After Sabah tragedy, students and teachers at Tanjong Katong Primary try to move on

Tanjong Katong Primary School pupils singing the national anthem during morning assembly.
Tanjong Katong Primary School pupils singing the national anthem during morning assembly. ST PHOTO: CHEW HUI MIN
Tanjong Katong Primary School Principal Caroline Wu addressing the school during morning assembly.
Tanjong Katong Primary School Principal Caroline Wu addressing the school during morning assembly.ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM
Tanjong Katong Primary School Principal Caroline Wu addressing the school during morning assembly.
Tanjong Katong Primary School Principal Caroline Wu addressing the school during morning assembly. ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM
Flowers at the school entrance to welcome Tanjong Katong Primary School pupils back on first day of school.
Flowers at the school entrance to welcome Tanjong Katong Primary School pupils back on first day of school. ST PHOTO: CHEW HUI MIN
The school has put up selected messages from the tribute corner for the pupils and teachers who lost their lives on Mount Kinabalu.
The school has put up selected messages from the tribute corner for the pupils and teachers who lost their lives on Mount Kinabalu. ST PHOTO: CHEW HUI MIN
Board with messages for the late teachers and pupils at Tanjong Katong Primary School.
Board with messages for the late teachers and pupils at Tanjong Katong Primary School. ST PHOTO: CHEW HUI MIN

SINGAPORE - Life is slowly returning back to normal at Tanjong Katong Primary School (TKPS), less than a month after a 5.9-magnitude earthquake struck Sabah.

A group of 29 pupils and eight teachers from TKPS were on a school expedition to Mount Kinabalu when the quake hit on June 5. Seven pupils and two teachers from the school lost their lives that day.

Pupils and staff returned for the new school semester on Tuesday morning, after the month-long June school holiday. Several teachers and pupils wore grim faces, knowing that their schoolmates and teachers are no longer with them.

At the school entrance, balloons and sunflowers, with the message 'little bravehearts and courageous teachers', welcomed the pupils back to the partial-session school.

"We are all very saddened by the loss. And as a nation, Singapore mourned together with Tanjong Katong (Primary School)," said TKPS principal Caroline Wu on Tuesday. "However, we will be there for one another, and I know we can do it as a school."

She was addressing about 700 pupils from the primary 3 to 5 levels, at the morning assembly.

Mrs Wu also asked for pupils to be respectful to those affected, including pupils whose siblings died in the quake, and to be compassionate to their friends and teachers.

"We are healing as a community, and we will bounce back and emerge stronger," she added

After the assembly on Tuesday, instead of the usual lesson, pupils returned to their form classes where their teachers shared ways of coping with the disaster and pupils talked about their feelings.

The Education Ministry has also deployed new staff to the school, including two counsellors to provide support to affected pupils and staff.