Reflections from the First IB Batch II: Chris Cheong

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Continuing on from the interview with Chris Cheong, a student from the first IB batch in 2007, we gathered several intriguing snippets into the (modern) history of our school! Check out the first part of the interview here.

 

How did the IB block come into existence? What changed in the Old block to accommodate for the IB block?

When the school received permission from MOE to transit to a 6 form school, it was evident that we would need a lot more space! Some of the facilities in the original block were already stretched, due to the enrolment of each batch gradually increasing, the auditorium was very packed during chapel and some computer labs near the SAC had been converted into classrooms too…

The current IB block stood on a cricket field which was owned by UWC, I’m not privy to details as to how we came to acquire the piece of land, but construction commenced soon after. Extensive construction took place throughout 2005… The classrooms were ready by Jan 2006, though other facilities like the CPA 2 opened later (around June if I recall correctly), but other facilities such as the “fountain” in the middle of the IB block never “worked”.

The former admin office on the red level was converted into a staff room, whilst the admin office and deans & directors’ office was moved into the IB block. Generally, most other things stayed the same as the old block had to serve the needs of the secondary school section.

There was a covered walkway too, running from the bus stop outside all the way into the school via the ministry offices. This was disrupted by the campus expansion and it doesn’t seem to have been adequately replaced until this day.

There also used to be a large parade ground / car park / unofficial football pitch in the area between the boarding school entrance and the space frame. One day we noticed pipes being laid there and the sides being sealed up – we wondered if they were going to build some huge and impressive water feature. Turns out, the area’s foundations were reinforced, soil was poured in and grass planted, turning a multi-use space into one that couldn’t be used – undoubtedly at great expense. Rumour has it that the architect arbitrarily coloured this area green, and the contractor thought that it meant ‘add grass here’… by the time the mistake was discovered, it was too late…

 

How did the school uniform come about?

We were issued the IB tie on the first day of school in Y5, (the year 1-4 uniform was still the same as it is today).

The year 1 – 4 uniform was still the same as what it is today, but for the new ‘additions’, e.g. IB tie, girls’ uniform, we were informed / provided with those in the first few days of Year 5… There were other new ‘initiatives’, such as a compulsory bomber jacket which most people didn’t wear, and ACS socks which made their debut in Year 6, and weren’t well received then.

 

How did the IB CCAs come about, since there was never an IB section of the school before? What was your CCA(s) like?

For most CCAs, the secondary school ‘version’ of the CCA was just extended to include the IB students, eg. Sports CCAs expanded to compete in the ‘A’ division, Scouts expanded into Ventures, BB expanded into Primers, Drama into Independent Stage etc. There were also brand new CCAs that were set up, some of which seem to still be alive today, such as !nk and Frisbee.

I was the President of the (then) Chamber Orchestra, and led the student initiative to expand it into the (now) Philharmonic Orchestra. We went on several overseas trips, collaborated with other orchestras in UK and Australia, and had 7 concerts (excluding the Founder’s Day / National Day / Honours Day performances) in my Year 5 and 6 years, no mean feat for a school group!

We used to perform in a musical, where all the performing arts groups would get together and put up a combined performance every 5 years or so. That was great fun, and we were the first group to use the (now unused) orchestra pit in the (then new) CPA2 too.

 

How did the Student Council come about? What was the process like then?

There was a pro-tem committee/council from our batch that ran orientation, and drew up the structure, roles and responsibilities of the student council that was to be elected. When that was all in place, people ran for positions and there were elections pretty much the same way as I’d imagine is still happening today (just without Instagram campaigns), then the pro-tem committee dissolved in favour of the student council.

 

Chris Cheong is from the graduating batch of 2007.

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