Happenings, News

They gave 51 years of service to schools

Awards for Grace Kwee and Eric Chan

ACCORDING to Miss Grace Kwee, our first Christian ministry worker recruited to work in the Methodist schools and a recipient of the 30-year Long Service Award, the Methodist Schools’ Get-together was started about 30 years ago to give the staff an opportunity to get to know one another and be encouraged that we are a part of the body working together for God in the schools.

She remembered with fondness how she used to minister to students from three schools at the same time and they were in different parts of the island! Besides, she assisted at camps at other Methodist schools and got together members of the churches to provide catered food to students in a school when the canteen was not operational yet.

Another award winner, Mr Eric Chan, has served faithfully as the Chairman of School Management Committee (SMC) of Geylang Methodist Secondary and Primary Schools for 21 years. He had served under four bishops.

In 1982, the school, then known as Geylang Methodist Girls’ School, had only a small staff of 25 and a student enrolment of about 500. In the blueprint to provide new generation schools, the Government gave the SMC an ultimatum – either relocate or merge.

The SMC made a pivotal decision to relocate as two schools – primary and secondary – and at a whopping cost of $1.4 million, our share of the cost. With help from churches, well-wishers and various fund-raising projects, the schools raised 50 per cent at the end of three years.

Just when the school had the full amount at the end of the sixth year, the Government revised its policy – aided-schools need to pay only 10 per cent of the cost. This meant the schools were blessed with a surplus windfall which was later used for the building of a four-storey block and conversion of the rifle range to an air-conditioned hall at the Secondary School and the recent PRIME upgrading at the Primary School.

Under Mr Chan’s leadership, the schools had progressed physically and academically, aspiring to be the best in the area. Mr Chan is especially happy to see the schools used as preaching points for outreach in the area, starting with the hall at the Secondary School and now the auditorium at the Primary School.

Mr Eric Chan receiving his Long Service Award from Bishop Dr Solomon. Miss Grace Kwee (left) being served her morning tea by Miss Mabel Wee.