25 Jun 2006One thousand local students graduated from Cathay Pacific's unique 2005 – 2006 “I Can Fly” aviation and social service programme today, as members recalled how taking part made a difference to their lives.
The "I Can Fly" programme combines the essence of social service and aviation know-how. First launched in 2003, the 15-month programme encourages 1,000 local youngsters aged between 13 and 18 years to learn more about aviation and contribute to the community.
The graduation ceremony, staged at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, was led by Cathay Pacific Chief Executive Philip Chen. Guests of honour were Y K Leung, Acting Director-General of Civil Aviation and Paul Tang, Director of Social Welfare Department. 'I Can Fly' programme Patron is Stephen Ip, Secretary for Economic Development and Labour Bureau.
"Cathay Pacific is very much part of the Hong Kong community. We have grown with Hong Kong over the last 60 years, and our long-term future is with Hong Kong. That is why we at Cathay Pacific place so much emphasis on our community based programmes. "I Can Fly" is one of the most important of them." said Cathay Pacific Chief Executive Philip Chen.
Members worked with more than 50 social organizations throughout the city, helping about 2,000 people in small projects devised by the programme members and large-scale charity events. The top 100 performing students earned an overseas trip to either a flying school in Adelaide, or the Boeing or Airbus aircraft factories in the US and France. A new award was created this year for the most improved member of each of the programme's 20 teams.
"I am delighted that all 1,000 members have finished our second "I Can Fly" programme with flying colours. We want to inspire young people to spread their wings and reach for their goals while lending a helping hand to others in the community, especially to those less able to help themselves." Mr Chen said.
"I am grateful to everyone who took part - supporting organisers, Cathay Pacific pilots, staff volunteers, student co-ordinators and the programme members themselves. Their dedication reflects our future commitment to the programme. I hope all our graduates continue to carry the 'I Can Fly' spirit of learning and sharing to their families and friends." he said.
Supporting organisations included the Polytechnic University, Hong Kong Civil Aviation Department, Government Flying Service, HAECO, Airport Authority, HACTL, Airbus, Boeing, HK Air Cadets, Social Welfare Department and Commercial Radio.