Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong poses with Montfort students before a dinner to launch the Montfort 100 Fund.

Montfortians – principals, teachers, students and ex-students – have exemplified what it means to be a “man for others”.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong made this observation during the launch of the Montfort 100 Fund on April 9.

Alumni, current students, teachers, principals and Gabrielite Brothers were among those who attended the centennial fundraising dinner for the junior and secondary schools, held at the Four Seasons Hotel.

The event aimed to raise funds for enhanced school facilities, financial assistance for needy students, as well as scholarships and bursaries to further develop students and sportsmen.

Mr Lee, the guest-of-honour, paid tribute to various Montfortians. He noted how the late Mr Teo Kah Leng, returned to his alma mater to serve as teacher as well as principal of the primary section for almost 40 years.

He even continued to coach his former students after they graduated when they sought his help to improve their English for work, said Mr Lee.

Many Montfort alumni have also gone on to become leaders. The schools have produced two government ministers – Mr Lim Boon Heng and Dr Lee Boon Yang – and two Members of Parliament Yang – Mr Ng Kah Ting and Dr Augustine Tan, said Mr Lee.

Other alumni have also “done very well” in their chosen fields, such as Prof Quek Tong Boon, the Defence Ministry’s chief defence scientist, Mr Lee noted. Prof Quek was involved in Singapore’s first commercial earth observation satellite that was launched last year, and which is “working well in outer space”.

National badminton player Derek Wong, a Montfortian, won a silver in the men’s single at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, and more than a dozen alumni have also joined the priesthood, including Archbishop William Goh, Mr Lee added.

He noted how the Montfort Schools focus on values-driven education and character development. For example, the schools partnered with the Children’s Cancer Foundation in the Hair for Hope event last year during which students and members of the public shaved their hair to raise funds for the foundation.

The project raised close to $40,000 and helped students “empathise with young cancer patients and build compassion”, said Mr Lee.

Mr Lee highlighted the initiative of student Princeton Toh (above) in leading a project to show appreciation for non-teaching school staff such as cleaners, canteen vendors and administrators.

He also singled out Pri 5 student Princeton Toh, as an example of how Montfort students demonstrate exemplary behaviour and leadership even at a young age.

Toh, a prefect, recently led his peers in a project called Friends of Singa in which they showed appreciation to non-teaching staff such as cleaners, canteen vendors and administrators. He encouraged his fellow students to write appreciation notes and make them into posters to present to these staff.

In his speech, Mr Lim Boon Heng, patron of the Montfort Alumni and advisor to the Montfort Centennial Celebrations Organising Committee, shared that the dinner was to raise $1 million to improve theatrette and media production facilities, bursaries and scholarships, and provide financial assistance for needy students.

So far $840,000 have been raised as of April 9 morning, he said.

Mr Lim, who studied at Montfort from 1955-1966, from Pri 1 to Pre-U 2, said, “The [Gabrielite] Brothers and my teachers taught me values that guided me through my life.” Some of his reflections on this experience will be published in a book in November, he said.

The dinner also saw Mr Lee presenting mementoes to the schools’ major donors, and musical performances by students. 

By Christopher Khoo
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