School mergers

Bonding first for the new Meridian

Former Coral Secondary students (clockwise, from far left) Irdina Zahid, 14, Nadya Yazid, 15, Sit Lixin, 14, and Casandra Lee, 15, with Siglap's Gregg Tey Yi Xiang, 14, Timothy Yeo, 14, Mohamad Wira, 15, and Andrea Atienza, 15.
Former Coral Secondary students (clockwise, from far left) Irdina Zahid, 14, Nadya Yazid, 15, Sit Lixin, 14, and Casandra Lee, 15, with Siglap's Gregg Tey Yi Xiang, 14, Timothy Yeo, 14, Mohamad Wira, 15, and Andrea Atienza, 15.PHOTO: MARCUS TAN FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

When they return to school on Jan 3 next year, students in Sec 2 to 5 at Meridian Secondary School will not be going for their usual classes during the first four days.

It will be an orientation of sorts for the former students of Coral Secondary and Siglap Secondary, which have merged to form Meridian Secondary.

Through level camps and other programmes such as learning their new school song, they will have more opportunities to interact and get to know their new schoolmates at the site of the former Coral Secondary in Pasir Ris Street 51.

Mrs Hilda Thong, Meridian Secondary's principal, said that work on creating a shared identity for the school started in May.

Teachers from both schools put their heads together to come up with designs for a new school crest and uniform, which were finalised after gathering feedback and ideas from students, staff and parents.

Student leaders from both schools have also been collaborating on publicity for the new school, as well as planning orientation for next year's Sec 1 batch.

The new school crest - the letter M formed by two triangles - "represents the unity of Coral and Siglap Secondary School", said Mrs Thong.

There is an emphasis on the arts in the new school, which will offer an applied learning programme in visual communication, as well as design thinking and performing arts programmes. A heritage space has also been set aside so that the two schools' histories will be documented, and work on the project will be completed next year.

Former Coral Secondary student Casandra Lee, who will be in Sec 4 next year, said most of her peers were "quite shocked" when they first found out about the merger.

She said: "We weren't certain about what was going to happen and kept asking questions that we didn't have an answer to."

But getting to know student leaders from Siglap Secondary through their joint activities and seeing the new school identity take shape have assuaged her initial concerns.

"We now already have a bond because of the activities, and most people are looking forward to the new school year."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 19, 2016, with the headline 'Bonding first for the new Meridian'. Subscribe