Jointly reported by:
Sophia Ng Szu Fei Sr2ScB 17685
Ng Choon Hau Sr3A 16066
On 20th January 2021, students (from Junior 1 to Senior 2) and teachers of Kuen Cheng High School attended the first day of school at home. Different from other years, this year’s opening ceremony was held online as the toll of confirmed Covid-19 cases had reached a high peak of 2000 positive cases a day, prompting the implementation of the nationwide Movement Control Order (MCO) once again (except for Sarawak as of 22nd January 2021).
Starting off, our Principal, Dr Chua Lee Lee greeted us with her heart-warming speech, welcoming all students into the new academic year despite not being able to see each other in real life. The School had indeed welcomed another batch of lively Junior Middle One students who were extremely nervous. Even so, Madam Chua had assured them that they were in good hands by introducing the school committee in detail.
Moving on, a welcoming session was held for Junior 1 students. A clip of well wishes from former Junior 1 students was played, as it was Kuen Cheng’s tradition to give well wishes to the newbies who were unfamiliar with their new journey.
A Recollection of 2020: Online Classes, Online Events, Back to School
Then, the Principal summarized a few major events that had happened from January to early March last year. Following these events, various talks involving veteran professors from different fields had been subsequently planned to update students on the world’s latest academic achievements, but these plans were forced to a halt due to the pandemic. The Principal, once again, urged the students to take necessary precautions to protect themselves during these times.
Following the imposition of the MCO in March, online classes have been conducted beginning in April. In conjunction with these classes, various Departments have also held some events, including the Let’s Change Challenge and the Covid-19 Awareness Poster Designing Event that provided students with positive messages.
The Co-curricular Department had also carried out an online holiday programme during the May-June school holidays. Among the activities were cooking shows, yoga classes, and video editing classes. These classes have received very positive response from students, bringing smiles to many faces.
(Below are two links related to the event; the first is a Google Drive archive of recordings of the activities (accessible only via Kuen Cheng email), while the second is an e-magazine from the Newsletter Club reporting on aforesaid activities.)
Starting from late June, students have been allowed to return to school in batches to attend physical classes. That was short-lived, however, and classes were reverted online once again after a few months. A weekend in December to collect leftover books at school would be the last time most students would step back into school grounds in 2020. It was truly a tumultuous year.
The Principal took this opportunity to thank the Newsletter Club for setting up an online message board for students to express their feelings and send their well wishes. Those interested in submitting one can fill in this Google Form: https://forms.gle/t6R55qVSM2LJ3aqYA
New Year, New Arrangements
Following that, the Principal started addressing new arrangements the School Management has made for the new year, beginning with a hot topic amongst students last December: the new Juniors’ Class Naming system.
In this new system, students’ classes were no longer based on their grades, rather they were randomly assigned. Junior Classes in particular have gone through a major revamp: in lieu of the traditional alphabetical system (Jr3A, Jr3B, Jr3C…), students were grouped into four categories based on their academic performance, then randomly assigned to classes in their respective categories. The categories were based on four core values, in Chinese they are namely: 真(Z), 善(S), 美(M), and 德(D). This change was introduced to alleviate the academic competition between students, and to better focus on developing students’ well-being holistically.
With that, the Principal’s speech ended, with hopes that we may all return to school soon.
Afterwards, the Academic Department, Discipline Department, and Co-curricular Department subsequently gave a briefing on their respective arrangements.
Head of the Academic Department, Madam Leong Wai Yee, first built onto the Principal’s introduction to the new class arrangement system, stating that there was “no best nor worst class”. She then introduced the timetabling system as well as briefed students on the way online classes were going to be conducted. The overall system has become more refined compared to last year due to much feedback from students and teachers.
Ms Lim Siew Lian, Head of the Discipline Department, went next, focusing mainly on rules and etiquette concerning online classes, as well as punishments for violating aforementioned rules. She then explained the leave application process for missing online classes, noting that those with a 90% attendance rate for online classes would receive an extra 0.5 on their semester average. Finally, she implored students to constantly be alert of updates by routinely checking school-related websites, and to keep themselves safe during the pandemic.
Following that, Ms Lim Bee Hsiang, Assistant Head of the Co-curricular Department, briefed on the new mode of co-curricular activities: in March, students need only attend three online classes; while from April to August, students would attend one physical class and one online class (in the case of complete lockdown, two online classes would be held instead). Next, she reminded students to select their club (for Junior 1 students) and to make club switching applications (for students from Junior 2 to Senior 1) in the given timeframe, and briefly explained the club switching process.
Brighter Hopes for The New Year
After the briefings, three performances were introduced over the online spot: the first was a Chinese Folk Dance presented by members of the Chinese Folk Dance Club; the second was a compilation of various diabolo tricks from members of the Diabolo Club; and the final performance was a skit from members of the Multimedia Club about online classes.
With that, the Opening Ceremony came to an end. Here’s to a better, healthier and more peaceful 2021!