For the first time since its founding in 1879, one of Singapore's oldest schools has an alumni association of its own.
The Raffles Girls' School (RGS) Alumnae was formed last year after RGS approached some of its old girls to set up a formal group.
Before this, its alumni could join only the Old Rafflesians' Association (ORA), which includes alumni from Raffles Institution.
"In view of RGS being an institution with a history that spans 135 years, having an alumnae association helps in giving RGS alumnae a formal association to connect with other alumnae and the school," said RGS in a statement.
Lawyer Leong Choi Fun, 60, who heads the new RGS Alumnae, said one of the perks of having an independent alumni organisation is the ability to set financial and accountability policies with a free hand. If the association dissolves, for example, all its funds will go to RGS rather than RI.
"And for a school with a 136-year-old history, it's very strange to not have our own alumni association," she said.
The 150-member association has helped raise more than $30,000 for RGS, including $10,000 for its New Campus Development Fund, which was presented to the school during its Founder's Day celebrations last month. The school will move to new, larger premises in Braddell Road in 2019.
At the Founder's Day event, it also presented its first awards of $1,000 in cash spread over two years to two students, who will also get to be mentored by other former students as they graduate from the school, go to university and enter the workforce.
The awards are given to those who demonstrate excellence in leadership and character.
"Recipients have an 'older sister' to walk through a certain season of time with them," said Ms Patricia Liu, who is vice-president of the association. "Hopefully, we can also help them become emotionally strong, have a sense of excellence not just in their studies but in other areas as well, and inculcate the value of giving back to the school and the society."
Mrs Carmee Lim, 75, who headed RGS from 1988 to 1999, recalled that a similar association was set up as a chapter under the ORA shortly after she became principal, and this chapter still exists. "And we are still a family. It's just that RGS felt that we needed more space to do our own thing."
Ms Leong said she agreed to take on the role of president to give back to the school that holds many sweet memories for her.
"I've made so many good friends there, and we still meet every year," said Ms Leong, who has helped the school in fund-raising projects. "If I have to raise funds, all I need to do is send out one SMS, and they all respond."