Canossa Convent Primary marks 75 years

Front row, from left: Canossian alumni president Ms Veronica Tan, Archbishop William Goh, CCPS principal Ms Grace Tan, Ms Low Yen Ling and Sister Theresa Seow touring the Canossa Heritage Gallery. CCPS celebrated its 75th anniversary and its official
Front row, from left: Canossian alumni president Ms Veronica Tan, Archbishop William Goh, CCPS principal Ms Grace Tan, Ms Low Yen Ling and Sister Theresa Seow touring the Canossa Heritage Gallery. CCPS celebrated its 75th anniversary and its official reopening on Tuesday after its redevelopment in 2013.PHOTO: AZIZ HUSSIN FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

It takes a village to raise a child.

Growing up poor in Merpati Road, lawyer Ms Peggy Yee affirmed this proverb as she remembers how the love and care of the sisters and teachers in Canossa Convent Primary School (CCPS) changed her life.

"I had no school books, no new uniform, no pocket money," she recalled. "It was the nuns who would give me uniforms, used textbooks, food and milk."

The "village" that raised Ms Yee was a five-in-one institution in Sallim Road which had been run by women missionaries since 1941.

Consisting of a primary school, kindergarten, childcare centre, school for the hearing-impaired and a convent for nuns, it was named the Canossian Eduplex in 2001.

Ms Yee was among the alumni present at the primary school's 75th anniversary and its official reopening on Tuesday after its redevelopment in 2013.

The Canossian Eduplex also marked milestone anniversaries, such as the 75th anniversary of the convent and childcare centre.

Ms Yee, also a member of the Canossian Schools' board of management, said that her Primary 2 teacher recognised her language ability with prizes for composition writing.

"I got prizes after that but this was most special because this teacher believed in me, she saw the potential in me," she said. "I use this talent now to serve: to present my clients' cases, push for good causes and speak out for the voiceless."

Parliamentary Secretary (Education, Trade and Industry) and mayor of the South West Community Development CouncilLow Yen Ling - another former CCPS student - was guest of honour at yesterday's ceremony.

Ms Low, together with Archbishop William Goh and provincial leader of Canossian Daughters of Charity, Sister Theresa Seow, officiated the ribbon-cutting ceremony. A heritage gallery supported by the National Heritage Board and a new Eduplex logo were also launched.

The celebrations started with a minute of silence to honour Singapore's former president, Mr S R Nathan, who died on Monday.

In an opening address, Ms Low said: "Mr Nathan was someone who really focused on other peoples' needs, interests and aspirations. As we remember his life, it is only right to pay tribute to his indomitable spirit and compassion."

She said that he encompassed the values that the Canossian institutions believe in.

Describing the primary school as her second home, she said: "I benefited much from the Canossian education. The Canossian sisters and teachers not only taught us compassion and care, they lived and breathed them."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 25, 2016, with the headline 'Canossa Convent Primary marks 75 years'. Print Edition | Subscribe