Methodist Girls’ School (MGS) celebrates her 133rd birthday this year and the school’s theme for 2020 is “Empowered”, inspired by 2 Timothy 1:7: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (NKJV).
Just as the apostle Paul wrote to encourage Timothy to stand strong amidst tough times, the verse reminds us not to allow ourselves to be gripped by fear or crippled by circumstances that we may face in life. Rather, we should learn to fix our eyes on God and draw from Him the power, love and self-discipline to surmount life’s challenges.
It is fitting then, that in this extraordinary year of COVID-19, the MGS community has stepped up and pulled together as one to cope with the tidal wave of change and challenges.
Students, teachers and administrative staff displayed dedication, selflessness and a can-do spirit as they made the necessary adjustments with new daily practices and methods of teaching and learning, as well as alternative ways to continue with the work at hand. During the unprecedented full home-based learning that had to be conducted in April, MGS teachers and students rose to the occasion admirably with courage and determination. Thus, teaching and learning continued online with virtual lessons and assignments, even for Music and PE!
While COVID-19 may be a “C” word that has impacted each and every person, the MGS community remembers 3Cs with which they met the headwinds of 2020: Courage, Compassion and Creativity. There was the courage to try new things and take on new challenges with a positive attitude amidst global uncertainty and fear, the compassion to reach out to the community to rally and support others in need and share their blessings and the creativity to look at life around them in new ways and unearth opportunities and hidden insights.
House leaders kept the school spirit warm and produced videos to demonstrate school-wide activities for their schoolmates to try at home. MGS girls also took the opportunity to spend the time at home meaningfully to create art pieces and videos to encourage fellow Singaporeans, as well as share creative ideas with the school community. A group of girls who call themselves the MGrevival Squad wrote notes of encouragement to their teachers and got together each week via Google Meet to pray for the teachers and their peers.
Indeed, the indomitable MGS spirit that enables each member of the community to uplift others, and be uplifted in turn, has always carried the school through its 133-year history. This spirit is seen across the years when staff and students take up the mantle to lead the school to greater heights and lift high her banner. It is also evident when they rally as one to prevail in difficult circumstances, and when they steer the school together through landscape changes and global crises to remain steadfast in the MGS mission to prepare each girl for every phase of her life.
What powers this special MGS spirit?
One, the knowledge that the people of MGS are endowed with God’s love to confidently accomplish and achieve great things for His glory. With this comes the sense of empowerment to overcome life’s challenges and to be a blessing to others. The MGS culture is deeply entrenched in the belief that talents from God should be held and used in stewardship to Him. Over the years, the #MGSBlessings movement has taken flight to impact the community in myriad ways.
Two, the Methodist culture and identity which is the cornerstone of the MGS education. Miss Sophia Blackmore’s pioneering spirit, faith and heart to serve set an example to all who are living out her legacy each day. The Christian values on which the MGS education is based imbue MGS girls with a rich sense of self for their place in the world, as they seek to Master, Grow and Serve in every phase of their lives. The stewardship and leadership of the school is guided by the MGS Vision and Motto as well as the Methodist ethos, which is strongly reinforced by the school’s partnership with Covenant Community Methodist Church.
Three, the support of many stakeholders in the school’s community along the way. Parents, the Board and the alumnae enrich the ties that bind, and there is a shared sense of belonging and love for the school that compels them to give back. Whether it is an alumna who never forgets her first friendships made at school, or a young mother who imparts the same values she had learnt from a teacher to her child, MGS is never far from their hearts. The contributions of parents and old girls have greatly enabled MGS to stand tall in today’s landscape and helped to shape the future through developing tomorrow’s young leaders.
Ultimately, each member of the MGS community shares and works towards a common goal—the MGS girl as the raison d’être and focus of all things done and decisions taken. At MGS, each child is important and as a school, everyone contributes to bring out the best in each child, who is unique and gifted in her own special way.
Hence, because each MGS girl, carefully shaped and enfolded with love, cherishes and carries with her a sense of duty to endow and enrich lives, she is empowered to step forward to make a difference, for such a time as this. This is also seen across the years where the women nurtured by the school have contributed in meaningful ways in all areas of society and in breaking barriers, with God’s guiding hand behind each one.
In commemorating Founder’s Day this July, the accomplishment goes beyond 133 years as an established educational institution. It encompasses winning the hearts of numerous generations of MGS girls, their families and friends in the community. Indeed, the MGS girl is an example of grace, honour and servant leadership. She calls MGS home, a place where she has grown in character and personhood.
Sue-Mei Tay is the Corporate Communications Manager of Methodist Girls’ School. / Photos courtesy of Methodist Girls’ School