Archbishop William Goh with the newly commissioned principals (from left): Ms Pauline Fun, Mdm Rachel Ang, Ms Ow Yang Jing Yi, Mrs Karen Tan, Mdm Rebecca Ng, Ms Loh Sing Huay and Mr Martin Tan. Photo: VITA Images

Patricia Ang

Catholic educators should be proud of themselves if they are able to transform the lives of students, especially those who are weak, dysfunctional, who come from difficult backgrounds, and yet today are successful in society, said Archbishop William Goh at the Commencement of School Year Mass.

In his address to principals, vice-principals, teachers, Archdiocesan Commission for Catholic Schools (ACCS) commissioners and parents, he reminded them to be clear of their mission, which is to form young people in understanding their vocation in life and their identity while nurturing them in truth and love.

“A good educator is one who brings out the best in each young person to form them according to what our Lord has blessed them with. Everyone has a distinctive part to play in society. In Catholic education we want to treasure every young person. We need to give them a moral and a spiritual life as this will ultimately help them to find true happiness and real meaning in life,” said Archbishop Goh at the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd on Jan 27.

He reminded the congregation that every member of the Church is responsible for the formation of our young people. The fact that we are one body with many parts shows that we need to collaborate to bring up the standard of Catholic education with the cooperation of the principals, teachers, volunteers, alumni, parents, Church organisations, commissioners and social institutions.

Seven newly appointed principals of Catholic schools were commissioned during the Mass. They are:
1. Ms Ow Yang Jing Yi (Canossaville Preschool)
2. Mrs Karen Tan (CHIJ Our Lady Queen of Peace)
3. Mdm Rachel Ang (CHIJ Secondary)
4. Ms Pauline Fun (CHIJ St Joseph’s Convent)
5. Mdm Rebecca Ng (Holy Innocents’ High School)
6. Mr Martin Tan (St Gabriel’s Primary School)
7. Ms Loh Sing Huay (St Stephen’s School)

The commissioning ceremony also saw current principals and vice-principals receiving a specially crafted candle from retired principals to remind them of the presence of Christ in their respective schools.
Many who attended described the occasion as a heart-warming experience.

Ms Ow Yang Jing Yi, principal of Canossaville Preschool, shared that it was her first time attending the Mass and she found it very meaningful. “As an educator in a Catholic school, our mission is beyond teaching children the academics but also developing their morals and values, and forming their characters. At Canossaville Preschool, we have children who have hearing loss, and children who come from disadvantaged families. I aspire to help these children bridge the gap with other pupils.”

Ms Loh Sing Huay, principal of St Stephen’s School, shared that she felt humbled and blessed attending the Mass. “I feel that the whole Church is behind me with the blessings from the Archbishop and everyone, helping me to do what I am called to do – to lead the school well and to fulfil the mission that God has for every child in my school.”

Mrs Regina Julian, a teacher from CHIJ Our Lady Queen of Peace, said, “Our children come with different charisms and talents. As educators, we can get our students to recognise their own ability no matter how weak they are and allow them to enjoy small successes so as to reach for greater heights.”