We are home to 1700 students from 40 nationalities. We are inclusive and celebrate our diversity by welcoming students of all faiths.
“Act in such a way through your zeal that you give tangible proof
that you love those whom God has entrusted to you.”
(St John Baptist de La Salle, Ninth Meditation for the Time of Retreat)
How many of us can remember our 10th birthday? I cannot. But whether we celebrate this year the first or sec-ond, or the fifth or sixth decade of our life, a decade of ten years is noteworthy.
St Joseph’s Institutional International opened its doors to its first students only 10 years ago this month, on 7th January 2007. The first high school classes were held in what is now the Raphael block of the Elementary School. With 104 students and 14 teaching staff, led by Br Michael Broughton, the first Brother President, and Mr Andrew Bennett, the founding principal, our school was born. The Elementary School would open one year later when the High School moved into the current HS buildings.
In 2006 SJI International was just a dream. Mr Lawrence da Silva, for whom our Sports Hall is named, along with a committed group of SJI Old Boys, inspired and cajoled others, including the De La Salle Brothers, to work together to make this dream a reality. They were risk takers and men of faith. The school they founded was and is a wonderful reflection of the vision of St John Baptist de La Salle, offering clear and tangible proof of their love for young people which extends to our students today. In every way possible, it seems to me that SJI International demonstrates a kind of care for students that is tangible, that we can see and touch. This is confirmed every day in conversations I have with students and parents who are so enthusiastic about their SJI International experiences.
Although the students in the first High School classes have already graduated, among the current student body we have seventeen students who entered the Elementary School in 2008. We are likewise blessed to have several members of the original teaching and administrative staff still on board today. Over the next eighteen months or so, there will be numerous observances and celebrations of our 10th birthday that will include all members of the school community. Next Friday evening, 20 January, we will pay special tribute to our School Founders.
SJI International has grown tremendously in these first ten years, with a combined enrolment today of 1700 students. I suspect that the success of our school may have surpassed even the expectations of our founders. But their vision of an international school with a Catholic ethos and Lasallian mission, that would bring together young people from Singapore and the world (today our students come from some 40 countries), is now well established in our community. And our outreach to the last, the lost, and the least among us, through both the service experiences of our students, and well as through the opportunities for an SJI International education made possible because of our Scholars programme, is a part of the legacy our founders have passed on to us.
St John Baptist de La Salle used the words Faith and Zeal to best describe the spirit of the schools he envisioned. In the Josephian schools of Singapore, we use the Latin words of our school motto, “Ora et Labora” (pray and work) to similarly describe our faith and trust in God, who thus inspires our zealous commitment to the finest young people of Singapore and the world. May God continue to bless and inspire all that we do.
Happy 10th Birthday to St Joseph’s Institution International!