SINGAPORE – For the first time in the history of St. Joseph’s Institution (SJI), girls have formally graduated as Josephians at SJI International’s inaugural graduation ceremony on Nov 21. Not only that, the highest honour of the day – the Josephian of the Year Award – went to a girl.
The Josephians of the past 157 years have all been male.
So it marked an interesting milestone in the Josephian annals when 25 Grade 12 girls (and 33 boys) received their graduation medallion, and when Hilda Foo Mei Lin (photo) took home the Philip Yeo Trophy for Josephian of the Year, at the ceremony.
Mr Philip Yeo, Special Advisor on Economic Development and Chairman of Spring Singapore, presided over the ceremony. He is also Chairman of the SJI International Leadership Council.
These graduates form the school’s very first cohort of International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma students.
Hilda had joined SJI International on a KMP Group Scholarship for the IB Diploma Programme after achieving six points for her ‘O’ levels at CHIJ St. Nicholas Girls’ School. The CHIJ Alumni had conferred her the Lee Poh See Award, and she was recognised as a top leader and all-round student.
At SJI International, Hilda was Vice-President of the Senior School Student Council, volunteered at the Singapore Association for the Visually Handicapped and the Canossian School for the Hearing-Impaired, and sang with the school choir, amongst other contributions.
Although she was initially apprehensive about going to SJI International, she is proud to “declare those doubts are firmly dismissed”.
She said, “I’ve grown much more enquiring and inquisitive, nurtured through the approaches in teaching and learning. [My cohort and I] have also grown into citizens of the world, with enough space in our hearts to consider and care for the issues of the real world that matter.”
Hilda, an Immaculate Heart of Mary parishioner since she started secondary school, said she “grew in love and passion for God”. During her lower secondary days, she attended regular evening Masses but stopped when “daily life got too busy”.
Still, she made time to go to Tanjung Balai for an outreach with Father Brian de Souza in 2005 and 2006. She also served in the Children’s Liturgy, and since Confirmation three years ago, she has been “in servant leadership” with youth ministry Zion’s Joy.
The Josephian of the Year awardee shared that she draws from God “the inspiration and reason to give fully of her time and effort to a wide range of worthy causes and activities”.
SJI International was established in 2007 as the seventh Lasallian Catholic School in Singapore. It is co-educational and runs classes from Kindergarten to Pre-University standards.