SINGAPORE – November saw three Catholic educational institutions – St. Anthony’s Primary School, Montfort Secondary School and Hai Sing Catholic School – celebrating their anniversaries and taking stock of their progress over the decades.
St. Anthony’s Primary in Bukit Batok, the oldest among the three, turned 130 on Nov 14 with Archbishop Nicholas Chia celebrating Mass and blessing the school’s new Heritage Gallery.
“We wanted to reconnect with Anthonians of the past with the Heritage Gallery,” vice-principal Timothy Goh told CatholicNews, “while reminding current and future Anthonians of the spirit of the past Anthonians and to live up to that spirit of striving for the best”.
One of the exhibits include a pre-war totem pole, which symbolises the achievements of the school’s scout troop – one of the oldest in Singapore – in the many scouting challenges and competitions they participated in. There is also a director’s diary kept by De La Salle Brother Bernard Jones, principal from 1952 to 1953, chronicling school events and achievements of the students.
Current principal, Thomas Koh, said in his speech that the 130th anniversary also commemorated the school’s Black Bear Scout’s Troop. In addition, it was a reunion for alumni members and ex-staff members from the old premises in Victoria Street to share experiences and stories as a part of preserving the school’s rich history – which is important to build on for present and future Anthonians, he said.
St. Anthony’s Primary, which was once an all-boys school, is the sixth school in Singapore to be built and was initially run by the Portuguese mission. Originally located in Victoria Street, the school has been governed by the De La Salle Brothers since 1939.
In the 1950s, the secondary branch of St. Anthony’s Boy’s School became the current St. Joseph’s Institution and what remained became purely a primary school that started to admit girls after the building of its current campus.
By Darren Boon