KUCHING: It was a school assembly to remember for more than 600 alumni, teachers, staff, students and well-wishers as St Joseph`s School Kuching (SJS) celebrated its 131st anniversary at Riverside Majestic on Saturday.
Many had retraced their steps from all over the world to be a part of this memorable occasion organised by the Old Josephians` Association (OJA) to renew old friendships, recount fond memories of school days gone by and pay tribute to the school and the people who were a part of it.
Former student Chief Minister Pehin Sri Taib Mahmud, who is also the patron of the Old Josephian`s Association, Kuching, paid tribute to the school`s focus on providing a well-rounded education that emphasised building of character to all its students regardless of race and religion and instilling a sense of patriotism and personal responsibility to serve their fellow man and country.
He recalled that one of the first lessons student had in the morning was Moral Instruction, calling it one of the best lessons to give to non-Christians and non-Catholics.
“We Muslims agreed almost 100 per cent with what was taught in our Moral Instruction and it does reinforce our belief in how to face life with a certain kind of guidance, and that has guided me personally,” Taib said.
As a result, many of the school`s ex-students have not only gone on to become leaders and influencers in the state, but also overseas, he said.
“With such a record, you can`t say that SJS is anything but the best school that can be chosen,” Taib said, thanking his father for putting him in the school based on the advice of a priest.
He said SJS was the force behind his academic and current success, as his years there had made him aware of his responsibilities to society and country.
“To see many of my friends and my classmates serve the country in whatever way they can that is the tribute we can give to SJS. It is the birthplace of the people with the finest ambitions in life and to follow it through to become leaders of society. I hope this will continue in the future and congratulations on your 131st anniversary,” he said.
OJA president Prof Dr Sim Kui Hian noted the special place SJS holds as the second oldest La Sallian school in Malaysia.
The reunion programme kicked off with the resounding of the school bell by a school prefect followed by singing of the school rally.
Video presentations on the school`s history and their award-winning school band were also shown. A special video presentation on The La Salle Foundation founded by the late Brother Albinus, who passed away earlier this year, was also shown.
Three framed artworks donated by alumni Petrus Alfred and Sylvester Jussem, and art teacher Lee Hock Kia were promptly snapped up during an auction that raised RM30,000 in total for the school.
Former deputy chief minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Dr George Chan`s bid of RM10,000 for Sylvester`s painting titled Baruk II was successful while the other two pieces went to anonymous bidders at RM10,000 each.
Also present at the dinner were Taib`s wife Puan Sri Ragad Kurdi Taib, Dr Chan`s wife Datuk Lorna Enan Muloon, Minister in the Chief Minister`s Office Tan Sri Datuk Amar Adenan Satem and his wife Puan Sri Dato Jamilah Adenan, former State Secretary Tan Sri Datuk Amar Bujang Nor and 85-year-old Datuk Bro. Charles O`Leary – Taib`s former teacher.
(Taken from The Borneo Post)
REMEMBER THE TIME?: Taib catching up with former classmates and school mates during the reunion dinner, including Bujang Nor (left) and. O’Leary (fifth right, partially hidden). – Photo by Chimon Upon
YESTERDAY ONCE MORE: Taib (seated third left) and his former classmates share a light moment as they wait for other members to join them on stage for a photo call. Seated on Taib’s right is their former teacher O’Leary, 85.
ONE FOR THE ALBUM: Taib (fourth left), O’Leary (fourth right), Dr Sim (third left) and other members of the organising committee in a group photo call during the dinner.
MILESTONE: Taib (fith left) leading the cutting of the cake to mark the school’s 131st anniversary, assisted by O’Leary (second left) and members of the OJA organising committee, including Dr Sim (left).