The new Don Bosco High School in Teuk Thla looms impressively with a statue of her patron standing watch at the entrance.The new Don Bosco High School in Teuk Thla looms impressively with a statue of her patron standing watch at the entrance.While 350 ACTS (A Call to Share) participants were on their annual mission trip to Phnom Penh from Dec 14-20, some got the chance to witness the inauguration of the Don Bosco High School in Tuek Thla, Cambodia, on Dec 15.

The high school was constructed as ACTS wanted to help the Salesian Sisters build a safe and enriching environment for students, as well as to expand it and create a kindergarten, a primary and secondary school, and the latest addition, a high school.

The inauguration ceremony was attended by guest-of-honour, His Excellency Pa Socheatvong, Governor of Phnom Penh and Battambang. Representatives from the major donors, several bishops of Phnom Penh and Battambang, priests, Religious and  officials from various ministries also attended the inauguration.

Governor of Phnom Penh and Battambang, Mr Pa Socheatvong, (third from right) Dr John Lee, founder of ACTS, (in black blazer) and current Salesian Provincial Superior, Sr Teresita Garcia entering the new hall of the Don Bosco High School for the inauguration ceremony.Governor of Phnom Penh and Battambang, Mr Pa Socheatvong, (third from right) Dr John Lee, founder of ACTS, (in black blazer) and current Salesian Provincial Superior, Sr Teresita Garcia entering the new hall of the Don Bosco High School for the inauguration ceremony.
ACTS participants played a huge part by securing the free services of a Singaporean engineer and quality surveyor to supervise the construction of the new high school.

The group which started 10 years ago, also raised more than $1 million through private fundraising efforts, and secured donations from CHARIS and Dutch Foundation Porticus – all of which went into the construction of the $1.8 million building.

During the ceremony, Dr Damian Png, chairman of ACTS, received a government medal on behalf of ACTS.

The highlight of the ceremony was when the school choir sang You Raise Me Up, which moved participants to tears.
“The inauguration of the high school was the realisation of a dream. One which started six years ago and the fruit of the efforts of hundred of selfless ACTS volunteers and friends,” shared ACTS founder, Dr John Lee.

The idea to build a school came when ACTS approached the former Salesian Provincial Superior, Sr Sarah Garcia, and the Salesian Sisters in 2008.

In 2013, the Don Bosco High School welcomed its first batch of female students and their lessons were held in the elementary school. Groundbreaking took place in April, and the corner-stone was laid in September that year.

Lessons began in the new high school in October 2014.

The high school run by the Salesian Sisters has 24 classrooms, with each room able to hold 40 students.

The new school comes with a science laboratory, a home economics hall, a music room, a computer lab and a canteen.

Meanwhile, during the mission trip led by spiritual director Dominican Fr David Garcia, the ACTS education team conducted enrichment activities and lessons on financial literacy, interview skills and personal grooming for girls in vocational levels. There was also a pizza-making masterclass.

Moreover, the ACTS medical team conducted free consultations in several villages including their base in Kampong Speu – a remote and rural village.

Another team went to the Missionaries of Charity Home everyday to do spring cleaning, painting, as well as deliver food items such as rice and cooking oil to the less fortunate in the neighbouring villages.

They also helped the Sisters organise a Christmas party for at least 300 young street children.

During the trip, at least 1,200 love offerings comprising a bucket of rice, cooking oil and other essentials were given out to poor families. 

contributed by: Trixie Yap

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