Embracing the exciting 1980s
In 1981, the school had its first Express and Normal Classes at Sec 1 level and a Pre-University Centre for a 3-year course in Commerce. In 1983, the school became a single-stream school in English. In line with the school’s value of ‘Service to the School and Nation’, it launched its “Use your Hand Campaign” and Environmental Programme in 1976. Beach Cleaning activities were carried out annually to uphold the cleanliness of the environment. Collection of old newspapers was also carried out and proceeds from the sale of these items were donated to charity.
Dr Maliki Osman
(Student, 1982 – 1984)
Influence of Student Days on Public Office
Dr Maliki spent 3 years in FTPSS as an A-level student. He sat for his A-levels in 1984. He remembered his short journey to school every morning with fondness. The close proximity afforded him the luxury of even returning home for recess on a daily basis. An active student, he represented the school at seminars as well as debate competition. He was also the main actor at the first ever publicly staged performance at the Toa Payoh Library. Dr Maliki remembers being appointed as Head Prefect of the school in 1984 in his final year at the school. As Head Prefect, his job was to manage student discipline and even administer detention classes for students who were late to school or had discipline issues in class.
Believe in Yourself and Your Potential
Dr Maliki’s appointments in school led him to sometimes make tough decisions. These platforms nevertheless allowed him to hone his leadership skills and develop the confidence to take up leadership positions, especially in public office. Dr Maliki believes that FTPSS has taught him that ‘your origin matters less than believing in yourself and in your potential’. He remains grateful to the school and the teachers who had taught him. It was the school that has helped make him who he is today.
Mr Philip Soon
(Student, 1985 – 1989 and SAC Member, 1997 – 2010; 2013 – 2015)
Strong Ties that Bind
Mr Soon’s sister was from FTPSS and he followed in her footsteps, graduating in 1985. Mr Soon was a student who graduated in 1985. He maintained his association with the school for a further 6 more years by contributing to his ECA, NPCC. He was invited to join the alumni and thereafter became part of the School Advisory Committee, taking up the position of Vice-Chairman. As Vice-Chair, he was involved with the bursary award for needy students. His most vivid memory of FTPSS was his involvement in the ECA, which culminated with his representing NPCC at events in Indonesia and Brunei. Through this challenging ECA, he rose to the rank of Cadet Inspector. He recalls with gratitude teachers like Mr Hung Lum Chui, Mr Noh, Mr Teo Boon Seng, Mrs Yang Wei Chih and Mr Chan Boon Bun
Observations on Student Profile
Mr Soon has observed significant changes in the students from his time to the current time. He feels that the students are intelligent and this change was due to the good work of the teachers. They have done great work to improve the lives of the students under their charge. He feels sad and disappointed about the merger and had hoped that being the first school in Toa Payoh, the name of the school would be retained.
Mr Quek Yuen Hong
(SAC member, 1985 – 2015)
The veteran SAC member
As a long-serving School Advisory Committee member, Mr Quek has worked with eight FTPSS Principals throughout his tenure. He has always sought to give the school community the wealth of his team’s experience in the commerce and industrial fields. He is most proud that the SAC has been able to ensure that students in FTPSS had ample opportunities to develop their academic as well as non-academic talents, and not have to worry about basic things like breakfast or exam fees.
Mr Ronnie Lim
(Teacher, 1986 – 2003)
Revisiting the Past
There was a spirit of camaraderie as everyone worked closely for the well-being of the students. Though holding many concurrent duties (including HOD D&T, 2nd Languages, Art & Craft, Home Economics, as it was MOE’s policy of restricting only 5 HODs for schools of less than 1000 school enrolment), Mr Lim did not regard his work burdensome as colleagues were friendly and volunteered help willingly. This sense of community and belonging helped create a kampong feeling. He recounted the time when the school was relocated at 2 campuses, Campus 1 in Toa Payoh Lorong 1 while Campus 2 was at the site of the former Thomson Secondary School. Staff took it in their stride to shuttle between the two campuses because of limitations in staff strength. He attributes the dwindling enrolment and the loss of the school name to the current location.
Working Together for a Common Purpose
Mr Lim remembers making a promise to a mother to be the ‘guardian’ of a student who was eligible for a better established school. This student went on from success to success in FTPSS. He also recalls with pride a female student of the school, from the Volleyball team, who went on to become the only female parachutist at the National Day Parade. As an educator, Mr Lim related how they had to gear their programmes to level up students sent to the school. The teachers were determined to move the school forward. It was the culture of the school to pitch in and help one another, including the parents who volunteered to be a part of the School Advisory Committee.
Mr Tan Kok Siang
(Student, 1988 – 1992 ; Allied Educator, 2009 – 2015)
Vivid memories of Student Days
He was a student in FTPSS in the 1980s. He has vivid memories of a flooded quandrangle on rainy days in the school at Lor 1. He was a NCC (Land) cadet in those years. His most memorable experience was representing the school in a kayak race. During the race, Kok Siang circumnavigated the island. The years there left a deep impact on him to give back to the students in the school. His posting as an AED (Allied Educator) to FTPSS in 2009 gave him this opportunity. The profile of the students shows that they clearly need him more. He became more than an AED, like a mentor to them. Mr Tan Kok Siang remembers Mr Chan Boon Bun with fondness. The teachers then instilled in him strong values and a deep sense of discipline.
Making an Impact
Being in the PE department allows him to interact closely with students during camps. He is involved in the school’s Outdoor Experiential Learning Programme. The latter allows him to mould the character of students under him – especially when he helps them to overcome their fears. Kok Siang will miss the camaraderie with the staff of the school when it merges. In 2010, Kok Siang helped students who were heavily addicted to computer gaming. A visit to the homes of these students with the school counsellor showed him that the students came from very disadvantaged backgrounds. He persisted in calling up the students and encouraging them to return to school. His persistence paid off and the absenteeism rate decreased significantly.
CHANGE IS THE ONLY CONSTANT