As a mission school, we believe that Presbyterian High School (PHS) was planted by God who continues to protect and grow our school faithfully year after year. The Burning Bush is an important symbol of our school and it reminds us that we are in God’s presence every day when we come to school. It is also an expression of our passion to see PHS continue to live up to its motto, Aflame for Truth.
We want to be anchored as we stride forward; we also want to cherish our heritage and traditions. In the first stage of its journey, PHS began as a Chinese medium school – Li Sun High School – until the school was relocated to Ang Mo Kio in 1981. In the lyrics of our school song, Rev Lee Huai Kwang, a pivotal figure in the establishment of the school, penned in Chinese these words “立己立人，为民前锋”. There are two parts to this line: “立己” is to grow oneself and “立人” is to serve others and be a blessing to those around us. These words of the chorus capture another key aspect of PHS. We believe that staff and students have to grow themselves before they can serve and be of help to others.
We teach students the value of “饮水思源”which means that we should always remember the source which the water we are drinking comes from. We would like to extend our deepest thanks to the School Management Board (SMB), True Grace Presbyterian Church and Ang Mo Kio Presbyterian Church for their faithful support in prayer, teaching and guidance and generous funding.
Central to our school is the culture of care. We believe that each member of the PHS family is placed here by God and should be treated with care and respect. PHS is a very good school and we give thanks to God that PHS has continued to find favour in the eyes of parents who place their trust in PHS and made PHS the school of choice for their children.
As we continue in this journey, we believe that God will continue to show His holiness, greatness and power in PHS in all situations, and may we find favour in God’s eyes as we follow him.
百年树人Humbling ourselves before our Eternal God
百年树人 – It takes ten years to nurture a tree, but a hundred years to train a man. Indeed, education is a marathon; the cultivation of good character and values takes time. While a lot of time has been invested in nurturing the students during their stay at Presbyterian High School (PHS), the fruits of our labour may only be reaped many years later, when the students have long graduated from PHS.
焚而不毁Preparing for the future – Build to last
“And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” This verse from Micah 6:8 aptly captures the essence of the school theme for 2019 – Character First. We seek to nurture PHS students into individuals who are able to collaborate and address critical concerns in the community, nation and world. Against the backdrop of an ageing population, climate change, and an inclusive society, we have to ask ourselves this question: “What kind of world will our young people be entering and how are we preparing them to face it?” We want our students to learn in school how they can play their part to address these concerns. We want them to draw the relevance between what they are learning in their various subjects in school to these issues. Thus, we have carved out time in class for teachers to lead students in the discussion of these issues and made the learning of values that undergird their disposition towards the aforementioned issues authentic:
• As a school, we invited a group of elderly residents from Thye Hwa Kuan to our Chinese New Year celebrations. Student Leaders hosted the elderly residents and interacted with them over a meal.
• To tackle the issue of single-use plastic, we have stopped the sale of plastic bottled drinks in the canteen. I was encouraged to find that there was support from staff and students to go ahead with stopping the sale of plastic bottled drinks.
• Expanding on our collaboration with Chaoyang School (CYS), our students went on a learning journey with students of Chaoyang School to Malacca. The trip has facilitated the understanding of the different types of special learning needs through the interaction between students of PHS and CYS.
What do we hope to achieve through the respective learning platforms? We want to lay the foundation of good character so that PHS students will be more altruistic.
饮水思源Giving thanks for the growth
2019 also saw the accomplishment of some of our short-term goals, and we are thankful for the growth.
• In 2017, the school values were re-crafted to make them relevant and significant in the current and future community, national and global backdrop. The three school values are 饮水思源, 焚而不毁, 立己立人and they encapsulate what PHS students stand for. I am happy to see the school values feature in the revised PHS Student Pledge.
• Collective experiences make school life memorable. At PHS, the Year Heads plan programmes exclusive to each consortium – Secondary One Orientation Camp, Secondary Two Adventure Camp and Secondary Four and Five Bonding Day – so as to create opportunities for students to form shared memories about their secondary school life. This year, we rolled out the Signature Programme for the Secondary Three Consortium, and the students had loads of fun participating in activities like Combat Archery, Bubble Soccer and Mini Pool Ball.
• To extend care to PHS students, we have set up an after-school drop in centre and two consultation rooms. While the consultation rooms provide students with a conducive environment to do their work and consult their teachers in the afternoons, the drop in centre provides a safe environment for students to interact with their friends and teachers after school. We hope that through this platform, positive relationships and strong after-school supportive systems will be built.
• We believe strongly that every CCA should be a good CCA. To achieve this, we have reviewed school policies and merged CCAs with dwindling enrolment. By doing so, funds can be channelled to other CCAs to conduct a baseline level of beneficial activities for the students. Prior to 2019, we did not engage coaches for the Badminton and Soccer CCAs. The old paradigm was that these CCAs had not developed to a level where they could play competitively. We have reviewed this and with strong support from our staff, we have budgeted for and engaged coaches for the Badminton and Soccer CCAs this year. With this, students in all Sports CCAs now have coaches to develop their skills and bring them to a higher level of competence.
• Since the inception of the Applied Learning Programme (ALP) – Forensic and Pharmaceutical Science – in 2017, the Lower Secondary students have been applying the investigative and inquiry approach in understanding and learning about the complexity and dynamics in this area of Science. I am happy to share that with the maturing of the ALP, our ALP was showcased at Singapore Day in Shanghai, a single-day annual event designed to update overseas Singaporeans of what is happening at home.
立己立人Preparing students worthy of God and man
We do not function alone – we are part of a larger community. With this in mind, the school has a part to play in shaping the values and attitudes of students. This in turn will enable students to understand that they are part of the community and they can play their part in looking out for and contributing to those who need support. Two of our major provisions for the holistic development of students are through CCAs and Programmes for Holistic Development (P.H.D). We do not want any students’ participation in any of the programmes to be hindered by financial difficulties. As such, we aim to minimise out-of-pocket expenses. We have reviewed the school policies and made changes such as stopping the practice of collecting fees from students to pay for CCA training and putting in place subsidies for students’ jerseys (for the Sports CCAs) and costumes (for the Performing Arts CCAs). Moving forward into 2020 and beyond, we are also putting in place plans for students to have greater social mixing through the way we form our classes.
前人种树，后人乘凉 – One generation plants the trees under whose shade another generation rests. It is our privilege to be the instruments of God to do His work, for He alone is the master architect and has the perspective over eternity. He calls us to serve faithfully in our season and to add our piece of work to the big picture. The seeds have been planted and we are starting to see the initial signs of growth. We have faith that God will keep His promises and lead us into reaping the fruits of our labour in His time.