Saturday, January 17, 2015

2015 is a great new year!

SMK Convent Sentul is just 17 days into the new year 2015. Already, so many exciting things have  happened for us at the school! The exciting lovely events signals a wonderful beginning to our 75th year Diamond Jubilee Celebrations. Our school began as an English-medium school with primary and secondary school sessions. It began with 348 pupils - mostly girls and about 10 little boys, 75 years ago, on the 5th January 1940.

We held our Form 1 Orientation on the 2nd January 2015. Parents and students who came were delighted by our pretty school in a garden concept. Visitors young and old whipped out their phones and took photos of the cheerful yellow sunflowers contrasted against the purple petunias. 

From this perspective with the Gothic style
architecture of the school,
some could be misled to  think
they were in Europe
 and certainly not in a school in Malaysia.

Bees visit our sunflower

The feathery look of the trees leaves adds
a very soft feminine dimension to the school.

Then on the 3rd of January, St Joseph's Catholic church organized the Thanksgiving Mass in gratitude to the Lord Almighty for sustaining the school through 75 years of existence and providing quality education to all races and religions. Thank you Father George Packiasamy for organizing this event. His Grace, the Archbishop Julian Leow very kindly conducted the thanksgiving service in St Joseph church. His Grace,  very graciously walked over from the church and walked through our school after the service. Surely, the anointing of his footsteps rests upon our walkways. This special day also happened to be His Grace's 51st birthday!

His Grace, the Archbishop is delighted to see
the new classrooms standing in the
location of the old caretaker's house.

We  celebrate Archbishop's birthday with great joy!
A very handsome and
youthful looking Archbishop strides
purposefully down
the stairs of SMK Convent Sentul.

The thanksgiving mass was a wonderful time of reunion for the nuns who had served faithfully in our school with many of their ex-students.There were many happy faces and  the sweet memories warmed everybody's hearts.

Standing :Datin Cheam, Geraldine, Sis Lawrece, Sister Elizabeth,
Brother Ken Wong, Pn Tan, Mrs Rozario, Ms Anne.
Seated: Sister Teresia Mowie, Sister Luke, Sister Anne Tan, Pn Vimala Mathews

Awed to meet Sister Anne Tan - the ex headmistress
 of SMK CS from 1965 to 1969.

The joy of meeting Sister Teresia Mowie,
the ex principal of CS in the eighties.

Mrs Vimala Methews, ex principal of CS in 1989
 is simply very happy to walk through
the school grounds once again.

I apologize for the shaky photo but
the joy of the ex-school principal
 meeting and recognizing her ex-student
and vice versa is unmistakable.

Sister Teresia, Madam Maria Tan and Sister Elizabeth
holding their bouquets like beautiful young brides.

The young and the old -
Dimple bridges the generation gap
by serving the retired nuns.

The young and the old
Vika and Sister Anne Tan

Through the corridors of time.

Was the canteen like this back then?

The lanes divide.

The heartwarming comments of students on
meeting Mrs Rozario, their excellent ex-accounts FB

Then on 5th Jan 2015 itself, we celebrated the school's 75th birthday with two birthday cakes. What an auspicious date! The numbers were were so balanced and symmetric 5/1/15.

Blessed 75th Birthday SMK Convent Sentul!

A quiet moment of birthday joy.

Shirlyn, Tang Chee and the table tennis coach Winson Teoh also dropped by the school on this auspicious date. They wanted to survey our table tennis equipment to see how they could help to improve table tennis standards in our school. Shirlyn made a generous offer to donate 300 ping pong balls and the balls catching net and also the partitions needed for the tournament.

Shirlyn and Tang Chee posing by our happy sunflowers

Tang Chee and Winson sweats it out and fix the net
 to catch the ping pong balls on the 10th Jan 2015.
This will help the girls improve their service.

On the 15th Jan 2015, another beautiful and  balanced date 15/1/15, Dr Cheah Yin Mee accompanied by her sister, visits our school. Dr Cheah and her friends under the Big Sisters group has provided funds amounting to RM 18,949.50 in 2014 alone, to provide meals for our needy students.  Dr Cheah,  her family and friends has been doing this faithfully and quietly since 2012. May God's blessings of health and favour come upon you and on all those who render kindness to the needy in CS. Dr Cheah is delighted by the beautiful flowers and upgraded facilities in CS.

Dr Cheah Yin Mee and her friends -The Big Sisters
provide funds for food for the needy in CS since 2012.

She enjoys the view of the pretty petunias

The fixtures in the VIP toilets are in. Thank you Mr Cha.

She checked out our beautifully balanced
colonial looking summer gazebo on her own

The gazebo has 4 benches where we can sit and relax.
The golden thryallis vine creeper is growing fast
and its tendrils keep climbing higher.
The gazebo looks equally captivating by night.

Our beautiful school by dusk.

Our garlic vine creepers in full bloom at this season

This coming Monday, the 19th of Jan 2015, Mr Lee Geok Ai, the chairman of our board of Governors will bring his beloved daughter Helen to address the school assembly. Helen will present generous ang pows, on behalf of her benevolent father to the outstanding students of the PT3 2014. Such an exciting year!

Now if ever you want to visit our school and join our  Diamond Jubilee celebrations and are quite not sure of our whereabouts, do google our location. You will find SMK Convent Sentul, securely ensconced between the church and the market along busy Jalan Sentul, just after Jalan Perhentian.

Monday, December 29, 2014

CS Upgrading December 2014

Mr Lee Geok Ai, Chairman of our board of Governors set up this whatapps group with 11 members. The name of the group defined the purpose - to upgrade SMK Convent Sentul. The time frame for upgrading to be completed?  December 2014. What a challenge! So December 2014 has been very exciting and inspiring because of the single minded determination of 11 men  and their teams. They used their expertise and sacrificed their time and energy to upgrade SMK Convent Sentul in this short time.

Mr Lee first sent me this photo and asked me if I was agreeable to this human sized colonial bird cage gazebo being placed in the school grounds. Agreeable? I loved it!  Of course I consulted with my team of administrators. A unanimous resounding YES!

Next Mr Yap, Mr Lee and Ryan measured the area where we could place this beautiful structure. On the spot, Mr Yap Kok Keong of Delico hand drew the following plan and asked if we like it!  I  was over  the moon!

The gazebo is up and they are doing the pebble wash on its flooring. It has 4 benches. I dream of a "Sound of Music" scene where the song " I am 16 going on 17" was sung in the Austrian summer gazebo. I wonder if my girls will dance in this gazebo like in the scene from the movie. We have chosen golden thryallis vine creepers. I wait impatiently for the plants to adorn the gazebo. 

Since the gazebo blocks out the old signage, the old signage has been removed. Mr Leong and team from Golden Lion climbed the scaffolding to fix the new signage high above the gazebo. What a beautiful glorious sight! They also fixed the new signage to various locations in different parts of the school.

Meanwhile, the prefects' old locker cabinet have been relocated. The prefects' room now has  a brand new locker cabinet designed by Mr Jason.  There is a new table for the computer and an air conditioner has been fitted. The room has been given a new coat of paint FOC by Mr Tan the painter. We are waiting for the roller blinds proposed by Melvin to complete the new look. See and savor the smile playing on Komal's lips as she takes a photo of the upgraded prefects' room. 

Our 67 years old piano has received a new breath of life. It has been repaired and re-varnished. The benches in the foyer were also re-varnished.

Greg, our charming landscaper has proposed a stretch in front of the new classrooms where the sunflower bed will be planted. Wow! I wait for this and hope what will be planted will look like this. There will also be beautiful landscaping around the gazebo. The assembly area has already been planted with trees with branches that sway softly to the breeze. They lend a feathery look to the assembly area.

Mr Yap has installed about 70 pots' hangers all along our covered walkway. Soon the school will be like a garden with plants everywhere, We will also have a vertical garden near the girls' toilets.

En. Najib's long standing toilet has been demolished. In its place, 3 VIP toilets are being built. At this time, the toilets are being tiled. Soon the VIP toilets will be ready. Ryan's men work steadily in rain and shine ( mostly rain in this very wet month of December) They also do the repairs to the cracked flooring and road surfaces. Ryan is a great blessing because he coordinates all the work.

Mr Cha has  kindly donated several air cons to the heritage room and the library and the prefects room. All his works for the school will be done FOC. Thank you Mr Cha. He will also coordinate the plumbing work of the new toilets.

It took Mr Tan and his team almost 3 weeks to strip the many layers of paint on the doors. We discovered in this process there had been layers of dark blue, light grey, maroon red,several shades of yellow and the brown paint you see at the top. 75 years is a long time and these antique doors still stand strong. They are painted the original beautiful blue.

Melvin will do the ID for the heritage room. We have fitted a old style blackboard ( green board actually) in the room for nostalgic sake. Jeremy has done the electrical works for the new toilets, the heritage room, the spot light for the gazebo and the prefects' room. Peter of CGV has re-located our giant gas tanks away.  

The speed with which Mr Lee galvanized the men to work is amazing. His instructions are almost immediately answered to the minute. His directives are followed by " Yes Sir!" Sometimes in the space of 15 minutes, I see whatapps messages to as many 7 people with replies as to what will be done. At the end of each day, the team send photos of what has been accomplished for the day.

I enjoy playing my small part in photographing what is done. Once I photographed the drains with the string near to it. Immediately Mr Lee spotted that the drain's edge were not very straight.  Directives were given. When I next approached the drain section, the guys were leveling the drain's edge with a right angled gadget to keep the drain straight. They told me " Boss kata - tak lurus" Haha!

Thank you kind gentlemen for lending your expertise, time, energy to transform the landscape of SMK Convent Sentul. You have made the school beautiful. "A thing of beauty is a joy forever." ( John Keats) I pray the beauty of CS will add serenity and peace to all who enter her grounds. Shalom.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Reflections on 2014

December has already descended on us. 2014 has flown by so swiftly. 2014 has been an extremely busy year for the school so much so I did not have time to post many events . But I must make time before the year ends and post the many meaningful events that happen even if they are not posted  in chronological order.

One pioneering program the school started this year was the home visitation program. I have this habit of visiting students' home from my times as a form teacher in SMK Padang Tembak. I found home visits to be helpful in building links with my students and in assuring their families we ( the school and the home ) can  work together for the good of the students.

In my stint as principal of  SMK Convent Sentul, I have visited over 20 homes.  This year  I visited more than 7 students, some by myself  and one memorable visit was together with Pn Rose Saadiah - the chairman of the PIBG. When I asked the statistics of my teachers visiting students, I found their statistics dismal. It took some  time and energy to challenge my teachers to make time to visit students who needed attention. When they started visiting the homes, they became enthusiastic about the positive results gained from the visits.

All in all, the afternoon session teachers have visited 21 homes whilst the morning teachers have visited 17 2014.  I am extremely proud of my teachers for rising up to the challenge and for caring enough to visit the homes.

Cik Anis and Pn Norazlina visits and met 
with the father and the student Darshanashree
 from 2 Mawar

Cik Hamidah and Pn Haizan visits and 
encourage the mother of student 
Nurul Ain Fatihah from 2 Mawar

Ustazah Zulita, En Mazwan and En Azmizi visit and 
met the father of a student Anushka Natasha 
from 1 Cempaka

Pn Azemah visit the student and met with her mother
Pn Zuraima visit Lajwanti from 2 K 
and finds out more about the family.

En Jamal and Pn Zainon, PIBG Committee members
and husband and wife team visited student

We were very encouraged when PIBG committee members En Jamal and Pn Zainon joined forces with the teachers and helped visited the homes. Datin Cheam and Pn Wang took time to visit a student on a public holiday due to a crisis call we received there were many  positive outcomes  from the home visits.  The parents realized the teachers really cared about their children. The teachers understood the home situation and the problems faced by the students. Parents and students became more cooperative.

In one particular home, the teacher realized there was no furniture in the whole house. This teacher quickly alerted us of the needy situation. When we reported this during a board meeting, Mr Lee Geok Ai, chairman of the Board of Governors immediately sponsored RM1,4000/- of his own personal funds  to buy a set of sofa and coffee table for the family in time for the festive season. Pn Rose Saadiah  followed up with another visit to the home to ensure the furniture set was sent to the family concerned.

The teachers and the parents selected this furniture set 
which was thens ponsored by by Mr Lee Geok Ai,
 chairman of the Board . The whole process was
 speedily done so that the family would have
 the furniture set in time for their festive occasion.


I want to take this opportunity to say thank you to my wonderful teachers and administrators who took time out from their busy schedules to visit the students home. I also want to thank PIBG members and YDP Pn Rose for sharing the load with us and for Mr Lee's immediate and generous sponsorship. May God richly reward you for your labours. Thank you

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Technology aided learning in and out of class. .

A dream realized

This is a  dream realized! Long ago, I had dreams of a time in space where students could freely use the computer and access the internet in and out of class to facilitate learning. We started this style of learning when  30 brand new desktops were installed in our ICT lab in September 2011. We also installed several LCD projectors in strategic rooms. But never in my wildest dreams, did I  envisage Chromebooks to be used in place of computer desktops for learning. But here it is today, 80 Chromebooks were supplied by YTL Frogasia to SMK Convent Sentul. They opened a whole new world of learning for teachers and students through the FrogVLE.   

5 Anggerik 2014 during their Biology class in August.

These Chromebooks are portable and can be brought to class or to the labs. The 80 units means each student can interact one on one with the Chromebook.The image above shows students who are so totally engaged in their Biology lesson facilitated by Pn Fitri Yanti. They are eagerly and happily surfing for information  on the topic "Meiosis and mitosis" using their Chromebooks.   They interact actively with one another and the computer to digest the information on their screens. This is active and student centered learning!

Learning about mitosis and meiosis on the Chromebook

5 Anggerik 2014  students showing their
unmistakable joy at using the Chromebooks

What's the impact of using computer aided learning? You see happy smiles from the girls and learning is at their pace. The more important element - they are actively involved and understand more better. They can learn during class time as well as out of class time.

Jivanesh and Sor Wei Peng demonstrating their use of the
Chromebooksduring the opening launch of CLIC in UTC Sentul

We also had the joy of witnessing  5  Form 2 girls selected to demonstrate their use of the Chromebooks during the launch of the CLIC ( Creative Learning IT Center ) in UTC Sentul to important guests. The afternoon session teachers and students are extremely proactive in the use of Chromebooks due to En Mazwan and En Azmizi providing the strong technological support needed

Collaborative learning using the Chromebook
Form 2 girls Septemeber 2014.

The sites on Frog VLE. The orange site shows the
the Physics projects.done by 5 Bakawali 2014 students  
The previous batch of Physics students had posted nice work on Physics projects they researched on. So to avoid mixing up the work of this year batch of work from 5 Bakawali 2014, I created a new site specially for them so they could review one another's work and share it with each other. The image below show some of their work which had been uploaded and shared. I enjoyed their creativity especially in their selection of the Youtube movies.

Students can review their friends's work after class hours. These lessons
come with interesting and appropriate Youtube movies

Last year I started a Whatapps group called "Anak Physics." I had students from as far as Subang and Puchong and IB students from private schools as well as our students in this group. Different members would pose videos and questions  on Physics and the active discourse that went on indicate the intellectual activity of the group members in different ways.

We had posted a question  on boiling point.
This was one of the responses from a member to
help the rest understand the animated  discussion
on effects of air pressure boiling point.

Some students could not sleep peacefully until they
fully understood. The joy of the students.
This discussion went on till close to midnight

Some one had posted the answer. A member asked why
the answer was not B.Another member helpfully explained. This
helped the one who understood to articulate her answer clearly
while others who dare not asked also got. the questions and the
answers. All these were done out of class .
Note the time 11.29 pm

The learning skills needed for the 21st century are technology savviness, team work culture  and bilingual language skills.  I hope to see more and more innovative ideas on computer aided learning taking place among students, teachers , parents and administrators. Can we move together in this direction? It will be another dream come true