Saturday, June 20, 2015

Getting to know the Alumni and the people who loved CS.

SMK Convent Sentul 75th year Diamond Jubilee celebrations provided the golden opportunity for me and CS to get to know the Alumni. New friendships were forged as we worked and  prayed together for the many events lined up for the Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

Datin Baljit, the President of the Alumni first introduced me to Neela in 2014. Neela volunteered to work on the Heritage Room. Initially we connected only through what apps and google drive media. She came several times to collect old pictures and to look at the set up.   She introduced me to Agnes who worked tirelessly with her on the Heritage Room. I saw the humility and deep love of CS  in Neela 's heart. She worked with  great dedication quietly on many things - the concepts and the story line of the wall displays.When Agnes flew in from overseas, she encouraged Neela greatly as they went doing many things and  any thing and everything that was needed for the room - from photo stating to printing to etc etc. The very last night before the launch, they stayed back and worked till late into the night. These two lovely ladies from the batch of 1972 gave their heart and soul and hands to prepare the Heritage Room.

From left:
Datin Baljit, Ms Navam, Neela, Andre Duarte, Tan Tee Hwa and Agnes

I really enjoyed how Neela, Agnes and Ms Navam  interacted with my Heritage student emcees Kamalashini, Adriana and Lai Ying Ying. They listened to our students practicing their presentation. They corrected, They cajoled. They encouraged and they praised and made my girls bloom in confidence and competency.Ms Navam is the undisputed  historian of the school since she is both an ex-student and an ex-teacher. Ms Navam is proud to share the same age as CS. Agnes is the media relations queen. I saw her superb organizational skills on handling the finances and the media. Kudos ..ladies!


                                                  The walls speaks. 
Our illustrious ex-students with many authors, sportswomen and success stories
                     inspire our present girls to rise as their Big Sisters
                              have risen above  challenging backgrounds and circumstances.

Young and old together rejoicing in the Beloved Heritage Room
Seated from left:
Ms Navam, Sister Daniel Ee, Sister Teresia, Sister Benedict, Sister Luke

The new and the old badges speak of
 how we in the present can connect with those from the past
 to build a beautiful picture for CS in the future.

We had many visitors  on the much awaited morning of 8th May 2015. Apart from the Heritage Room, the visitors also interacted with our students and teachers on the Interactive Academic Carnival as well as on the Heritage Trail

Tai Yoke Lin and her daughter watching and listening
 to Farhana 5A demo on Redox experiments.

I took Tai Yoke Lin and her daughter to the science lab.Our students demonstrated fun magical experiments with confidence. Tai Yoke Lin is an ex-headgirl of CS in 1970. She was an Asean scholar. She also graduated with a BA from Harvard University and a M. Phil from Cambridge. She is a true inspiration to us to walk the pathways of success with humility.

Many visitors - young and old thronged the school grounds. Ex-students, ex-teachers, ex principals, students and teachers from CS and newspapers media came with great anticipation. They were not disappointed. Three other schools and teachers from other schools thoroughly enjoyed our Interactive Carnival. A TV media crew was there to catch our teachers and girls in action. Some of the nuns had not been back for many years. It was sheer joy to see them re-connecting withe the students and the teachers and long lost friends.

 Sister Mary Agnes.
She remains the last teaching sister in Malaysia
and she retired from SMK Convent Sentul in 2004


Video shows Mr Paul Lim, one of our generous donors from Inta Bina enjoying the interactive science experiment. Observe the smile playing on his face when he succeeds. He says he enjoys our school. His joy at watching the students truly learn engage actively in meaningful real learning is infectious! Our CS girls are also very skilled in sharing the active learning  with young and old visitors . This could be one reason why CS receives generous contributions  from donors. They enjoy seeing the "Hands On Heads On and Hearts On" learning in CS.

Hotel placard display

The day did not end then. We continued with the Gala Dinner at the Renaissance Hotel. This time the heroines were Andre Duarte, Premala, Guna, Jane, Agnes and countless others. They worked very hard to give us a lovely yummylicious fun dinner! Andre set the happy mood moving with her grand unique introduction. We were blessed by the presence of His Grace, the Archbishop Julian Leow as our guest of honor.

Group photo before the dinner commenced.
Sister Benedict, Sister Mary, Madam Tan Tee Hwa, His Grace, the Archbishop Rev Julian Leow,
Mr Lee Geok Ai, Pn Rose, Mrs Lee Geok Ai,
Sister Luke, Sister Teresia and Datin Cheam.

Festive ambience

Andre Duarte the Chairman of the Gala Dinner Committee

The dinner saw many special guests. The ex-students were thrilled to meet Sister Rita - the ex principal of SMK Convent Sentul. Thank you Andre for arranging to bring Sister Rita safely here and home as she is frail and precious. For Sister Rita, it was one rare and much treasured opportunity to  to meet her ex students and friends.

(From left) Sister Teresia Mowe, Sister Rita Rodrigues and Sister Mary Agnes sharing a light moment at the gala dinner.
Sister said. “I feel so happy to see all the former students, regardless of their religion, coming together and having fun. It is just like they were back in school.
“Convent Sentul is like home. These women have all come home now and are rekindling their past memories with old friends. Everybody is so happy and I can see a lot of bonding,” she said.
The above is quoted from the Star Paper write up 1st June 2015 on the Gala Dinner 
Pn Salmah and the golden girls cutting the 75th anniversary cake amidst confetti.

Happy girls up stage

The happy party went on and one till way past midnight. The girls had a grand time dancing with one another and with the nuns. I shall not post the  pics of the girls dancing through the night.

Andre and Datin Baljit presenting the cheque from sponsors

One of the cheques received for the school.
And the dinner raised RM100K for the school. Thank you Andre and your committee for organizing a very enjoyable dinner. Thank you for bringing in much of  the generous donations . Thank you Datin Baljit and the friends and ex-students.

Mr and Mrs Lee Geok Ai presenting souvenirs to
Mr and Mrs Selvaraja, our big time donor since 2011.

Thank you Pn Rose and all in the PIBG for your great support. Thank you Mr Lee Geok Ai for all the generous donors you have brought to support CS. Thank you to all of you from all of us here in CS.. Your hard and heart work is truly appreciated.

The story does not end here. The story continues with the girls and teachers and stakeholders and you.

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.