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Pei Hwa Presbyterian Primary School's 125th Anniversary - 2014
By Foo Sook Fong (Principal) and Joylynn Lim (Teacher)
Jun 2014

Arrival of Guest-of-honour, Mr Heng Swee Keat

The year 2014 marks the 125th anniversary of Pei Hwa Presbyterian Primary School since it was founded in 1889. The theme for this year's celebratory event, "Reflecting God's Faithfulness and Fruitfulness", summed up who God has been and is to the school and how, as a result of his faithfulness, we have been able to bear fruits in the lives of those whom the school has laboured and invested in for the past 125 years.

On 29 Jan 2014, we started the celebration in the morning with a Special 125th Anniversary Programme for the entire school in two sessions. The morning programme was a collaboration between PHPPS and SMC cum Glory Presbyterian Church (GPC) where pastors and chaplains from GPC led in singing praises and exaltation to our God. We also consecrated our school to God as He is the One and only One who sets us apart and will bless us faithfully and abundantly.

The Principal also walked through the school history with the school population and highlighted significant events that gave our school its distinctiveness such as our rich Chinese heritage, SAP (Special Assistance Programme) status and most importantly our Christian ethos and culture. Pupils also showcased their acting talents in a Chinese Drama which depicted our rich history and an English Drama our school values.

The morning programme rounded off with pupils visiting our signature Talent Fest where students' project works in English, Math, Science, Chinese, overseas trips, Chinese Art Programme and artworks based on master artists were displayed.

For the night programme, we were very honoured to have our Minister for Education, Mr Heng Swee Keat, as our Guest of Honour and Minister of State, Ms Sim Ann, as our Special Guest. Upon arrival to our school, the Chinese drums gave them a rousing welcome. They were then led to the Talent Fest where our pupils gave oral presentations of their projects.

The highlight of the dinner programme was the Chinese drama performed by the Chinese Society who depicted the school history of 125 years. Their sterling performance received rousing applause from the audience made up of SMC, GPC, Presbyterian Church members, parents, current and ex-teachers, current and expupils and well-wishers. It brought back memories of how the school was like in the past and the time when the school was forced to close during the dark period of the Japanese reign. The realistic portrayal of the school history helped us to see how God has shown himself to be a faithful God, seeing Pei Hwa School through the historic moments of ups and downs in Singapore's journey towards independence.

From pre-war times to war and finally to post-war days, God had graciously and miraculously provided willing donors, preachers and teachers to rebuild the school and resume classes. As a result of His faithfulness, the lives of the children who had benefitted from this education were able to bear fruit now because of the pioneer staff who willingly gave their lives to educating the children and honouring God.

We were also very encouraged to see that many of our earlier staff of Pei Hwa came back to commemorate this joyous occasion with us. Some of our former pupils also returned. For some of them, it was like a class reunion ever since they left school more than twenty years ago. To see how they have moved on in life and how some became teachers because their teachers in Pei Hwa had impacted their lives, heartened and warmed the hearts of the teachers.

After the dinner, there was a Charity Art Auction to raise funds for charitable organisations. The purpose was to give back to the community to bless them in thankfulness for what God had blessed us with over the years. What was heart-warming was that our ex-student, Mr Baet Yeok Kwan, who has won many national and international awards in Art, gave back to Pei Hwa by generously donating his sculpture art pieces to help us in fund raising for the community. He is our school pride.

At the finale of the dinner, the entire congregation stood up to sing the school song. To some, that was a moment of nostalgia as they relived memories of singing the school song as a student. For some families where parents and grandparents were ex-Pei Hwa pupils, it was more than reliving memories. It was evidence and a testimony to them that their God is a God of generations. Just as the Bible exhorted God in Exodus 3:6:"... the God your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob," he has shown himself to be God of generations in the lives of these pupils. It was an emotionally charged moment when three generations of ex and current Pei Hwa pupils sang the school song together.

125 years have passed since the founding of the school and many things such as staff, pupils and even uniforms have changed. But one thing that remains the same is the faithful God whom we serve. Even today, He still hears and answers the prayers of the pupils and staff and continues to bless us. Our achievements are living proof to His faithfulness and fruitfulness to the school. As we move on for the next 125 years, one thing we can hold on to dearly is this verse from Deuteronomy 31:8 "The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you." All Glory be to the one and only living God.


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