or at least in the competitive educational environments in which I’ve grown up. After getting to know the students in session one of YLOT, I got the feeling that many of them are experiencing similar pressures and may be coming away from their own schools with similar impressions. However, with the juxtaposition of power and influence written before us, a moment of what they would call AWKWARD silence passed, and distinctions began to be made. Influence means striving to inspire, power means striving to rule. Influence is selfless, power is selfish. Having influence can involve rallying people to change the world for the better, and helping others reach their potential. Having power can lead to just the opposite. An effective leader, the students came to realize, hopes to have influence, not power.

The concept of leadership in order to influence people to make positive changes for themselves or for others in the world is something that found application, and I’m proud to say great success, in the two teams’ NGO projects. But reflecting on what leadership truly means and why it is so important also related, for me at least, to the enormous project of figuring out who you are as well. This project, I discovered, doesn’t just involve knowing your strengths, what you’ve always been good at, what you love. It also means accepting those things about yourself that you still have to work on. For me, as I learned in those two weeks through the mock interview and the creepily-accurate Enneagram workshop (a personality exercise used by leading corporations around the world), it’s erasing the self-doubt that stops me time and time again from making decisions. It’s having the confidence to speak a little louder in conversation or even classroom settings. It’s being aware of the fact that, and the reason why I say ‘I guess’ so often when speaking to an interviewer. While these are characteristic #type6problems, they are also things about myself that I’ve always somewhat known, but have never really been pushed to talk about and try to change.

Perhaps students from the YLOT program reading this blog post will be surprised to know that many of my reflections and experiences from this program mirrored theirs. After all, as a Junior Facilitator for YLOT, I was supposed to have this all figured out, right? No, not quite. The JF position may seem like one of leadership, but it is actually more about the true meaning of leadership—having influence, guiding others, learning about who you are—than it is about the leadership of power, of alleged flawlessness. This brings me to something the students may not have realized, but that most of all I want them to know: we, too, were learning from the speakers, from the senior facilitators, from each other, and from each one of the ten high schoolers that entered room 606 of Youth Square that first Monday morning. As much as it seemed like we were guiding you, you were guiding us too… and well, I think that is just downright super amazing. So thank you guys.

“Young Leaders of Tomorrow”

Lauren Kreps

Sophomore, University of Pennsylvania

Sharing from June Sun (2012 Junior Facilitator)

With my first Young Leaders of Tomorrow program behind me, I have to say that the most difficult part of this summer job, as a YLT Junior Facilitator, has been describing it to other people. Before coming to Hong Kong, I told my friends at Cambridge that I was going to do a “teaching job”, which raised a few eyebrows among my peers, most of whom were going into internships at investment banks and law firms. No doubt they thought – and I must admit to a certain extent so did I – that my non-corporate teaching experience would be limited to just that – teaching.

Two weeks in, I’d simulated micro-finance loans in rural India, experienced the life of the blind and the deaf, helped develop a formal proposal for an NGO that directly addresses global poverty, and confronted my own deepest fears and desires in front a group of teenagers. On multiple occasions I’ve shed tears out of sheer emotion. Honestly speaking, what I’ve learned by far outweighs what I’ve “taught.”

The facilitators’ collection of credentials at the Open Classroom – both Ivy League and Wall Street – is enough to dazzle anyone. I came into the job expecting to learn from my fellow facilitators, and they have not disappointed. What I had not expected, however, was what the students have taught me. One instance in particular springs to mind, where through mock college interviews, we were learning about the Inner Leader. We, the junior facilitators, started off by giving example interviews, which would help the students prepare for their own mock interviews later in the program.

There we were, with our impressive university experiences, in front of keen note-taking 16 year olds, talking about leadership as if we knew all the answers. Sure, because we’ve got a few years on the students, our verses were more polished. I’m not going to lie – the chorus of positive feedback was a delightful ego booster. Yet the closest I got to my own truth was probably when we watched the students in their own mock interviews.

The point was to get down to the core of your personality so that you could present your best self to college interviewers. The students were pushed to “remember your why” – in other words, to figure out what matters to them. As I watched them search for the words that would describe how they understood themselves and the world around them, I couldn’t help but wonder, were my “exemplary answers” true at all? If so, how long would they stay true? What exactly was my “why”?

The problems our students encountered were equally prevalent to me, although I was a good five years ahead of them. By observing these slightly younger versions of us, I realized that the same insecurities that had plagued me when I was 16 haven’t really disappeared. But I also learned how much I’ve changed. In our students, I saw much of the teenager I used to be, and I thought about the choices I’ve made since I was 16 to make me who I am now. This self-reflection inevitably led me to the next question – what’s next? Our students’ “why” was going to make them into confident young adults, around the corner from university. Where is my “why” going to take me?

Unfortunately I still don’t have the answer. The leadership program did not reveal that to me. Instead, the program made me realize that I have a “why”, and that I need to keep learning to pursue it. I now know that it’s a capacity I have inherently as a person. But I’m not entirely sure what it looks like… For now, in my head, it resembles an enormous whirlpool, ever changing and not a little terrifying. But maybe that’s OK, because I’m still learning. And that’s pretty much how I would describe this job – a program where I teach to learn.

“Young Leaders of Tomorrow”

June Sun

2nd year, Cambridge University