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Speech by Mrs Lim Hwee Hua, Minister, Prime Minister's Office, Second Minister for Finance and Transport at the Serangoon Garden Secondary School 50th Anniversary Celebrations on 15 October 2009

15 Oct 2009

Ms Chee Mei Chun,
Principal, Serangoon Garden Secondary School

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen

1. Good evening. I am very pleased to be here today at Serangoon Garden Secondary School’s 50th Anniversary Celebrations. For many of you, today is a reunion, between you and your former classmates and between you and your alma mater, the place that has given you wonderful memories and helped shape your promising future.

2. Incidentally, it was also 50 years ago that Singapore had achieved self government. As a nation we have progressed by leaps and bounds over these past five decades, achieving successes that our founding fathers could hardly have imagined at that time. Similarly, Serangoon Garden Secondary School has come a long way and achieved much in these 50 years. The school started in 1959 as Lichfield Secondary School, an English medium school. It was renamed Serangoon Garden Government High School the following year, when it became an integrated secondary school with both English and Chinese stream pupils. This was significant as it was one of two such schools in Singapore then. In 1969, the school absorbed Hwi Yoh Vocational School and took on the present name, Serangoon Garden Secondary School.  Technical and commercial subjects were offered in addition to the normal academic subjects.

3. Pre-University courses were offered from 1965 to 1974, and reintroduced in 1980. As the 3-year courses became less popular, and the 2 year ‘A’ Level and polytechnic courses became more sought after, the Pre-university classes were phased out in 1991.

4. In between in1985, the school became a purely English stream school and in 2000, it started functioning as a single-session school. It merged with Serangoon Garden Technical School in 2003 and eventually moved to the current premises in 2004 from the former location just down the road.

5. Today’s celebration gives us a good chance to reflect on the progress that has been made in the metamorphosis of Serangoon Garden Secondary School into the quality institution that it is now. The school has notable achievements in both the academic and co-curricular areas, having achieved several Academic Value-added Awards between 2006 and 2008, and the Sustained Achievement Award (Uniformed Groups) from 2002 to 2009. The school has also been commended for achievements in aesthetics, the Development Award (National Education), soccer and table tennis. And the list of achievements goes on.

6. Over the course of its history, the school has groomed and nurtured generations of Singaporeans in preparing them to cope with the challenges and demands of society. However, the story must not end upon graduation. It is my hope, and I believe this is true in many instances, that the alumni members of the school continue to play a role in contributing back to the community. In particular, you can bring real world perspectives and insights and share these nuggets of wisdom with the less privileged, aspiring youths, and others in their life journeys.

7. You may ask; how can one make a difference? There are numerous ways to get involved. On an individual level, you can join youth, community or charity organisations and volunteer your time and services to the needy. Collectively, Serangoon Garden Secondary School can leverage on the strength of the school’s network of current and past students, teachers and staff to support community initiatives such as grassroots events and volunteer projects.

8. Today, as we celebrate Serangoon Garden Secondary School’s 50th anniversary and look back at the past five decades of the school’s history, I want to congratulate everyone – the Principal, teaching and non-teaching staff, students, the School Advisory Committee, the alumni and the parents – for your collective efforts in building up the school. Happy 50th anniversary!

9. Thank you.