ST. JOSEPH INSTITUTION’S Class 106 is involved in Mathematics Talent Development Programme. During one of the lessons, the students embarked on Maps and Scales, a lesson they regarded as a "usual". Little did they know what was in store for them.

Previously, Mathematics teacher Tracy Chan had worked with her class on the same subject to design a three-room flat based on an actual floor plan from HDB. Armed with measuring instruments, furnishing catalogues and other relevant information, they designed a virtual flat.

In 2008, plans were set to bring a virtual flat to life.

With the help of Dominic Ang (SJI Head of Character Formation) and Amy Chua (Subject Head for Math), Mrs Chan teamed up with Tanglin Community Women’s Executive Committee to identify a one-room flat occupied by two elderly gentlemen that could do with a little sprucing up.

The boys in Class 106 worked in groups to plan the budget, logistics, time schedules and all other pertinent information. In January, the boys worked together to raise funds in school to help with the cost of the project. And with support from IKEA and ICI paints, they were set to make a difference.

Marcus Ng, who had the winning flat design, says, "Initially we thought we had no money so the hardest thing is to minimize the budget yet make the place nice. However, after raising some funds, and having IKEA and ICI as sponsors for part of the project, it was easier. I also learnt to create more space within the constraints of the room by arranging the furniture against the wall."

The boys spent a day in January clearing and cleaning the apartment. Some teachers and senior NCC boys from SJI also stopped by to help lend some muscle power. After a long day of cleaning, gloves were worn for some fun painting.

The idea was to first spruce up the flat for the elderly gentlemen for Lunar New Year celebrations, and complete the project by the time Lent began.

As coats of new paint covered the walls, the flat started to take on a fresh look. With the addition of some new furniture and electronic gadgets, the flat looked fresh and shiny.

"The project has made us feel that we can depend on each other and we also trust each other to do their best in whatever they do," comments Hakeen Bin Zuhairi.

Ong Wei Yang says, "This project helped us to realize that by working together, we can do things better and faster."

The aim of the project is for students to apply what they learn in school to a real setting, to contribute to society using what they learn and, in the process, nurture them to become men for others. As for the recipients of the fruits of the boys’ labour, they will have an improved standard of living and a sense of being cared for by the community.

Mrs Chan is very proud of her class.

She says, "The project epitomizes what learning in SJI is all about. It is about real life learning, it is about learning to serve the larger community. Knowledge is most precious when it is applied to help those in need."

And this makes for a good lesson to start off the Lenten season.



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