Rich apostle of modern education & heritage


SINGAPORE SAINT PATRICK SCHOOL


The scribe is on a visit to Singapore and keeping eyes on developments in South East Asia

Heavenly Father! We come to you today asking for your guidance, wisdom, and support as we begin this write up. Help us engage in meaningful discussion; allow us to grow closer as a group and nurture the bonds of community. The prayer enables the scribe to embark upon a mission to pen all about St. Patrick School in Singapore.

“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love,” are prophetic words of Mother Teresa. Indeed! A modest beginning was made in 1933 when Saint Patrick School started its educational endeavour as a temporary branch of Saint Joseph’s Institution – Catholic boys’ School in Singapore.

Brother Stephen Buckley was inspired by the legendary freedom fighter of South Africa, Nelson Mandela’s quote, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Brother Buckley embarked upon a mission to enlighten the children through education, learning and knowledge to tread the righteous path in their lives. 
Saint Patrick’s School is a government-aided Lasallian Catholic boys’ secondary school located along East Coast Road in Singapore. The common nomenclature for school is St Pat’s, SPS or St Patrick’s. The students and old boys call themselves Patricians or Sons of St. Patrick’s.

Saint Patrick’s had a humble beginning in 1933 as a temporary branch of Saint Joseph’s Institution, another Catholic boys’ school in Singapore. It was built on land acquired by the La Salle Brothers in 1898 which was originally intended for building a resort bungalow. At Brother Stephen Buckley’s initiative, the La Salle Brothers built a school on that piece of land and Saint Patrick’s became a school in its own right in 1933.

The Second World War wrought misery and suffering to the school like rest of Singapore. The school was used by the British as a hospital and later by the Japanese as an administrative building. It was returned to the La Salle Brothers in 1946. In 1957, the primary section of the school was separated and became Saint Stephen’s School, a primary school for boys. In 1969, Saint Patrick’s became a co-educational and later all boys school with the introduction of pre-university classes. In 2002, Lucas Lak Pati Singh, a former vice principal of Changkat Changi Secondary School and an education-dedicated missionary of 38 years, was posted in Saint Patrick’s as the school’s new principal. What was planted as a sapling in 1933, in course of time has developed into a gigantic tree, bearing fragrant flowers and sweet fruits. During his tenure as Principal Singh brought several innovations to raise academic standards and improve students’ conduct.

Singh, the school’s longest-serving principal, was succeeded in 2012 by Adolphus Tan while Joseph Peterson, a senior physics teacher, was promoted to vice-principal, joining Aloysius Yong who had been the sole vice-principal until then. However, the current school leadership consists of Mark Gerard Minjoot, the principal, and Paul Leong, the vice principal.

In keeping with the school’s Catholic traditions, students recite the Apostles’ Creed in the morning, and the Angelus or the Regina Coeli, the Queen of heaven (the Virgin Mary) during Easter at noon.

The school has shamrock symbol found on the student’s belt, socks and neck-tie, on the running vests and on the T-shirts, and the school flag with shamrock on a blue background. The all-white school uniform is compulsory.

The school has six houses named after former brother principals of the school. McNally House, Kiely House, Buckley House, Brennan House, Alban House and Justinian House. There are Sports Day of each house, besides interhouse games and cross-country races.

Saint Patrick’s School is affiliated with all four of the Lasallian primary schools in Singapore. It maintains relationships with other Roman Catholic schools in Singapore as well. All these schools If you look at Nelson Mandela’s writings, “there is a very rich reservoir of material about lifelong learning.”

A notable co-curricular activity at Saint Patrick’s is its military band, which has won gold medals in competitions locally and abroad, under the baton of their resident conductor, David Glosz, from 1984 to 2016. The school’s Military Band plays a live version of the School Rally, particularly at the annual opening ceremony of the Patrician Annual Enrichment Festival (PAEF). It held a commemorative concert at the Esplanade Concert Hall to celebrate its 60th Anniversary

The school has four uniformed groups, all of which have their own outstanding achievements. They are the Scouts, National Cadet Corps (Land), National Cadet Corps (Air) and National Police Cadet Corps (NPCC). The most distinguished alumni of the troop is Tony Tan, the seventh President of Singapore who came back to school during the Adiji Scout Ceremony to accept his role as Chief Scout of the Singapore Scout Association in 2012.

The school also encourages students to take up leadership roles, hence the establishment of the Peer Leader’s Council, the Prefectorial Board and the Board of Patrician Ambassadors. These Patrician student leaders facilitate camps such as The Patricians’ Leadership Training Camp (PLTC) have been held locally even abroad in Vietnam, Cambodia and Philippines where they help less fortunate communities.

The school has carved out a niche for itself in the annals of education in Singapore as its academic, extra-curricular and sports achievements have been laudable. Kelly Chan and Steven Tan have been a national sailor and footballer. The school is playing a pivotal role in promoting cricket in the island nation. St. Partrick School is home of the noted Cricket Academy patronised by the Indian skipper Rohit Sharma, run by former Singapore and Indian IPL cricketer Chetan Suryavanshi. It is a symbiotic relationship between the school and the academy.  The academy has churned out various levels of cricketers for the Singapore national cricket team.

The school alumni have contributed considerably to the cause of enriching art and culture of the country. The prominent among them are Cyril Wong, poet; John Klass, radio DJ/ recording artiste; Hayden Ng, fashion designer; Glenn Ong, radio DJ; Andrew Seow, actor and celebrity; Sheikh Haikel, actor and singer; Alvin Tan, founder, The Necessary Stage; Brian Richmond, radio DJ; Mel Ferdinands, singer and talent time winner; Richard Alexander Ferdinands singer/ songwriter and musician and Jimmy Appudurai, singer and guitarist of the 60s Rhythm & Blues band Shawn de Mello, singer and talent time winner.

St. Patrick school has its alumni in politics as well-Tony Tan, seventh President of Singapore; George Yeo, former Cabinet Minister; Patrick Tay, member of Parliament; Chong Chieng Jen, Malaysian politician; Member of Parliament from Democratic Action Party (DAP) and Yee Jenn Jong, former non-constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP).

As we gather today around your name, we pray that you would fill our hearts, our minds and our souls. Transform us Lord, and make us more like you. Through Jesus Christ, our Lord, Amen. O Lord, our God, we gather together today to give you thanks and praise your greatness.


See also:

Crickingdom’s feet planted in Singapore

Dr. Chaturvedi charms students of Singapore

Lawrence Wong named Singapore’s next PM



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