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Dear Parents / Guardians,
My thanks to you for extending your warm welcome to me when I joined CHIJ Our Lady of Good Counsel (OLGC) at the start of 2018. Within these first few months in the school, I have had several opportunities to meet and engage parents, staff andstudents. They have expressed appreciation and gratitude for what the school offers. From what they shared, I was able to gather how the school has impacted them as
well as their thoughts and aspirations for the school. These are important ideas as we delve deeper into our theme for 2018 “Living the IJ Spirit, Serving with love and joy, Courage to make a difference”.
It is clear that the IJ Spirit embodies an appreciation, interest and care for others in the quality relationships we develop. It is this other-centred mindset that makes a difference to those around us through the way we lead ourselves and how we are of service to others. That mission of developing the IJ spirit takes time. In the 6-year journey our students experience, there are numerous opportunities for them to reflect, grow in and practise virtues and skills as a young lady imbued with the GRACE (Global, Resilient, Aware, Confident, Enterprising) attributes and CHIP (Compassion, Humility, Integrity, Perseverance) values. Through the pages of the newsletter, we share with you significant moments in OLGC, in relation to the theme of the school and what we in OLGC seek to develop in all our students.
During one of our weekly assembly talks held by the school leaders, a story was shared about the tea cup. A pretty porcelain tea cup was sitting in a shop and caught the eye of a prospective buyer who praised its refined beauty. The tea cup shared that it had undergone a long process of development and formation to achieve its present state of beauty. Starting out as a mere lump of clay, the tea cup did not know what the potter had in mind and what was going to be created. What it did experience was the pain of being kneaded, pulled and twisted as the potter shaped the clay, to bring out what he had envisioned in the simple piece of clay. The tea cup described the unbearable pain and how it wanted the potter to stop but the potter simply replied “Not yet”. When it seemed that the painful kneading was over, a new and greater intensity of pain was experienced as the piece of clay was placed in the kiln to be fired. The level of heat was intolerable and the lump of clay screamed for the potter to stop but all the potter replied was “Not yet”. It was too much to bear. Finally, the firing ended and the potter removed the clay from the kiln; but it was no longer a shapeless colourless piece of clay but a beautiful work of art, ready to be used. While there are several points we can draw from this story, I wish to highlight one for consideration. Like the lump of clay, we often do not appreciate experiences which can be necessary in character development and help us become stronger. We yearn for the beauty of that porcelain tea cup but we are not ready for the journey we need to undergo to be formed to that tea cup.
One of the attributes which the school seeks to develop in our girls is resilience and certainly, that will take time and a readiness to allow ourselves to be formed. The process may sometimes be unpleasant and challenging. For example, recently our students in the performing arts groups participated in the Singapore Youth Festival Arts Presentations. For many, they had started out with few skills in dancing or
singing. By the time they participated in this year’s Arts Presentation, the months of concerted effort by the coaches and determination of the students yielded positive outcomes. We watched in delight as our students confidently executed dance moves or learnt to listen to each other and sing with expression harmoniously as a choir. These could only be possible with the humility, perseverance and resilience to stick with the practices and respond positively to feedback given. These are valuable lessons which deepen the students’ learning experiences especially in the values of humility and perseverance as they strove for excellence in their performance. I believe that the values, inner strength and skills the girls have developed will stand them in good stead to navigate through possible challenges they face in future. As we aspire for every student to live the IJ Spirit, we aim that all students are imbued with this excellence mindset in all areas of life, and not just in the academic realm.
We congratulate all our SYF performing arts groups – the Choir, Chinese, Malay and Indian and International Dance – for their very commendable performance. Our sports girls have also put up a strong performance in badminton and gymnastics. We believe that not only have they learnt many lessons in character formation, they have also strengthened their friendships as they were united to do their best as a team.
Indeed, the school has much to be grateful for with the good outcomes. Often taken for granted, the virtue of gratitude is one we want to give greater focus on. This is especially as we witness a growing indifference and disrespect towards the true value of human relationships and the spreading of a ‘throw-away’ culture. Growing up in an affluent society, we run a higher risk of developing an entitlement mentality which is something we want to avoid. Hence, we seek your partnership in imbuing in
your child a strong sense of gratitude for all that they have received.
On behalf of the school, I wish to express much thanks for your unstinting support for the school’s PERI project which was completed in February this year. We look forward to working with you for your daughter, our students.
Ms Grace Tan