Hwa Chong Institution turns 100 years old, and pays tribute to past and present teachers

Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam and Hwa Chong Institution principal Pang Choon How launch the Hwa Chong Centennial Publication: A Tribute To The Hwa Chong Educator: 1919 - 2019 on Feb 15, 2019. ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

SINGAPORE - Hwa Chong Institution, one of Singapore's top schools set up by a Chinese philanthropist, turns 100 years old this year.

The institution, which was founded by businessman Tan Kah Kee as The Chinese High School in 1919, is marking its centennial in a big way - with a heritage trail, gala dinner, musical and sports day carnival.

The gala dinner on March 21 - the school's Founder's Day - will be a homecoming for more than 12,000 alumni and members of the Hwa Chong family.

The school, which has played a key role in promoting bilingualism and biculturalism in Singapore, also launched a publication on Friday (Feb 15) to pay tribute to past and present educators who have contributed significantly to it over the years.

Hwa Chong Institution principal Pang Choon How, 42, said on Friday that the book about its teachers aims to honour those who have made a huge impact on the school.

Addressing his own former principals - Mr Tooh Fee San and Madam Leong Fan Chin - who were in the audience, Mr Pang said he was influenced by them as a student at The Chinese High School and Hwa Chong Junior College.

"As an ex-student, I too have been a beneficiary of Hwa Chong, and have been inspired by many excellent and dedicated teachers and school leaders, so much so that now I have followed their footsteps to touch lives and nurture the next generation."

Hwa Chong Institution was founded by businessman Tan Kah Kee as The Chinese High School in 1919. ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

Dr Tommie Chen, 39, one of the teachers who worked on the publication, said previous commemorative books had celebrated the school's milestones and achievements, and this time the team wanted to remember the people behind the school's success - more than 130 of them.

The head of department for English, who attended Hwa Chong from 1993 to 1998, said: "I'm very honoured to be a part of this 100th anniversary celebration and to be able to pay tribute to my own former teachers."

There are 1,500 copies of the not-for-sale publication, which will be given to Hwa Chong educators and others.

The school, located in Bukit Timah, has about 3,900 students across six levels now.

It is also holding a series of keynote lectures and forum discussions this year for students, staff, alumni and the larger education community. The lectures, which feature renowned speakers and scholars, cover topics such as education for the future, the evolution of Chinese culture in Singapore and the region, and biculturalism.

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