Features, Highlights

Bishop on why generations of ACSians thrive

ACS 125th Anniversary Combined Thanksgiving Service

■ Christian values ■ Holistic education
■ ACS spirit of excellence and service

GENERATIONS OF ACSIANS have thrived in the special environment of sound Christian and moral values, holistic education, and the ACS spirit of excellence, service and loyalty.

Stating this, Bishop Dr Robert Solomon said the ACS (Anglo-Chinese School) brand of education is based on the biblical vision of holistic education – the education of the mind, heart and spirit.

In biblical days, parents and elders were urged to teach and remind their children to love God with all their minds, heart and spirits (Dt. 6). ere was a close connection between education and spirituality. e fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge (Prov. 1:7).

Elaborating, the Bishop said that the ACS brand of education:

• Has to do with providing a world view and something to live for that is larger than ourselves – it seeks to promote the love of God and godliness;

• Emphasises the proper education of the mind – we have worked hard to seek academic excellence in our students, and we must continue to help our students to make good use of their minds, to excel in their thinking skills;

• Involves the proper education of the heart – relational skills are essential in ensuring that a student becomes a helpful and useful member of the community.

“We are thus committed to continue providing the ACS brand of education to produce students with razor-sharp minds, kind and compassionate hearts, and godly and moral lives, people with an educated mind, heart and spirit. is task cannot be achieved by just a few idealistic and optimistic people. It is a task of the entire community.

“Our roots are established in the long tradition of education, from the teaching of Jesus when He declared that learning and knowing the truth will set people free, to the observations of John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, who in his sermon “On the Education of Children,” set out an understanding of the human condition and the therapeutic and transforming power of education, to Bishop William Oldham who when establishing ACS, spelled out its objectives: namely to produce men and women with sharp intellect, deep wisdom, and godly integrity.”

Bishop Dr Solomon was delivering his message at the ACS 125th Anniversary Combined Thanksgiving Service at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on March 1 – ACS Founder’s Day. Present were more than 9,000 students, principals, teachers and alumni of the ACS Family of six schools – ACS (Junior), ACS (Primary), ACS (Barker Road), ACS (Independent), ACS (International) and Anglo- Chinese Junior College. There is a seventh school in Jakarta.

Basing the text of his sermon on Matthew 7:24-28, the Bishop told the gathering: “We must not only take care of our roots, but we must also ensure that we are fruitful, bearing much fruit that will bring glory to God and joy to people. I am speaking mainly of the kind of people that our schools produce. We must keep producing in greater measure people with sound character, superb competencies, and strong compassion for the poor and needy, people who will use who they are and what they know and are able to do, to serve God and others as a lifelong practice.

“In its illustrious history, ACS has already shown this in a wonderful way. We must continue to do this, in ever increasing measure. Our world is changing rapidly, and with it we meet a growing number of challenges in all spheres of life. Our holistic education will go a long way in ensuring that our students will be prepared to adapt, innovate and tackle the challenges in a way that will draw from resources deep within our heritage, as well as respond effectively to our constantly changing environment.

“We have always believed that the truly educated person is one who not only has the facts and the skills, but also the character. His education would be all rounded and would involve a process not only of information but also of formation.”

Earlier, the Guest-of- Honour, Dr Ng Eng Hen, Minister for Education and Second Minister for Defence, noted that “what started out as a vision, a prayer and a hope in 1886 with humble beginnings in a shophouse at Amoy Street with just 13 pupils has proliferated into a stable of remarkable institutions that have produced generations of leaders across the broad spectrum of arts, sports, business, science, academia and Government. They are too numerous to name”.

He also noted that many alumni had followed the example of ACS’ founder, Bishop William Oldham, to serve people and improve society. ACS has excelled in various fi elds of endeavour, led by men and women who embodied the ACS spirit of giving and serving the school and the community.

Looking ahead, Dr Ng, who is an ACSian, said ACS must continue to do what it does best – build men and women of character, who excel and serve to improve themselves and the lives of those around them, build men and women who will respond to a higher calling and challenge.

The ACS schools must also continue to emphasise community service. This is important, especially for ACS students because in the minds of many Singaporeans, ACS is seen as the school for the privileged, even the elite.

Thirdly, the ACS education must produce independent learners but who know what and why they believe. In today’s modern society, the challenge is too much information from diverse sources. Said Dr Ng: “In that context, we must build into our students a moral compass which equips them to test a surfeit of ideas and lifestyles.

They must learn how to reject those which harm them and society and hold fi rm to values that will stand the test of time.”

The stadium roared to life when the six principals sang the inspirational song, “You Raise Me Up”. As each of them took turns to sing a line, their respective students cheered them on and sang along with great gusto. It was their special item of “Song of Praise and Unity” just before Dr Ng rose to speak.


ACS Foundation set up to help needy students and serve the community

THE ACS FAMILY of six schools commemorated its 125th Anniversary with the setting up of the Anglo-Chinese Schools Foundation, an approved charity.

Announcing this at the Combined anksgiving Service at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, Mr Richard Seow, Chairman of the ACS Board of Governors, said:

“The ACS Foundation will be a major platform and resource for all the ACS schools, where students past and present can reach out and make a positive difference in our schools and in our communities.”

He said money raised for the foundation would also create more scholarships for the needy students.

But, he said, most significant of all is that “today is a day to give thanks to God, a day for praise and remembrance for God’s Grace, God’s Love and God’s Blessings that He has so richly given us through Anglo-Chinese School”

Today, he added, “is indeed a day to give thanks and remember”:

ACS’ founder, Bishop William Oldham; the Church for its unstinting support, guidance and prayers throughout our history; Singapore’s leaders who have made education a priority and fostered an environment that has allowed the ACS brand of education to grow and flourish; the ACS benefactors; the principals past and present and teachers and staff past and present; generations of dedicated governors, OBA committee members, parents, Old Boys and Girls who have each played their significant role – sometimes recognised but often not – in building ACS into the One ACS that it has become today.

“We must remember our roots, our heritage and our mission. Our growth and success have created a very strong tie that binds us in the ACS Family but it is also an important tie that binds us as a community, as a people and as a nation.

“At the ACS Family of schools, our focus must continue to be on our students. To develop each student to his or her maximum potential. To allow them to achieve a truly well-rounded education, where success and results are not for selfish gain or ends in themselves but rather as a means to help others and contribute to our community and nation.”

Stories by Peter Teo Pictures by Daniel Lie