Young people are fountains of new ideas and fresh ways of looking at the world, and that newness is something that must be continually encouraged and nurtured. This year, 2015, the Tang Prize has been taking the Sparking Innovation—2015 Innovation in High Schools Competition into Taiwan’s campuses. Students from ten senior high schools throughout Taiwan, including Taipei Municipal Jianguo High School, Affiliated Senior High School of National Taiwan Normal University, National Taichung First Senior High School, and Kaohsiung Senior High School, brought their bright young minds together in think-tanks to brainstorm plans directed at the four fields of the Tang Prize—Sustainable Development, Biopharmaceutical Science, Sinology, and Rule of Law. Twelve plans have resulted from these student think-tanks, each a way of connecting their campuses with society for the improvement of both.
The first round of nine nominees were announced on May 22 and entered the list of schools to receive financial aid for their plans. First round nominees include Taipei Municipal Jianguo High School (two proposals), National Tainan First Senior High School, National Taichung First Senior High School, National Tainan Girls' Senior High School, Kaohsiung Senior High School (two proposals), Kaohsiung Municipal Girls' Senior High School, and Kung Tung Technical Senior High School. Each team will receive NT$100,000 for the execution of their proposals.
It is no surprise that the proposals raised by these students are unique and colorful: from holding a cross-campus debate competition, to making a micro-movie and holding a performance of poetry. Each of these unique events will focus on one or more of the Tang Prize fields and bring the spirit of each into the lives of these students’ communities.
The team at Taichung First proposed holding a “Biological Debate” with other campuses in Taiwan, which would help them to improve their skills at data collecting and sorting, research, and debate techniques, while also letting them come into contact with the biopharmaceutical sciences. Jianguo Municipal looked to the Tang dynasty for inspiration. They proposed holding a performance competition where dance, Chinese “cross-talk” comedy, and other short performance arts would be used to tell the audience about the Tang Prize while also sharing the importance of Sustainable Development with society.
Other schools proposed field work events, poetic performances, and a micro film dubbed “Meeting Confucius at a Confucian Temple.” No matter the form, it is hoped that the proposals will help give these students a more global perspective, while also fostering local participation and digitalized study. Throughout the course of each of the student-run events, it is also hoped that the public will become more familiar with the values of the Tang Prize.
The Tang Prize Foundation will announce the second round of nominees at the end of June, and on November 21 will announce the final winners at the award ceremony, where the three winning teams will take away 30,000, 20,000, and 10,000 in prize money.
Through the Sparking Innovation—2015 Innovation in High Schools Competition, students will not only learn more about the Tang Prize and thrive within its four fields, they will carry the enthusiasm for learning and the habit of thinking innovatively through the rest of their lives.