Class, attention... Barclays trophy is coming to school

No Monday blues at Hong Kah Secondary as excited students pose for pictures with the Barclays Premier League trophy won by Chelsea last season.
No Monday blues at Hong Kah Secondary as excited students pose for pictures with the Barclays Premier League trophy won by Chelsea last season.PHOTO: DIOS VINCOY JR FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

Morning assembly yesterday at Hong Kah Secondary School came with a surprise announcement - the Barclays Premier League Trophy would be making an appearance later in the morning.

The students felt the same as Abdul Razak, the school's head of department for student development, character and citizenship education, some days earlier.

"I first heard about it last Thursday but did not believe it until the call from Barclays came. I thought it (the trophy) would go to a school like the Singapore Sports School, for instance," he said.

"Even my students asked me whether I was joking when we made the announcement on Monday morning before the event," the 40-year-old added.

Initial disbelief was swept aside later when the students took turns to pose with the trophy during recess.

They got to keep a photo taken by the folks from Barclays who had asked The Straits Times to recommend a school to take the trophy - won by Chelsea last season - to.

SYMBOL OF EXCELLENCE

Having such a famous trophy at close proximity can inspire our boys to work for their dreams.

SUNG MEE HAR, principal of Hong Kah Secondary School

Excited cheers of "Chelsea" and "Manchester United" were heard as the students examined the engraved names of past and current Premier League champions on the prized silverware.

Said Ishazwan Azhar, 16, captain of the Jurong West school's B Division football team: " We are very appreciative that this opportunity is given to Hong Kah."

Muhammad Haikal, 14, described the occasion yesterday as a "once in a lifetime opportunity".

Hong Kah principal Sung Mee Har, 46, hopes the privilege accorded to the school will spark off more success on the field.

"It (the event) is affirmation of the good effort we have put into our football programme," she said.

"Having such a famous trophy at close proximity can inspire our boys to work for their dreams and passions," she noted.

Hong Kah did the double in the boys' football B and C Division nationals in 2012 and 2014.

The school are still in the hunt for honours in both divisions this year.

Marc Lim, who is The Straits Times' sports editor, said: "With Singapore becoming a choice destination for top sporting teams, The Straits Times is always looking for ways to bring elite sports to the everyday Singaporean."

He added that "Hong Kah's football team has proven itself to be a force in its own right, and we felt that bringing the Barclays Premier League Trophy to their school would inspire the sporting aspirations of these young athletes".

At the Barclays Asia Trophy on July 15 and 18 at the National Stadium, some students will also get to watch their football heroes in action after Barclays gave 50 tickets to the school for the July 15 matches.

"The power of football is also about bringing communities together. It is great that we are able to bring the Barclays Premier League Trophy to a heartland Singapore school, particularly one as passionate about, and successful in, football as Hong Kah Secondary School," Barclays spokesman John McGuinness said.

"Excitement around the Barclays Asia Trophy is building, and for any true football fan in Singapore, next week will be a special one."

The trophy, meanwhile, will be paraded at private events here.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 07, 2015, with the headline 'Class, attention... Barclays trophy is coming to school'. Print Edition | Subscribe