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Who would have thought that spending 4 days and 3 nights on an island far away from home would end up being one of our most memorable experiences? The OBS camp, held at Pulau Ubin from 22-25 February 2016, was not just a mere “outdoor camp”; it was something worth all the mosquito bites and sun burns. This camp aims to develop ruggedness in us as we learn responsible decision making skills (and experiencing the results of our decisions), managing and exercising interpersonal skills and compassion. While we were under the harsh sun, we persevered through the weather and survived! Trekking for more than 4km with a load that could easily pass 10 kg and kayaking under the scorching hot sun made us realise how grateful we were to be in a modern world like Singapore.  The High Elements taught us that there really is no limit to anything. At the end of the day, it is our fear of stepping out of our comfort zone and trusting ourselves, including the others in our team that is preventing us from achieving our goals. The different outdoor experiences like camping and outdoor cooking allowed us to put ourselves in the shoes of our parents or helpers who have always been doing the chores at home. All in all, OBS was surely an experience that will always stay with us. The tears and sweat that went into the camp created this strong bond between the watch which brought us closer to one another.

Reported by Siti Aqidah, 3G1

The m-Learning Parents’ Seminar @ Crescent

The m-Learning Parents’ Seminar @ Crescent was held on 19th February 2016 to share with parents the school’s programmes to equip students with real-world skills.

The evening started off with an interaction session between the parents and the Secondary 1 Form Teachers. This was then followed by our Principal, Mrs Tan Chen Kee, sharing details about Crescent’s various programmes with parents. Some of them included Character and Citizenship Education and the Values-In-Action Programme to develop values and empathy in students. Mrs Tan also talked about the 21st Century Competencies and how Crescent’s m-Learning programme enable Crescentians to learn how to use digital technology efficiently and safely.

Following the address, parents were then invited to view a showcase put up by the Secondary 2 and 3 students who shared their experiences with using their personal learning devices. Students showcased the use of their devices in subjects such as Communicative Arts, Biology, Mother Tongue Language and Lower Secondary Computer Education Programme and how technology enhanced their learning. They also spoke about how learning to use various software programmes such as Microsoft Office and Adobe Photoshop helped them enhance their IT skills and how this afforded them a wider range of lesson activities. Other platforms showcased included Crescent’s very own Students Repository, which serves as a resource banking site, and Spectrum, which caters to bite-sized learning activities for students to learn and hone their skills in various subjects. The student presenters also shared how planning and doing their lesson work on personal learning devices had helped them complete their projects and assignments efficiently taught them how to better use their time.

All in all the seminar was well-received by parents who felt that they now had a clearer understanding of how Crescent enables effective teaching and learning through the m-Learning programme.

Reported by Mrithini Gritharan (2G2)

2016 Internationalisation Trip: Cambodia

On 7th March 2016, 40 Secondary 2 Crescentians and 4 teachers embarked on a 5-day long International Service Learning journey to Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Not knowing what to expect, each one of us was exhilarated. We knew that this trip was not a holiday, but for us to serve and learn from the Cambodians.

My excitement grew upon touching down at Phnom Penh International Airport. We boarded the coach, and set off with high spirits. Our tour guide took us through Cambodian history and politics. After visiting the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, and hearing about its chilling past, I realised that there was really a lot that we should learn in order to ensure that the dark history of Cambodia does not repeat itself.

Apart from teaching and conducting games, we also helped out in the painting of the school, and farmed in the orphanage’s garden. We did not expect the activities to be as physically and mentally challenging as it turned out to be. This experience made us feel much more grateful and appreciative towards those around us who undertake similarly unsightly but necessary jobs back at home.

Over the course of the next 3 days, we conducted our community service at Samrong Orphanage andPuon Phnom Primary School. Initially we feared that the students would be shy and nervous around us, however, we were proven wrong as the students were welcoming and participative in all of the activities we had prepared for them. However, the thing that really struck me was their buoyant attitude towards learning, despite the poor conditions of the classrooms. I reflected on my attitude towards learning and school, and even though we have considerably ideal studying conditions, I often take it for granted and am negative towards learning and lethargic in school. This, I told myself has to change!

Our 5-day trip was really an enriching one with many memorable moments. We realised how many things we have been taking for granted all this while, that some would feel privileged to have. As we go on with our busy lifestyles, we should keep in our minds the Cambodian children, and treasure the little things in our lives.

Reported by: Kamalini K (2C2)

2016 Internationalisation Trip: Bintan

Early in the morning of 7th March, 4 teachers and 32 students took the ferry from Tenah Merah Ferry Terminal to Bandar Bentan Telani Ferry Terminal in Bintan. Everyone could not wait to begin their Secondary 2 Internationalisation trip!

We visited the Bintan Eco Farm for an educational tour and saw different types of trees, plants and animals. We tasted ripe fruits and had fun learning how to make rojak!

Thereafter, we proceeded to Anugerah Orphanage in which we spent our next three days at, interacting with and engaging the orphans in a lot of activities such as how to create music using bells, and doing art and craft using our own fingers. We encountered difficulties like language barrier and how to keep them engaged in our activities soon overcame them.

We also had an opportunity to learn how to plant. The weather was scorching hot but we had fun. On the last day, we combined groups to choreograph our own performances and the orphans also sang for us.

On the 2nd day, we went to visit a local school, SMPN 7 Tanjung Pinang. The school warmly welcomed us with their performances by their different CCA groups. In exchange, we sang our school song, danced our very own school mass dance and belted out our school cheers with pride. We even invited them to dance together with us. It was really memorable and enjoyed by everyone. They also showed us their very own garden which had plants that did not require soil on which to grow. It was amazing! Our teacher in-charge, Mr Charles Ng presented with them a Batik painting as a form of appreciation. Before we left, they presented us with some gifts too.

At the end of the day, in the act of giving, we also learnt from the people over there how to be contented with what we have. We learnt how to appreciate and cherish the things and people around us and not take them for granted. Lastly, ending off with a quote by Denis Waitley “Happiness cannot be travelled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace and gratitude”.

Reported by GladysPoh (2S1)

2016 Internationalisation Trip: Malacca

On 7th March, 14 of us from different classes, along with two teachers, embarked on our 5-day Sec 2 Internationalization Trip to Malacca. Our initial awkwardness with one another was eventually overcome by our common goal: to do our service learning abroad. The weeks before our departure were spent planning and practising hard for the activities we would be carrying out during the service learning at Beringin Park Melaka Old Folks Home, Sri Ramakrishna Orphanage and Hopehaven Centre for Special Children.

The appreciation from our respective audiences made the hard work worthwhile. We had an enriching time at the Old Folks’ home, carrying out other activities such singing karaoke, doing light exercises and interacting with the elderly residents. Despite the language barrier as they spoke mainly Tamil, we also enjoyed interacting and playing games with the friendly children in the orphanage. We learnt that most of the children there were from poor, single-parent households. At the Hopehaven Centre, we spent the day doing light chores such as cleaning the fans, gardening and cutting pieces of cloth for the children’s handicraft work, which were impressive. The children there were very happy to meet us and participated enthusiastically in the organised games.

At the MOZAC, a premier school that we visited, our mutual cultural exchange programme gave us both valuable insights into our respective schools’ histories, cultures and countries. The students were very hospitable, and despite the short visit, we became friends and even exchanged email addresses. It was one of the most memorable moments in our entire journey!

To learn about Malaccan culture, we visited heritage sites such as Cheng-ho museum, Baba Nyonya museum and Saint Xaviers’ Church. We especially enjoyed the Malacca River Cruise and the walk down historical Jonker street.

This trip was in every respect a success as not only have we forged lasting friendships,  learnt about the rich history of Malacca, but, above all, realised how fortunate we are to be born into loving families. All of us would love to go on another internationalisation trip in the future.  

Reported by Viswanathababu Gurupriya (2G2), Sasmithaa (2S2)

Total Defence Day

It was on a Tuesday, 16 February 2016, that Crescent Girls’ School commemorated Total Defence Day – the very day in which the British surrendered to the Japanese in 1942. We began the day with the parade of the various uniformed groups and our Principal delivered a poignant speech that reminded us of the historical significance of this event and that Singapore is our home that is worth defending.

This year, Total Defence Day was commemorated through a game-based learning approach which was based on the theme “Together We Keep Singapore Strong”. The CrezAmbassadors collaborated with the NE Committee teachers to come up with a Total Defence version of the Monopoly board game. In playing the game, we learnt how certain events like economic recessions could have certain negative repercussions on Singapore. We also learnt how our individual actions could bring about positive or negative impacts on the total defence of Singapore. For example, by being trained in first aid empowers us to share our knowledge with others and help save others in times of need. This contributes to civil defence. Yet another takeaway from the event cards would be Skills Future which is an initiative to help Singaporeans stay relevant and employable in an increasingly competitive global economy. This contributes to economic defence as no one owes us a living and thus, we must all possess some means of supporting ourselves and not rely on the government for everything.

During the two hours, all students were engaged in and enriched by the game.  Aside from the commemorative events on Tuesday, Total Defence was also commemorated throughout the week with the Share-A-Thought skit related to this year’s theme, as well as playing the updated Total Defence song “There’s A Part For Everyone” over the PA system on campus prior to flag-raising for the entire week. All in all, it was truly a fulfilling and thought-provoking experience that emphasised the importance and responsibilities of citizenship.  

Reported by Samyuktha Omprakash (3C1), Ow Rui Qi Rachel (4S3)

International Friendship Day 2016

On 5th April 2016, Crescent Girls’ School commemorated International Friendship Day (IFD) with the theme “We Love ASEAN - Strengthening Ties Across Borders”.

During CCE lessons, the students discussed Singapore’s ties with the various ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries. They came up with very captivating collages on the different ASEAN countries and their relations with Singapore. In doing so, students realised the importance of these regional ties and how they are essentially imperative to regional stability and the sustainable development of ASEAN.  

In the assembly programme that followed, the Crescentians were given insights into the history and objectives of ASEAN before being quizzed. Thereafter, Crescentians were treated to our very own Miss ASEAN fashion runway. Eight CrezAmbassadors represented the 10 ASEAN countries by donning these countries’ traditional costumes and sashayed down the runway in the auditorium, whilst maintaining their poise and elegance. Crescentians were able to feast their eyes on the dazzling outfits that highlighted the cultural diversity of the various countries. At the same time, they were also further enlightened by the emcees on the unique relationships Singapore has with each ASEAN country.

Following that, Crescentians enjoyed a special performance by the Sekolah Kebangsaan Indonesia and the Indonesian Embassy — a traditional yet interactive folk dance and a more modern dance item. The performance was well-received with applause and cheers from the audience.

This has been an enjoyable and truly enriching experience for the CrezAmbassadors who stepped up to the occasion. As student leaders who support the school in championing citizenship education causes, we look forward to planning many more of such enriching and entertaining commemorative programs for the student body in future.

Reported by Samyuktha Omprakash (3C1)

2016 Internationalisation Trip: Hunan

If you ask any Crescentian about their Internationalisation experience, most will say that it was an enriching, and of course, fun experience. My internationalisation trip to Hunan, China was no different. During the six days in Hunan, there were many instances when the customs and cultural practices helped me realize that there is a bigger world out there, with plenty to learn. The trip left me humbled, to reflect on what I have and who I am.

Through the various service-learning activities done at the local schools with the students, I learned more about the lives of the students there. As I conducted the English lessons for them, I was struck by the students’ hunger for knowledge. Their passion for learning made me want to give my best for the lessons. As I gave, I also received. It was a hands-on experience that did not allow us to sit on the sidelines and watch.

After this service-learning trip, I understood the true meaning of the Crescentian value of generosity. By giving my time and attention unreservedly, and by being present there and then, the trip has allowed me to better appreciate the school and lessons I go through. The experience has taught me the meaning of “When I serve, I serve. When I give, I give. When I love, I love. When I study, I study. And when I play, I play.”  

Reported by Ardelia Isa (2C1)

2016 Internationalisation Trip: Shantou

On the morning of 5 March 2016, the group of 35 Crescentians and 4 accompanying teachers gathered at Changi Airport Terminal 2 for our Secondary 2 Internationalisation trip to Shantou, China. Although it was only 5 am in the morning, there was little feeling of tiredness amongst us as we were all feeling excited to be travelling with our peers since this was the first time that we were travelling without our parents for many of us. We set off happily into the departure hall, embarking on a life-changing experience that awaited us.

During the trip, we spent 4 days at Pengzhou School, a local primary school, to carry out our CIP activity. The 35 of us were split into groups and we had spent our training session prior to the trip planning for the classroom activities to carry out with the Primary 1 – 4 classes that were pre-assigned to us. The activities planned ranged from playing outdoor games such as Captain’s Ball to teaching the young children basic conversational English and simple origami crafts. After spending close to two months of planning, we were really excited to finally able to execute the lessons in the classrooms. However, we were also feeling anxious and nervous as we were unsure of what was awaiting us in the classrooms since it was the first time for us to experience being a teacher. As part of our CIP activity, we also designed a mural to be painted on the external walls of the classrooms. Our 4 days at the primary school flashed by quickly as we interacted with the students during the lessons and took turns completing the mural painting in between our assigned lessons. Our last day in the school was really emotional as over the past 4 days, many of us had bonded with the students assigned to us and we were all feeling sad that we had to bid farewell so soon. The school held a farewell ceremony for us during which the Primary 4 students performed a lovely dance.

During the trip, we also got the opportunity to visit iconic sites of Shantou and Chao Zhou to learn about the region’s rich history. At the Shantou Qiao Pi Museum, we learnt about the struggles of the Chinese immigrants who had left their hometown to work in ASEAN regions in the hope of supporting their family. It was an interesting learning journey, especially when we were able to trace back a few key Singaporean philanthropists and their contribution towards nation-building in both Singapore and China.

The 8-day Internationalisation trip had been an eye-opening experience for us as it allowed us to take on a different perspective and we learnt to be appreciative of what we have and the people around us. We also learned to put others before self and think before acting. Although we had our fair share of problems communicating with the students during our CIP activity and getting them to listen and follow the instructions, we were proud that we rose to the challenges and managed to improvise our planned lessons and execute them smoothly in class. The nightly debriefs with the teachers also helped us to see the problems we faced in the classrooms from different perspectives and relate back to our experience in Singapore.

Reported by Megan Kwek Jia En (2C1), Chew Xin Yun (2C2)