KUCHING — On Friday, 14 June, a special assembly was held to appreciate and honour Brother Paul Ignatius Hough, FMS – the first principal of St Joseph’s International School (SJIS).
This special occasion coincided with the School Mass at St Peter’s Church, which was presided over by Archbishop Simon Poh and Fr Francis Lim, SJ. Other invited guests include Brother Dominador A. Santiago (Ador), FMS, the new provincial of the Marist Brothers of East Asia and Archbishop Emeritus John Ha.
During the Mass, the handover to the new principal, Br Robert Teoh, FMS was carried out and thankful speeches were delivered. Br Paul also gave a short speech.
“I leave the school in Br Robert’s very good hands and I look forward to returning for a graduation and special occasions,” he said at the end of his speech.
After the Mass, everyone including the invited guests proceeded to the assembly hall for the special assembly where all teachers and students bid their farewells.
More speeches were made to show appreciation and gratitude towards Br Paul and his two-and-a-half years of hard work and effort as the school principal. Students and teachers also showed their love by putting together a few performances: a piano recital, a piano and cello duet, poetry reading and a K-pop dance.
Furthermore, the Student Leaders made a video tribute called Voices from the Community, which truly shows the love and respect the entire school has for Br Paul. And as a token of gratitude, the staff gave him two beautifully custom-made neckties with Sarawak motifs.
Before the assembly ended, Br Paul gave a farewell speech in which he emphasised the Marist belief of family spirit and inclusiveness in SJIS.
“We need to work together as a family, as staff, students and parents. That’s a very strong sense of support. It’s something that is not common in all the other schools,” he said.
“This is not a school to make everyone look Catholic. It’s an inclusive school where we welcome everyone whether Methodists, Anglicans, Buddhists or Hindus.”
Br Paul, at the age of 73, is ready to embark on his new journey. In 2016, he came here with a mission to set up an international school for the Archdiocese of Kuching and now, he proudly announced that his mission is finally completed.
Hu Ting Fen