A First for ST JOSEPH’S INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL in Kuching with flying colours

Standing: The six Year 13 graduates
Seated left to right: Father Francis Lim, SJ, Mr Gerald Lee, Archbishop Simon Poh, Mr Christopher Chua, Brother Robert Teoh, FMS,  Mr Thomas Huo, Datuk JC Fong

29 August 2020 marked a historical milestone for St Joseph’s International School (SJIS), Kuching as it celebrated the graduation of its first batch of A-level students. Throughout the event, all participants adhered to the standard operating procedure (SOP) under the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO).

The school has managed to produce students of high calibre with 50% of its students receiving straight A and all passing their examinations. All graduates will continue their study either in local or overseas higher learning institutions. This programme successfully went through 18 months even in the midst of Covid-19.

The ceremony started at 9.00 am after the arrival of members of the Board of Directors of St Joseph’s Family of Schools which includes notable figures like the former State Legal Counsel, Datuk JC Fong, and Mr Gerald Lee, the first principal to take over the leadership of St Joseph’s School from the Lasalle Brothers way back in 1988. Principals from the three schools within the Family of Schools as well as parents of the graduates were present. Also attending were the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Kuching, His Grace Simon Poh and the CEO of St Joseph Family of Schools, Mr Christopher Chua.

The ceremony started with a prayer by Archbishop Simon Poh. Speeches from Archbishop Simon, CEO Mr Christopher Chua and the Principal of SJIS, Brother Robert Teoh, FMS were delivered.

In his speech, Archbishop Simon thanked the first principal of SJIS, namely, Brother Paul Hough, FMS who together with Archbishop Emeritus John Ha and Mr Gerald Lee, the then director of St Joseph’s Family of Schools, started the school in 2017. The mission of the school is to instil human values in the students, for example, mercy, forgiveness and harmony which are for the common good of society, especially in a multi-racial and multi-religious country like Malaysia.

Mr Christopher Chua highlighted the rich history of the schools named after St Joseph in Kuching which dates back to 1882. SJIS is not just 3 years old from 2017 but 138 years. This school together with St Joseph’s Private School continue the aspirations of the founding Mill Hill Fathers who wanted to bring good holistic education to the children in Kuching.

Both Archbishop Simon and Mr Chua stressed to the graduates to come back to Sarawak after their tertiary education to give back to society, just like thousands of alumni of the schools of St Joseph in Kuching who have returned, not only to contribute to the local community but also to their alma mater.

The principal of the school, Brother Robert Teoh who is a Marist Brother mentioned about his founder’s (St Marcellin Champagnat) care and love for children. With this charism in mind, teachers in the school have shown real love to their students through their dedication and sacrifice for the sake of their students.

After that, each student was given an opportunity to say a few words of gratitude on stage. Then came the highlight of the ceremony where the six graduates were awarded their certificates.

Ivy Ng received the highest achievement (top in Malaysia) in the IT subject at AS level for 2019.

The ceremony ended with the blessing of the graduates by Archbishop Simon. The graduates and guests were then invited to a simple tea break before dismissal.