SINGAPORE – More than two years ago on Nov 17, 2006, the staff and students of Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus (CHIJ) Katong Primary celebrated Mass at their Martia Road premises and then departed for their holding school at Bedok North Road.
Two years later on Dec 1, 2008, they returned to a brand new school at Martia Road, rebuilt at a cost of about $21 million under the Ministry of Education’s PRIME (Programme for Rebuilding and IMproving Existing Schools). The Ministry of Education provided 95 percent of the funds; CHIJ Katong Primary staff students and teachers raised the balance through carnivals, sale of art pieces and various events.
What used to be a four-storey building has now become six plus one basement. Classrooms are bigger and there are more open spaces to accommodate learning in different ways. A new science centre is linked to the science garden and science decks. A new arts section includes areas for home management, art, puppetry, etc. Yet another section – the music corner – is where the performance decks, music rooms and dance studios are located.
Principal Margaret Tan is pleased to know her staff and students are “very fascinated” by the new school that still retains its previous look and feel.
On Friday Jan 23 this year, the school was blessed by Archbishop Nicholas Chia, who also concelebrated a Mass with Monsignor Eugene Vaz and 11 other priests.
At the Mass and Blessing, Archbishop Chia reminded those present that “everyone has a specific role to play to contribute to the growth of this school”.
“Students and educators must work hand in hand [so educators can] draw out various capabilities of students … to nourish the gifts they have,” he said.
“Teachers must be salt of the world to preserve students from all things negative in the world that will be detrimental to them and to give a taste of what’s real in life. It is easy for students to be enticed by other distractions in the world today,” he added. “Teachers must give witness of life in Jesus Christ.”
Mrs Tan commented that the blessing has completed the experience of their return to the school.
-By Joyce Gan