We are forever one

We are forever one
A moment captured in time—Fairfield’s 135th Combined Founder’s Day Service, graced by Minister for Education, Mr Chan Chun Sing

In August 1888, a woman missionary, Miss Sophia Blackmore, started a class for eight Nonya girls in a little rented Peranakan house at Cross Street, which became known as Telok Ayer Girls’ School. Through the years, it expanded and in 1912, under the leadership of Miss Mary Olson, it moved to Neil Road where it was renamed Fairfield Girls’ School in honour of a generous benefactor, Mr James Fairfield, who donated the largest sum of US$5,000 for the new school building. To meet the growing needs of the student population, the school relocated in 1983 to its current Dover campus. Concurrent with this move, the all-girls’ school accepted its first batch of boys and became co-educational; at the same time, it separated into two distinct schools—a primary school and a secondary school. In 2009, these two schools rebranded themselves as Fairfield Methodist School (Primary) and Fairfield Methodist School (Secondary), the names our schools are known by today. Nevertheless, our schools remain very much in one spirit, despite the separation.

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(Left) Guest-of-Honour Ms Low Yen Ling tried her hand at one of the games stalls in the school field (Right) Students made coffee while Minister Chan spoke to award winners and their parents

This year, we celebrate our 135th anniversary with the theme “Flourishing as ONE Fairfield”. With Covid-19 somewhat behind us, we were determined to rebound with several celebrations to commemorate this momentous year!

To kick-start the celebrations was our long-awaited Oh! It’s Fairfield Carnival on 29 April 2023. Organised once every five years, the Carnival has served as a bridge between past and present students and staff, and as a platform for connecting friends and family. It was a privilege for us this year to invite and bless beneficiaries of various organisations such as the Singapore Association of the Visually Handicapped, the South West Community Development Council (CDC), Grace Orchard School and residents from St John’s–St. Margaret’s Nursing Home. Jubilant cheers and applause reverberated when the Mayor of the South West District, Ms Low Yen Ling, graced the occasion as Guest-of-Honour.

The plethora of games and food stalls planted across the schools, together with two all-time favourites, “Dunk & Splash” and “Horror House”, provided plenty of excitement and fun. The Carnival was indeed a resounding success as we were able to raise over $500,000 in total. The funds will be used for improvement works for the secondary school, such as upgrading the audio system and seats, increasing seating capacity and replacing the parade square flooring. The primary school will use the funds they raised to build an automatic irrigation system to reduce wastage of water, replace the school intercom system and revamp the three existing IT hubs to provide more spaces for students to do collaborative work and develop 21st century skills.

Next up on the calendar was a musical play, titled, Fairfield! The Musical, which was a collaboration by both Fairfield Methodist Schools, to highlight our rich history, honour its past achievements and inspire our future generations. The show was written and directed by Mr Dwayne Lau, with music composed by alumna Ms Elaine Chan. Four sold-out shows were staged on 28 and 29 July 2023 at the Victoria Theatre. Our Guest-of-Honour for the Gala Night on 29 July was Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies, Mr Heng Swee Keat. The musical rekindled cherished memories with stories of the past to the present day, offering a captivating narrative to honour the profound legacies of those who had served selflessly, and likely inspired many in the audience to continue to contribute and pay it forward to future generations. Many volunteers and stakeholders from the Fairfield community came together to support the musical in various ways. Friendships were forged and deepened across both schools, and values such as empathy and teamwork were called to the fore as our students joined in performing together as “ONE Fairfield”.

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Guest-of-Honour, Minister Heng Swee Keat, interacted with the entire cast after the Gala Show
A scene that captured Fairfield's history as an all-girls' school with both primary and secondary students prior to 1983
A scene that captured Fairfield's history as an all-girls' school with both primary and secondary students prior to 1983

The 135th anniversary celebrations culminated with a Founder’s Day Service on 4 August 2023, graced by the Education Minister, Mr Chan Chun Sing. He spent time interacting with school leaders, student leaders, award winners and parents prior to the service.   During the service, the two principals of our schools, Mdm Law Li Mei (Primary) and Mr Wee Tat Chuen (Secondary), delivered a combined speech that highlighted the mission and achievements of both schools. In a stirring message, Minister Chan encouraged all Fairsians to use their God-given talents and blessings to bless others “beyond yourself, beyond your school and beyond the here and now”.

No matter how many years will pass, our schools will continue to pursue the same mission, which is to provide a holistic education to nurture leaders of good character, equipped to serve God, nation, community and school, to the glory of God.

The four houses of the school took centre stage in one scene of the musical
The four houses of the school took centre stage in one scene of the musical

By Chua Wei Wei and Choe Wai Leng, teachers at Fairfield Methodist School (Primary) and Fairfield Methodist School (Secondary) respectively. / Photos courtesy of Fairfield Methodist School (Primary) and Lightedpixels Photography