Zhonghua Secondary School is calling out to the descendants of its founders to participate in its 100th anniversary celebrations.
|CN PHOTO: Koh Meng Kwang|
Flying paper airplanes is usually an act frowned upon by teachers, but not at Zhonghua Secondary School—at least not on Jan. 7, the day the school celebrated one of its key events to commemorate its 100th anniversary: the record-breaking feat for the highest number of paper airplanes being flown simultaneously.
A total 1,384 students, staff, alumni and parents lined the corridors overlooking the school parade square and set sail their winged origami at the gong of the brass cymbal by Dolly Ong, the school principal. Prior to the feat, contests between students were held to crown the student who had the longest airborne paper airplane. While most timings ranged between three and four seconds, the winner of the contest, Jeremy Tay, a secondary four student, clocked in a whooping 11.71 seconds with his unassuming-looking airplane, molded after designs by world record holders with the aid of his teacher. When asked about his “secret technique” to flying the plane, he replied, “Just aim high.” Wise words indeed, reflecting not only the aspiration for all students from Zhonghua to soar to greater heights, but the spirit and theme of the event, “zhan chi gao fei” (“spread your wings and fly high”).
More importantly, however, the school is holding its 100th anniversary dinner in September, and is looking to extend an invitation to some very special guests—the descendants of its founders, Tay Peng Teng and Puan Yeow Pang. “As we soar to new heights, we want to remember those who prepared the runway,” explained Ong. Besides the dinner, the anniversary celebrations also include a golf fund-raising tournament in February, organized in collaboration with the school’s Parent Support Group. The funds will go toward supporting school programs and needy students.
Ong said, “I guess we’re entering into a world where we do not yet have names to the jobs our students are going to hold. Thus, they must have the skills and the values to see them through, not just knowledge. They need to have the ability and confidence to engage people.”
The school, formerly known as Chung Hwa Girls’ School, was the first Chinese girls’ school to be established in Singapore. When it opened on Sep. 15, 1911 at Mohamad Sultan Road, the school had just over 10 students. As its role evolved from providing basic primary education for girls to teacher training courses and eventually secondary and pre-university education for both boys and girls, its enrolment also grew over the years, and it moved on to bigger premises at Tank Road. In 1999, it moved into its current premises at Serangoon Avenue 3.
Said Guinieve Yeo, vice principal of the school, “I feel very privileged to be a part of the history of this school, one of whose founders, Tay Peng Teng, was a Presbyterian pastor. I wonder what he was praying for when he started the school 100 years ago, and I would like to think that the school today is the fruition of his vision and faith.”
If you are, or know of somebody who is a descendant of Tay Peng Teng and Puan Yeow Pang, kindly contact Ms Guinieve Yeo, Vice Principal of Zhonghua Secondary School at +65 6282 4339 or e-mail her at Guinieve_YEO@moe.gov.sg.