Speech by Guest-Of-Honour Mr Heng Swee Keat, Minister for Education, at The Crest Secondary School Official Opening Ceremony, on Friday, 31 July, at 6:30pm, at Crest Secondary School

Published Date: 31 July 2015 12:00 AM

News Speeches

A very good evening to everyone

Mr Choe Peng Sum
Chairman, Board of Directors
Crest Secondary School

Members of the Board of Directors

Mr Frederick Yeo
Principal
Crest Secondary School

Staff members of Crest Secondary School

Colleagues from MOE and ITE

Distinguished Guests, Teachers, Parents and Students

1I am delighted to join you this evening.

2The last time I was in the school was in 2012, talking to parents about sending their children to this school. The last time I met our students was at Jurong Garden and they were having their cross country run. At that time, they were all energetic and all raring to go. Today when I see them, they are even more energetic, livelier and more confident! Well done students! Let’s give them a big round of applause.

A School Brought to Life

3When I first visited Crest in November 2012 during the Open House, what I saw was that the facilities, training venues, and equipment were all ready. There was no other secondary school campus like Crest in Singapore at that time. The campus is specially designed to support innovative and unique approach to teaching. It is a most impressive campus.

4Teachers and staff were ready too - a passionate, dedicated team. Teachers applied for a chance to be here, and were selected to join Crest. When I visited, they told me how excited they were. I could sense your Principal Mr Yeo’s and all your teachers’ strong passion and sense of mission.

5Crest in November 2012 was a very exciting place - bursting with purpose, promise, and passion. The school was ready. Teachers were ready. But one thing was missing - what was missing? The reason for building a school; the heart and soul of any school - you, the students. At that time, the school hadn’t taken in any students yet. I asked your Principal, “Were you worried that there would be no students?” But now we have so many parents wanting to send their children to Crest!

6Today, back at Crest two and a half years later. I see the same innovative campus, same dedicated team, same unique vision. But now, Crest is completely alive in every way. I see your bright faces, your big smiles, together with your proud parents; your artworks on the walls; your names and pictures and good work in the classrooms; your messages on the noticeboards and your lovely performances.

7And there is much else that we don’t see, like your lessons, learnt in class as well as from life; your personal victories over things that were difficult; your friendships, stories and new memories.

8At MOE, we have been tracking what Mr Yeo and his team of teachers have been doing since then. We are very interested to know how Crest is doing. We learn from the good ideas that are working well at Crest and at the same time we draw lessons that will be useful to every school in Singapore. So I personally ask for regular updates. To see you today is to see the Crest vision coming true. It is something that is very exciting.

9With Crest, we had the vision of a “whole-school” specialised approach to learning, where school leaders, teachers, resources, curriculum, everything come together with the same focus - to provide the best education possible for students eligible for the Normal (Technical) course, for you to learn better and to create opportunities for you to really shine.

10Today, I hear from you that you look forward to coming to school every day, you enjoy your lessons and CCAs, you love your friends, you are inspired by your teachers to do your personal best, and you are excited about your future. Your families say you have blossomed and matured.

11It is still early days, but, seeing you today, hearing your stories shows the Crest whole-school approach is working for you. It shows your future is bright if you keep making the most of your time in school and keep learning. And it encourages and inspires all of us to keep doing our best to create the opportunities for you to be at your best, as we create opportunities for students all over Singapore.

12We started with a vision, plus a school with great facilities and teachers, and you, the students, have brought it to life.

A School Transforming Lives

13It takes people to bring a good school to life, and it takes a good school to transform lives. Let me share two stories I read in your heart-warming book Our Crest Moments.

14This is Javier’s family. Javier’s mum, Mdm Selina Lim, says Javier did not like primary school. But, “Now Javier enjoys going to school, always asking if he can go to school earlier or stay back after class with his friends or alone … As a mother of 2 boys, I felt consoled to see the changes in my son and know that he is in good hands.”

15Javier is with the school’s Arts & Event Management CCA. Mr Yeo tells me that Javier is enthusiastic and committed, he likes being a part of the CCA, is one of those guys you want on your team, because he will do his part to support you, whether on stage or backstage. In fact, Javier is helping out in this event today.

16This is Mr Diman Salleh, with Taufiq, who is in Secondary 3 this year. Mr Diman says that Taufiq is really enjoying his CCA — Pop Band. This helps him enjoy school. His studies have also improved. Mr Diman says, “These are not possible without the teachers (who) have successfully guided him … I have chosen the right school for him.”

17Taufiq will be performing with his Pop Band members later. They are performing “The Best that I Can Be”. I hope that is an inspiration to all Crestans. Here is the best part of Mr Diman and Taufiq’s story. As part of his CCA, Taufiq’s talent as guitarist shone through. This has really bonded him with his father, who loves playing the guitar too. I was so happy to learn their story.

18There are many more such stories. I am very happy Crest has helped our students to grow, and nurtured in them a love for learning and a zest for life.

19At MOE, we work to make sure we make Every School a Good School for our students. Javier’s and Taufiq’s stories show that Crest is a good school, because it is shaping minds, building character, transforming lives. Crest understands how Crestans like to learn, and teaches in ways that get our students excited about learning, and that help you see the opportunities in your future.

20Hearing your stories, I see that a good school is a good school because of 3 things. What are these?

21First, a good school is a good school because of caring educators. They make the most of the right teaching facilities, develop the most interesting lesson plans, to fulfil their duty to guide, care, inspire.

22Second, a good school is a good school because of engaged learners, like Javier and Taufiq and all of you. We saw how engaged you were in performing for us! Stay eager to learn, question, experiment, show the world your talents!

23Third, a good school is a good school because of supportive partners. Children learn and grow best when they know they have their parents’ support and love along the way. The Crest story would not be possible without the strong support of all the parents and partners in our community.

24I wholeheartedly say, Crest is a good school. Your teachers are caring, your students are engaged, your parents and partners are with you on this journey. You should be very proud. Congratulations!

25Parents, students, share your stories with your friends and other parents. Spread the word so that more parents can also say - “I am so glad we chose Crest!”

A School with a Lively Community

26Crest has won over not only the hearts of students and your families. I am happy to see the community has embraced the school, and Crest works closely with more than 60 partners.

27My thanks to Minister Grace Fu and community leaders for your support for Crest. My thanks also to the Board of Directors, led by Mr Choe Peng Sum, CEO of Frasers Hospitality Pte Ltd, and Ms Melissa Kwee, CEO of National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre, and all our Board Members, for your commitment and dedication, and for your passion in wanting to bring out the best in everyone in Crest. Your leadership, support and commitment matter greatly, so thank you very much!

28My thanks to all the supporters, and neighbours and friends who give of your time and resources to create opportunities for Crest’s students. Partners offer many kinds of support - from student guidance, character development, community engagement, to industry internships. Today, we thank 12 outstanding partners, who have been staunch supporters since day one of the school. Can we give another round of applause to all our partners and friends of Crest?

29The people who are responsible for breathing life into Crest, day in day out, moment by moment, for transforming lives at Crest, and for fostering a lively Crest community, are the teachers. They chose to join Crest because they believe in the unique vision of Crest. And they stay, and they give their all, because they believe in you - our students. The students give them someone to believe in, and your parents and the community give them the support to do their best for you.

30Let me share a part of a poem by your teacher Ms Abigail Lee:

Every day when I awake,
I am thankful for the blessing of 589 younger brothers and sisters -
People that I can impact, and be impacted by.
So what keeps us going? What keeps me going?
Look up into the sky, and on special days you will find

31The poem stops there. What do you think she sees when she looks up? She sees the blue open sky, which is her students’ future. Students, you are your teachers’ inspiration. And when they teach you, they are pointing you towards your own blue sky. Can we give a big round of applause for all your teachers?

Conclusion

32We are opening Crest Secondary School in a very special year, our SG50 year, the Golden Jubilee of our independence as a nation. In fact, about 2 weeks before National Day. I am excited about the next 50 years for you - you will learn a lot, build great friendships, reach for your dreams, and make a difference in others’ lives.

33To all our students, I wish you all the best. Enjoy your days in school. To parents, please keep giving your children your love and encouragement. See their strengths, their gifts, and help them be their best. To whole Crest team, thank you for bringing out the best in our students. Keep up the meaningful, important work.

34To everyone in the Crest family — Congratulations on the official opening of Crest Secondary School!

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