Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Sincere Gift to Alma Mater


FIFTY years after they left school, a group of former students from St. Michael’s Institution, Ipoh donated RM50,000 towards the Michaelians Give Back Fund at the school’s alumni dinner recently.
Speaking on behalf of the 16 “old boys” present at the dinner – who completed their Form Five in 1961 – Choo Jee Sam said that members of the group from that year, who now reside in the Klang Valley, meet up every two months for friendship and networking.
It was during one of these sessions that they decided to raise the sum RM50,000 — or RM1,000 for each year since they had left the school.
Proceeds from the Give Back Fund are donated to the school to disburse to needy students to help them continue their studies there, including covering costs for books, uniforms, and commuting to school.
“Our group includes prominent lawyers, architects, engineers, government servants, other professionals and businessmen who are all successful in their own ways,” said Choo.
“We all have fond memories of St. Michael’s and are grateful for the solid educational foundation, the discipline, camaraderie and the ‘Michaelian spirit’ which shaped us to be what we are today.
The St. Michael Institution class of 1961 presenting a mock cheque to the fund’s chairman Dr Benen Foo Ban Nyen.


“While few of us continued after leaving school to obtain a degree, for most of us, it was hard work and perseverance which made us successful,” he added.
Students and teachers alike also recalled their memories of their time at the school.
“St. Michael’s has character, and the brothers and teachers placed the interests of the students first,” said former teacher Jeyaram Nair, who taught Geography at the school from 1961 to 1974.
Jerry Rajendram, who completed Form Five in 1978, also fondly remembers his late teacher Eugene Almeida and his hockey coach Noel Oliveiro. He proudly recalled that the hockey team from St. Michael’s was the first school team to represent Perak for the Razak Cup (now the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup).
“Brother Ultan Paul, Brother Vincent Corkery, Louis Rodrigues and Oh Teik Toh were amazing teachers who made us who we are today,” said Rajendram.
On a humorous note, student Ralph Steven Davies, who left the school in 1966, recalled the time when he went to the school tuck shop (now called “food court”) to buy several pieces of ice cream potong for his friends.
“I put them in my trouser pocket and was caught by Brother Paul (the principal) who detained me while the ice cream melted, staining my pants, before he let me go,” said Davies, now a senior executive with a public listed company.
“The greatest thing about St. Michael’s was the friends, camaraderie and the freedom to just be yourself,” said financial consultant Adrian Ho, who completed Form Six in 1994.
“Besides academic study, my participation in extra-curricular activities such as societies, sports and school plays all provided a holistic education which helped me able to deal with the real world.
“Meanwhile, the teachers were also a big influence,” he added.
Ho fondly recalled Brother Gerry Louis, who directed the school’s production of The Wizard of Oz, which Ho acted in. The play was also where he met his future wife; they now have two children.
Information Technology project manager Chan Yat Choong cherishes the many good friends he made at St. Michael’s since Year One, 30 years ago, and how the school provided them with the building blocks which helped them succeed in adulthood.
The friendships were great. Although we got into trouble, we learned to trust people and today, I trust my new colleagues from the start. As a result, our company has a closely knit team,” said Chan.
The Star - May 29, 2011 (Sunday)
Note: Look closely at the underlined sentences. These are the wonderful characteristics of St Michael's we cherish so much. These old Michaelians will be at St Michael's this Friday at 9.45am. Refer to "What's Next At St Michael's" column on your right for details. 

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