FAIRFIELD CELEBRATES 120 YEARS: 1888 – 2008
FROM the early days of educating eight Nonya girls, both Fairfield schools now have a combined population of 3,200 pupils and 170 teachers. And this year the schools celebrate God’s faithfulness in seeing us through 120 years on this journey of faith.
April 5, 2008 marked the 120-day countdown to our gala anniversary on Aug 4 with the formation of the school crest by gathering together the Fairfield Family of students from both schools, parents, teachers, the alumni and other stakeholders at the secondary school field in Dover Road.
Together, all 4,237 of us, including the Guest-of-Honour, Mr Lim Hng Kiang, Minister for Trade and Industry and an MP for West Coast GRC, we set a new record in the Singapore Book of Records for the largest human formation of a school crest.
As we released 1,200 balloons into the sky, we sang our “Celebrating 120 Years” theme song, “You’re Our Destiny” to remember and honour God.
And celebrate we did on April 5 with inter-school games, canvas painting and an UNO challenge. It was a jubilant family day for the Fairfield Family that has grown from strength to strength over 120 years.
Then came a Carnival on July 5. The event involved primary and secondary students and teachers, and our stakeholders in a daylong jamboree of fun and festivities.
Highlights of the Carnival included the Alumni Mall, a café run by the parents from Partners-in Education, Financial Literacy Game conducted by Ngee Ann Polytechnic, and the ever-popular dunking machine.
One thing about Fairfield that holds true as Ms Elim Chew, our Guest-of-Honour, an Old Girl and founder of the popular chain, 77th Street, commented, is: “What makes Fairfield so unique is the closeness among the students, teachers, alumni and parent volunteers.”
The 120th Founder’s Day Thanksgivingcum-Graduation Service followed on Aug 1, bringing together students, teachers, alumni, parents, instructors and coaches. For this occasion the school erected a stage and an impressive lighting display on the field.
One highlight of the evening was a dramatic performance based on the Fairfield Story that showcased the talents of many Fairfield students.
The school had the support of generous and loyal partners – The Methodist Church in Singapore, the Board of Management, the Alumni, the Partners-In-Education group and partner institutions like the polytechnics and the National Institute of Education.
Ms Grace Fu, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of National Development and Ministry of Education, who was our Guestof-Honour, wished us success in continuing to keep “the flag and spirit of Fairfield flying high”.
On Aug 4, a delegation comprising Board of Management members under the leadership of Mrs Joni Ong, alumni under the leadership of Mrs Diana Chee, viceprincipals, teachers and students under the leadership of Mr Victor Owyong, Principal of Fairfield Methodist Secondary School, and Mr Charles Tong, Principal of Fairfield Methodist Primary School, took a trip to the old Fairfield school site at 178 Neil Street for the unveiling of a commemorative plaque.
The Old Fairfield School, as it is now named, had served us well for 70 years from 1912 to 1982 before we moved to our present site at Dover Road. Bishop Dr Robert Solomon, who officiated at the ceremony, declared that this commemorative heritage plaque was unveiled and installed “to remind ourselves and witness to this world around us that this has been a holy place for God and that here the Living God was worshipped, lives were touched and transformed and that God’s voice was heard and His holy breath felt in hearts and souls, and that its truths were planted in young minds.
“It is a memorial to God’s goodness and faithfulness to His grace and love … the voice of God will continue to speak here and the voices of generations past will continue to tell their stories of God’s love, God’s truth and God’s blessings.”
Mrs Tang Poh Kim, an Old Girl and former principal of Fairfield who spent 34 years in this Old Fairfield School, shared her recollections of the happy memories at Neil Road. She is now the Education Secretary of The Methodist Church in Singapore.
The 120th Anniversary celebrations culminated in the Founder’s Day Dinner at Swissotel The Stamford, organised by the Alumni. The evening was filled with games, singing and drama that brought back memories of our heritage and traditions. The celebrations gave us the joy of being part of the Fairfield Family and instilled in us the responsibility to pass on the legacy to successive generations to come.
Philip Rebbeck and Chong Quek Keow are teachers at Fairfield Methodist Secondary School.
STORY: PHILIP REBBECK and CHONG QUEK KEOW; PICTURES: FAIRFIELD SCHOOL