ANNIVERSARIES are junctures to ponder on history, sometimes with happiness, at times with despondency but seldom without any significance.
They are as much important milestones for a school as they are for an organisation.
More often than not, they commemorate the positive aspects of the school – its achievements, rituals, challenges and ethos – with the aim to inspire a sense of pride not only in the alumni, but also present-day students of the school.
These anniversaries often present opportunities for one to rekindle past relationships with friends and classmates, and to reminisce fond memories.
Mission schools in Malaysia can look forward to their anniversaries with a sense of pride on their achievements.
They have carved a niche in the lives of many students, some of whom have ascended to the pinnacle of success to become the country’s prominent citizens.
St. Anthony’s School in Teluk Intan, Perak, can trace its roots to Feb 2,1931, when Rev Father Michel Bonam set up the school in a wooden shack linking it to the St. Anthony’s Church building to cater for the needs of the Catholic children in his parish.
The Latin words Caritas Non Ficta, which means Charity Without Hypocrisy, became the school’s motto.
Named after St. Anthony of Padua, the school had an initial enrolment of 11 students. Prior to that, schoolgoing Catholic children attended the nearby Methodist School – known today as Horley Methodist School.
Throughout its nine decades of service, St. Anthony’s School has been synonymous with quality education.
Back then, teachers at the school were sticklers for discipline who meted out punishment that would be forbidden today – all for the sake of inculcating students with values that would make them good citizens of the country.
Numerous prominent educators have graced the halls of the school and made notable contributions. It was during Rev Brother Denis Hyland’s tenure as principal (1956-60) that a land adjacent to the school was acquired for the school field.
From the time of its inception, La Salle Brothers had appointed the school’s principals. A change occurred in 1977 when Mr Toh Soon Guan became the first lay principal of the school.
Many students from St. Anthony’s have gone on to become doctors, lawyers, engineers, teachers and civil servants and achieve success in their respective careers. The school also produced national sportsmen.
Anthonians can look with pride on the contributions of its former students to various spheres in Malaysia, as well as abroad.
Most Malaysians and foreigners often name the Leaning Tower of Teluk Intan as the most prominent landmark in the town.
St. Anthony’s School, one of Teluk Intan’s premier schools, can lay claim to being one of its landmarks too.
Anthonians will be celebrating their centennial celebrations in 2031.
The Old Boys of St. Anthony’s School have published a coffee table book entitled I am Anthonian, highlighting the school’s history.
For details, call Prof Dr Selva (012-3533441), Andrew (019-2375577), Joe Lee (019-2823768) or Samuel (017-6609945).BENEDICT LOPEZKuala Lumpur