The rise of mid-tier JCs

Serangoon Junior College: Concert by teachers, annual run boost school's family culture

Students and teachers push one another on while running as far as they can within an hour at Serangoon Junior College's annual event, Will Run.
Students and teachers push one another on while running as far as they can within an hour at Serangoon Junior College's annual event, Will Run.PHOTO: SERANGOON JUNIOR COLLEGE

A thanksgiving concert, packed with song, dance and a touch of acrobatics, has become a biennial tradition and one of the highlights of college life for students at Serangoon Junior College (SRJC).

The performances, though, are not put up by the students.

The stars are the teachers and staff, who try to entertain and motivate the students ahead of their year-end examinations.

 
 
 

The two-hour concert is also one of the JC's few unique activities that build its strong family culture.

Ms Ong Shu Hui, head of department for communications and partnership and last year's thanksgiving concert chairman, said the teachers would rehearse their items at least a month before the concert, on top of their busy schedules.

She added: "We wanted to show the students that, even as educators, we never stop learning."

Last August, teachers from the humanities department donned costumes fitted with light-emitting diodes and danced in the dark, while those from the science department put on a martial arts performance. Even the emcees turned up in interesting costumes and, at one point, they were decked out in minion outfits.

SRJC principal Manogaran Suppiah, who joined the science department to play the drums during their act last year, said: "The students enjoyed the concert and they left feeling that the teachers cared enough to do something for them."

Students said the concert lets them see their teachers in a different light. Second-year student Bryna Foo, 18, was surprised to see her teachers step out of their comfort zones during last year's extravaganza.

"I was touched because I didn't expect them to put in so much effort for us," she said, adding that she had noticed her teachers rehearsing in various parts of the school.

Ms Foo said such events bring the school community closer.

"I feel at home here," she added. "The teachers are like our second parents, they don't just teach us lessons but they also go beyond their duties to encourage and support us."

SRJC also conducts other activities to strengthen bonds among students and teachers, including an annual running event, Will Run, in July.

Introduced in 2008, the endurance event held around the school started as a 10km run. It has since evolved to be an activity in which students and teachers run as far as they can within an hour. The students start training three months before the run and increase their mileage progressively.

Mr Manogaran said: "It isn't a race. The intent is to help them believe in themselves and break physical and mental barriers."

During the activity, students run together in groups so that they can spur one another on.

Second-year student Shen Yi, 18, did not think he could run 10km during the event last year. Prior to running 10km, the longest distance he had attempted was 2.4km, for his annual physical fitness test.

"During the run, there were teachers and friends cheering me on. It was a warm feeling," he added. "We pushed one another on and made sure no one gets left behind."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 15, 2016, with the headline 'Concert by teachers, annual run boost school's family culture'. Print Edition | Subscribe