Get your tongue around Eunoia, the newest JC

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Eunoia. The name of a new junior college to be opened in 2017 caused a stir on the internet as tongues got tied over the pronunciation, and pun masters had a field day. But how do potential Eunoia students themselves pronounce it?
The new Eunoia JC will be taking students from CHIJ St Nicholas Girls' School, Catholic High School and Singapore Chinese Girls' School (pictured). PHOTO: ST FILE

The newest junior college unveiled its name yesterday - and left parents and students wondering how to pronounce it.

Eunoia Junior College will take students on the through-train Integrated Programme from Catholic High, CHIJ St Nicholas Girls' and Singapore Chinese Girls' schools. The IP lets students go on to JC without taking the O-level exams.

Acting Minister for Education (Schools) Ng Chee Meng revealed the school's name yesterday at an appointment and appreciation ceremony for principals.

He said Eunoia (pronounced "yoo-noh-iea"), which has Greek roots, meant beautiful thinking and goodwill towards others.

Madam Cheang Mei Heng, the former principal of Serangoon Junior College, will helm the new school, which will accept 650 to 700 students in 2017.

About one-third of the enrolment will be kept for students from other secondary schools on the O-level track.

Madam Cheang said the school had recruited 15 key personnel, including heads of department, and hopes to hire about 100 teaching staff by the start of 2017.

The name was chosen after several months of interaction with students and staff from the three schools, and their management committees, said Madam Cheang, adding that it had sieved through at least 200 suggestions.

Eunoia aligns with one of the school's principles - for students to be "thinkers with heart", she said. "We want students to have a broader view of life beyond themselves and contribute to the lives of other people."

Parents told The Straits Times the name was abstract and hard to pronounce, although they liked its meaning.

Madam Xue Lei, 43, an engineer with a daughter in Secondary 3 at CHIJ St Nicholas, said: "It sounds quite intellectual. I like it because of the meaning. It's a trait we often miss out in educating students."

But another parent who has two sons in Catholic High School felt it was a "silly" choice.

"It already attracts so many jokes, no one really knows the meaning of the word and its pronunciation is going to be mangled by people," said the 45-year-old, who declined to be named.

The school will be located at an interim campus in Mount Sinai until its own home, at the junction of Sin Ming Avenue and Marymount Road, is ready at the end of 2019.

Its advisory committee, effective until Dec 21, 2017, is led by Professor Su Guaning, president emeritus of Nanyang Technological University, and consists of parents and former students of the three schools, as well as professionals and grassroots leaders.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 30, 2015, with the headline Get your tongue around Eunoia, the newest JC. Subscribe