Speech by Mrs Lim Hwee Hua, Senior Minister of State for Finance and Transport and MP for Aljunied GRC, at The Official Opening of CHIJ Our Lady of Good Counsel School Building on 1 August 2008 at 7.00pm04 Aug 2008
Archbishop Nicholas Chia
Mrs Catherine Seah
Mr S Iswaran,
Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry
Teachers, Parents, Pupils,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
1. Let me begin by thanking Mrs Catherine Seah for inviting me to celebrate the official opening of the new school building together with the IJ community. Having seen the rebuilding through the various stages, I am more than happy to be here to celebrate this special provision.
2. CHIJ Our Lady of Good Counsel has been a landmark in Serangoon Gardens since it first started admitting students 48 years ago. From a single block that catered mainly to the girls within this neighbourhood, the school has undergone transformational changes to meet the challenges and demands of education in the 21st Century. This new campus has been built and equipped for such a purpose.
3. For the past few decades, the school and her staff have upheld the IJ brand of education and made a positive impact on the lives of the girls who have passed through these gates, many of whom are from the families in this estate. I also know that the early batches of girls from the school, many of whom have subsequently become mothers and grandmothers, still choose to have their daughters and granddaughters receive the same IJ education as they had. This speaks volumes of the IJ brand of education.
IJ BRAND OF EDUCATION
4. What is so special about the IJ brand of education? I believe the answer lies not just in the school and her staff but also the traditions and values it upholds. The pupils who had received the IJ education have epitomised the school's motto of being of being "Simple in Virtue and Steadfast in Duty". This is because the IJ schools continually impress upon their pupils the values of simplicity, humility, charity, strength and gentleness. From day one, when a child steps into the school, she is taught to value and respect life, serve others and become useful global citizens. These are values that have been emphasised by the IJ Sisters, many of whom personally uphold such values and have dedicated their lives to educating our young.
5. The IJ brand is also timeless. Every girl who has received the IJ education must be proud to know that she shares a noble tradition with the thousands of IJ girls from different cultures, different ages and different generations - the tradition of believing that every one can and should contribute to society, regardless of the part that one plays in. I am confident that with such a tradition and the grounding of such strong values, we will have a generation of young ladies who will not only be dedicated members of the work force and contribute to society, but also act as a source of hope and inspiration for all whom they come into contact with.
6. I am glad to see that OLGC believes in providing an environment conducive to the holistic development covering areas of academic development, physical well-being, character education and the aesthetics. Besides giving its students a variety of CCAs to choose from, the school also runs diverse programmes that promote the performing arts, sporting excellence and innovation and design. The increase in team-based CCAs also creates more opportunities for the girls to cultivate teamwork at a very young age.
7. The girls' achievements are far too many and varied for me to do justice through a brief reference. Nonetheless, it suffice for me to say that they serve to reflect the school's belief that the girls should be given sufficient opportunities to expose themselves and identify their talents, so that the school can develop every girl to her fullest potential.
COMMITTED TEACHERS AND SCHOOL LEADERS
8. A new building with good facilities alone is not enough. An important ingredient in the continued success of the school is the commitment of the staff. OLGC prides itself on having dedicated teachers and school leaders who have shown deep commitment to their vocation and are passionate about educating the young. To the principal and staff, I encourage you to keep alive the OLGC heartbeat and to continue with the zeal and passion for education.
9. Through your hands will pass cohorts of young girls whose hopes and dreams will be touched and shaped by your actions and words, and be inspired to be the best they can be.
PARENTS10. The school is fortunate to have supportive parents who believe in working in partnership with teachers to nurture the children. I am happy to note that the formation of the Parent Support Group in recent years has helped to reach out to the parents, and involved them in promoting the well-being of the school and the students. I would strongly encourage all parents to find time to partner the school with the aim of growing and developing your children to be responsible citizens in the community.
11. Last but not least amongst the stakeholders are the ex-students, sometimes fondly referred to as old girls. Many have done well and in many diverse fields. They would serve as good role models and should be encouraged to maintain their association with the school.
12. In conclusion, I would like to extend my heartiest congratulations to the school management board, the Principal, teachers, staff and pupils of CHIJ Our Lady of Good Counsel on the official opening of the new school building. I am confident that all pupils will live up to the spirit of the IJ mission even after they leave school to be the Light, Hope and Joy for their family, friends and the community they work in.
13. Thank you.