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Speech by Mr Lawrence Wong, Minister for Education, at Anglican High School's 65th Anniversary Celebration

Published Date: 13 March 2021 08:00 AM

News Speeches

The Right Reverend Dr Titus Chung, Bishop of Singapore;
Mr Alden Tan, Chairman of the School Management Committee;
Principal Khoo;
MOE Colleagues, Alumni, parents, staff and students;
Ladies and Gentlemen.

I'm very happy to join all of you here at the 65th anniversary of Anglican High School.

2. The school has certainly come a very long way since 1956. When the school was founded, the world was certainly a very different place. At that time, this was the only school of the Anglican Church with Chinese as its medium of instruction. The school started with only a principal, just six staff, barely more than 120 students, and they had to carry out lessons at the St Andrew's Secondary School.

3. Two years later, a suitable site was found for the school – this present Upper Changi Road campus, where we are today – and over the years, the school has expanded its facilities and also its school community. Anglican High School was identified as one of the nine schools under the Special Assistance Plan (SAP), and then became an Autonomous School.

4. Through this journey, the school has remained steadfast in its commitment to provide the best education and learning experience for its students and to nurture honourable leaders grounded in character and values.

5. I'd like to once again wish everyone in Anglican High a very happy 65th anniversary. There is a lot of pride in all that you have achieved over these 65 years.

6. We see the values that you have nurtured being lived out in action during this pandemic. For example, it is thanks to the hard work and sacrifices of all the teachers and staff who have been able to keep teaching and learning going and keep our students safe during this period.

7. We have extended vaccination to all our educators. So I want to encourage all of you to get vaccinated as soon as possible, because that's the best way to keep yourself and your students safe during this period.

8. The entire Anglican High School community also came together to contribute to the national fight against COVID-19. We heard just now how students initiated the AHSCares movement to prepare care packages for healthcare workers in Changi General Hospital. School leaders and staff signed up for the Public Service Cares Day to encourage the elderly to take up the COVID-19 vaccination.

9. The Alumni Association also organised itself to support migrant workers, volunteering with the Crisis Relief Alliance to help with the packing and distributing of food and essentials to the workers. I understand that Mr Wee Soon Keong, Chairman of the Alumni Association, was one of the team members who helped to develop a COVID-19 test method that can deliver faster test results.

10. Kudos to everyone for your efforts, and for so readily stepping forward to give back to society in your different ways.

11. These are, of course, unprecedented times. You only need to look back at history to know that there are very few epochal events of this scale in human history, and the dramatic impact that it has had on lives and livelihoods and over such a short period.

12. In many other countries, schools have been closed for months, some even for more than a year, and students have not had the chance to see their teachers face-to-face. And that's why, in many other places, people worry about a lost generation. They worry that children will not only have difficulties catching up with schoolwork because of the lost time, but more importantly, that there will be long-term effects in terms of jobs, incomes, and human potential.

13. And the fact is, we are still grappling with the effects of the pandemic. We see some light at the end of the tunnel with the vaccination, but no one knows how soon this will be over. Whether new unpredictable threats may emerge with the variants and vaccine, and how soon we can emerge out of this pandemic.

14. For us in Singapore, we had to make very difficult adjustments over the past year. We will continue to have to do so for a good part of this year. Hopefully, we can get as many people in Singapore vaccinated as soon as possible, and we will be able to relax some of these measures over time.

15. But in a crisis like this, I think we also get to reflect on what's more important in life – and it's certainly not the material things. I think that it's really about family and the friendships you have through life. It's about having purpose in life, and contributing to a higher calling. And as all of us know, real happiness ultimately can only be found when we go beyond ourselves. When we give, when we serve, and when we look after one another.

16. And we have seen Singaporeans exemplify this spirit in spades throughout the pandemic. We've seen Singaporeans stepping out of their comfort zone, to look out for their fellow citizens and care for the vulnerable and disadvantaged, and also sacrificing their own desires and liberties for the common good.

17. Through it all, we can see that when we stand united, we can tackle all our challenges. And it's this spirit of fellowship, and mutual support that is crucial in bringing Singapore forward.

18. I'm very glad to join the Anglican High family today in this show of solidarity, to set a new record for the largest montage of reusable face masks. I think it is an important symbolism, which captures that shared experience that all of us have had during this period, wearing masks together. It also captures the stories and contributions of different members in the Anglican High School community.

19. Importantly, this idea of being able to set the record, even during this period, is a reflection of the school's spirit of teamwork and excellence, and how you continue to thrive and excel even during difficult times, to keep on reaching and soaring to greater heights.

20. So once again, congratulations to Anglican High School on this very important milestone. Thank you everyone, for your efforts to serve our community and our nation. Thank you very much.