SIBU: The success of SMK Sacred Heart, the only school in Sabah and Sarawak that makes it into the country’s Top 10 in the STPM examinations for two consecutive years, has caught the attention of Education Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid.
In terms of ranking, this mission school was placed first in 2016 and fifth in the 2017 exam. Its cumulative Grade Point Average from 2015 to 2017 was 3.17, 3.36 and 3.35 respectively, and the school also achieved a 100% pass rate for the three years.
On Saturday, Mahdzir made a stop at the school after a two-day visit to rural schools in Kapit, for his fact-finding mission on SMK Sacred Heart’s achievements. He was accompanied by state Education Department director Rakayah Mado.
After a half-hour briefing by principal David Teo and a school walkabout, the minister was evidently impressed with what he had found out.
“I told the director (Rakayah) that I want to come here to know the secret of the school’s success,” he said.
He said in any school,whether rural or urban, students, teachers, parents and the community could assimilate to the system.
“SMK Sacred Heart has proved that the system works well with them by being in the Top 10 in the country for 2016 and 2017 STPM exams,” he said.
“Parents and teachers of the school have played an important role to help it achieve excellent results,” he said.
“Gender,” he said, “is also not an issue in the school as 101 of the teachers are women and only 20 are men.”
“Congratulations to the school. The school has set a benchmark for STPM. In 2016, you are Number One and this time, you are Number Five. I think next year, you will be back to Number One,” he said to the applause of the packed meeting room.
Teo attributed the school’s success to the students, teachers and parents. He said the students had the hunger for knowledge while the teachers were always ready to go the extra mile to provide free revision for their students.
“On the third day of the recent Chinese New Year celebrations, a student told me that there was a revision session at school.
“We have extra classes on weekends and holidays, and the students are willing to attend,” he said.
Parents also provided significant support to the school, he added.
Teo said when he became the principal of the school in 2014, he formulated a concept whereby only with quality teachers that they could produce quality students.
The school was also receiving all-round support from its ex-students.
“Our alumni is very strong. They support us tremendously, ” he said.
“This is teamwork, it is hard to do but we have achieved it,” he said. SMK Sacred Heart has 1,177 students (excluding Lower Six) currently.