By Jovita Fernando,
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.
Ms Chong bidding farewell during her school tour
This year’s ‘last assembly’ was an emotional one as the ACJC community had to bid farewell to our beloved Principal, Ms Beatrice Chong. Our Principal, who is so widely known for her love and admiration of the Sequoia trees ended her term with another meaningful speech about the importance of having roots and of growing in adversity.
As soon as Ms Chong ended her speech, Mrs Choo took over and gave the command for the latecomers to enter the hall, a very colourful and energetic crowd of ex-students and parents streamed in, taking Ms Chong by surprise. They had all come, upon the request of the ‘salted caramel’ team-the staff led group that organised the surprise farewell for Ms Chong.
Following that, Mr D’Souza presented a heartwarming speech about the impact of Ms Chong’s leadership in ACJC that started the very moment she stepped in for their first staff meeting. She had everyone there enraptured by her presence and continued to carry herself forward over the years with prayer as her compass. He concluded his farewell with a sweet poem that had tears welling in Ms Chong’s eyes.
A tribute video showing the various CCAs thanking Ms Chong for her prayers and presence in every game, competition and event that she attended highlighted her dedication to her students and the college. Ms Tan Yi Wen and ex-Council President, Claire sang their version of the song ‘For good’ from the musical, Wicked and Mdm Rahimah added a few more words of praise. In particular, she said that Ms Chong made the college an even more student- and value -centred place and that she infused values into faith with great care.
Ms Chong is often described as wise, attentive, calm and clever among her many other descriptions highlighting her beauty. To honour this, she was awarded the ‘Golden Stiletto’ award for her poise, confidence and impeccable style. Ms Chong accepted her award while joking that heels are, after all, ‘weapons of mass destruction’.
On behalf of the student body, Joseph Low thanked her for her support and leadership and presented her with a shoe decorated with image of the sequoia tree, signifying that her roots with ACJC family are forever. Annabel Tan also presented her with a drawing of the Sequoia trees.
Ms Chong’s final tour around the school began, albeit wistfully, with a grand overture by the band heralding her as she boarded the pristine white convertible with her impossible grace. Even ‘Smiley’ was slightly more glum than usual, but Ms Chong’s elegant smile and the contagious enthusiasm of the student body kept the farewell a memorable and merry one nevertheless.
At the first station, a palm tree was planted because of her affinity with trees (Sequoia and Bamboo) and she showered the tree with her tender love. Afterwards, she proceeded to the lobby where Ms Chong unveiled the ‘2017’ on the board of principals to signify the end of her term. As she passed by Chan Alley and the canteen, students gave Ms Chong gifts and cards and a crowd began to gather behind the car and they followed her back to the smiley where the teachers and staff of ACJC were awaiting her.
Ms Chong making her way down to the ‘Smiley’
Ms Chong at the tree planting station
Students gathered and trailed behind the car back to the ‘Smiley’
The staff lined along the staircase heralded Ms Chong into the building from her tour.
The students and staff made their way down to the field to create our school name.
Ms Chong with her Vice-Principals and staff
Indeed this year’s ‘last assembly’ was very different and emotional compared to that of other years .As we await the coming of our new principal, let us remember the wit, humour and smile of Ms Beatrice Chong and let us also remember that ACJC principals never truly leave the college.
All the best to your future endeavours at the MOE headquarters and our blessings and gratitude remain with you forever, Ms Chong. To God be the Glory. The Best is Yet to Be.
Class of 2014
Class of 2016
Image credits to ACJC’s Photography Society.