Ursula Sum, a Sec 2 student from CHIJ St Theresa’s Convent, showing Sr Maria Lau and principal Pauline Wong the Trexi dolls with Singapore themes at the Emblems of S’pore display.Ursula Sum, a Sec 2 student from CHIJ St Theresa’s Convent, showing Sr Maria Lau and principal Pauline Wong the Trexi dolls with Singapore themes at the Emblems of S’pore display.

CHIJ St Theresa’s Convent launched Emblems of Singapore, a showcase of student art-works as part of its SG50 celebrations.

Twenty-five of the school’s pioneer teachers and members of the Kampong Bahru and Radin Mas community also attended the Aug 6 event.

Emblems of Singapore, located along one of the school’s corridors, includes a display of painted wooden tiles featuring Singapore themes, 268 Trexi figurines depicting icons such as the Merlion and the NSman, and an 8.5-m-long silhouette of the Singapore skyline with interactive links on local monuments.

Trexi figurines are platform art figures with moveable heads and limbs.

The silhouette of CHIJMES also takes centrestage here, commemorating the establishment of the first IJ (Infant Jesus) convent on the island.

Sr Maria and Mrs Wong place tiles depicting CHIJMES and the St Theresa’s Convent to complete the display. Sr Maria and Mrs Wong place tiles depicting CHIJMES and the St Theresa’s Convent to complete the display. “From the research that I conducted for my Trexi doll design, I learnt that it was through the hard work of our pioneers that Singapore grew from a country which started with nothing into the success story that we are today,” said Sec 2 student Shernane Foo, who based her design on the iconic Singapore Girl.

“They did not give up during the hard times – everyone worked together and they pulled through in the end.”

Staff, parents and invited guests also witnessed the Student Leadership Investiture Ceremony during which 273 student leaders were inaugurated into a leadership programme established in the tradition of growing girls to be leaders and learners in the service of others.

During the celebration, guest of honour, Infant Jesus Sr Maria Lau, paid tribute to the school’s pioneer educators and members of the Kampong Bahru and Radin Mas community who helped the school establish an educational programme for girls in the 1950s.

In those decades, schooling for girls was not widely available and the Infant Jesus Sisters persevered in setting up a school on Radin Mas Hill to serve the daughters of workers at the port and the railway station.

Mrs Mabel Tan, a pioneer educator at the school from 1957-2002, recalled the 1950s and 1960s as a time where staff and students would “pitch in, without grumbling, and feel gratified at playing a part in building up the school”.

 Mrs Tan said she remembers the library when it was first built: small, poorly equipped, with few books and no air-conditioning. In order to furnish the library with furniture and books, she and her students took it upon themselves to raise funds, through Job Week and selling food provided by parents at school fairs.  

In three months, they raised $3,000 – no small sum for those days. The money allowed them to install the first air-conditioning unit at the school, which made the library hugely popular among students.

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