College Day 2018
What do you say at your college’s final College Day?
Good morning, Mr Sim Hong Boon, our dear College Advisory Committee Chairman, the one and only Chairman since the founding of Tampines Junior College and hence aptly and affectionately addressed as the “papa of TPJC”,
my predecessors, Mr Yahya, represented today by his family,
Mr Lee Kah Chuen,
Mrs Susan Chan (who sends her apologies as she has a family commitment to attend to),
Mrs Goh Hwee Choo and
Ms Helen Choo.
These, I humbly address them all as the “founding principals of TPJC” because they are indeed a league of their own whose contributions to TPJC, bringing TPJC to where she is now, remain and will always be unmatched.
We also have with us today, our College Advisory Committee representation,
Mrs Tan Heem Juay,
Mr Tang Chi Loong,
Mr Winston Goh,
Dr Nelson Chua and
Dr Kelvin Khng.
Both our Vice-Chairman, Mr Tan Cheng Gay and our Treasurer, Mr Mark Lee, are unfortunately unwell and send their apologies.
Our Cluster E6 Superintendent, Mr Loke Chee Pheng, E6 Principal colleagues,
Fellow JC Principals,
acknowledging in particular Mr Lim Yan Hock, Principal of Meridian JC,
Partners of TPJC,
Alumni staff and students,
parents and Class of 2017 (and I am told we have the largest turnout of parents ever)
my dear current TPJC colleagues and students
TPJC says “Welcome to all of you” and for many us, it is “Welcome Home”.
I have asked that my “speech” not be scheduled at the start as a welcome but at this juncture because this second segment is one of honouring the very special people who made possible, first the existence of TPJC and then, her significance in the lives of close to 24,000 students who have passed through the portals of TPJC.
In my Day 1 message this year which is also on the College website, I talked about being thankful people and that thankful people see good in and do good to others and for that, thankful people are happy people. I also urge our students to start with being thankful for our family.
This is why this final College Day is one of showing appreciation to everyone who played a part in growing TPJC – from inviting as many as possible former staff of TPJC to thanking our partners who laboured alongside us to grow our students.
But most of all, we want to take the opportunity to acknowledge the hard and heart work put in by our founding principals.
Pioneering work is difficult especially when you build a college from scratch. Mr Yahya, our first principal, saw to the laying of foundations of the TPJC we know today. But most of all, we know, it was his vision of what TPJC is to be that we enjoy who she is today. He was a hands-on principal who kept a lookout for students in need and was never sparing in his effort to help them. Mr Yahya saw staff members not just as colleagues but took time to get to know their families as well. He would always have a tender word for those who needed encouragement.
In terms of programmes, Mr Yahya introduced the Sea Carnival, the Song Festival, the Clean-up Day with the entire TPJC population putting their hands together to clean up the college (current students will know this as Project Kirei of today) and the TPJC Lecture Series (similar to the current Dialogue with Senior Civil Servants organised by MOE) with invited guest speakers like Director of NIE and Minister then, Mr Mah Bow Tan. This was Mr Yahya – a man of vision and we will always remember him as the most respected founding principal.
To continue to build on Mr Yahya’s work and to take TPJC onto the next lap would be the challenge for the subsequent founding principals, from Mr Lee Kah Chuen to Mrs Susan Chan, then to Mrs Goh Hwee Choo and Ms Helen Choo.
And each of these giants took TPJC to the next high.
Under Mr Lee, we saw the College Spirit strengthened through the Fun Fairs and various carnivals, and TPJC’s doors were open to include the growing Tampines neighbourhood and alumni students will remember fondly Sunday Funday carnival.
And we crossed the millennium with Mrs Chan, remembering the many public performances such as the Manifestasi and especially the millennium Mikado Concert (and she allowed the boys to keep their hair long for the concert). Under Mrs Chan’s leadership, we completed the college campus upgrade by end 2000 and in 2001, TPJC was invited to host the MOE Malay Elective Programme.
Mrs Goh’s heart for the students was something students and staff remember fondly. Mrs Goh believes that education is a social leveller. She took in students who needed a place to continue their JC education and in preparing for this script, I found out that out of her own pocket, Mrs Goh had quietly sponsored students needing financial assistance. Something few know even today.
Under Ms Choo’s stewardship, we started the MOE Drama Elective Programme in 2007. Ms Choo’s focus on character and leadership development was significant and hence, her strong support for the many Values-In-Action Projects, local and overseas. She was also instrumental in the garnering of the support of parents and alumni through the TPJC Partnership Framework.
These are just some highlights of the rich history of TPJC. We are after all, 32.
And because a picture paints a thousand words, we have prepared a down memory lane video highlighting the various significant milestones of TPJC before we proceed with the special segment primed with the deepest of gratitude, to give the due recognition and credit to these Builders of Tampines Junior College.
Before I hand the time to the team for the next segment (which by the way is such a secret that I am also kept in the dark), please allow me to thank all of you present this morning. I know many of you have taken the time and effort to attend this function because you know this is our final College Day here on this campus and I am grateful to all of you – for your love and your support.
If you find today that the number of current students and staff around this morning looks fewer than usual, it is simply because the majority of them (half of the student population and 2/3 of our staff) are at Our Tampines Hub (OTH) getting ready for the Part 2 of our College Day Celebrations with ZEST! Panorama 2018, a public performance by all 9 of our performing arts groups.
Since our inception, TPJC has grown together with the Tampines community and our college building is to a certain degree, a recognised landmark in this area. With the opening of OTH last year, we decided that our final public performance, ought to be one IN the community FOR the community.
Indeed, while the merger affected us in terms of a much smaller staff strength and the loss of one entire cohort of students, we, as TPJC, never allowed that to affect us. If nothing, I believe this final cohort is given the best of experiences and will in turn, give their best in all they do.
What defines TPJC is never her physical space, it is her imprint etched in our hearts through the interactions with lovely and loving people of this, our family, our TPJC Ohana.
So, to all present today, you are our and my TPJC Ohana, and I say to all of you – thank you – from the bottom of my heart.