It is truly my honour and privilege to stand before you today to testify God's grace in my life and to represent the Graduating class of 2008.
As a foreign student who spent most of my school life away from my parents, I felt that St. Andrew's has become my 'substitute' family. It was in this family that I met encouraging teachers and friends who have helped me as I developed physically, mentally, and spiritually.
The Christian environment in our school has helped to keep me firm in my relationship with God. I remember the chapel lessons where students from the SFC - people like Abraham Chee and Theodore Koh - would stand on stage and try their best to get us to sing the songs of praise and worship. It was definitely challenging for them, having to stand up here, with their schoolmates staring at them. It's also not easy for the pastors to talk to a bunch of teenagers who'd rather spend their time thinking about their computer games. But they never gave up, and we should all be thankful for that.
We should also be thankful for a chaplain who was willing to befriend us. Reverend Michael Teh would meet with the Christian students and teachers every first Wednesday of each term for Chaplain's Hour, where he gives us a message to think about for the term. He would also host a lunch for each class and chat with the students to get to know us better. Reverend Teh is not just another chaplain – I believe most of us love the man for how open, friendly and approachable he is.
I was also fortunate to have friends who were fervent for God, as well as sandwiches. In my class, we used to have a group called the "Sandwich Club", which held meetings during our recesses to share testimonies and egg sandwiches. So even though our class was competitive when it comes to our studies, we also encouraged each other to live faithfully.
I believe that one of the unique features of our school is the camaraderie amongst the saints. You can see this in the way we support each other to do well. During Rugby or Hockey Finals, you would see the entire school cheering along with the AFGM, led by our school cheerleading duo Zul and Zamiq. In fact, Zul and Zamiq would always lose their voice by the end of every match, which goes to show their dedication towards the school. Of course, you would also find many students wishing the Band, Choir, or Drama boys all the best for their SYF Competitions. This is also true when it comes to our studies. I have to admit that I was not very strong in my Combined Humanities, but thankfully, my friends were willing to help me, and I would return the favour by helping with their Maths.
Of course, we would not be able to achieve the grades that we have if it weren't for our dedicated teachers. Even though we often give our teachers headaches with our behaviour in class and our test results, the time and effort that they sacrificed for us is definitely something we are thankful for. Who could ever forget spending their Saturday mornings in school for Chemistry lessons with Mrs Yeo Yuen Chin, or the countless afternoons in the Art room under the watchful eyes of the Art Teachers, or even the jogs along the Kallang River during choir practices with Ms Deborah Gan? These are only some of the many examples of how our teachers go the extra mile to make us better saints. We are also thankful for their light-hearted sense of humour, which never fails to make their lessons more engaging. In Physics class, Mr Gordon Goh would show us his battle-axe (which was actually an enlarged model of a vernier calliper), and his finger-squeezing torturing device (otherwise known as a screw gauge). He would also enlighten us on the difference between a 'yotta-', which means '1024', and a 'yoda', which is a little green character from Star Wars. Thank you, teachers, for the lectures and the laughs. You have certainly enriched our experience in this school.
Our school would also be nowhere if it weren't for our principal and vice-principals. My friends often told me of how they had to see Mrs Charles or Mr Goh because they did poorly in their exams. This certainly proves that our principals follow our progress very closely and want us to reach our potential. Also, before our exams, they would pray for us to calm us down and remind us to put our trust in God. We are grateful for their concern and prayers.
At this point, I would also like to thank the alumni who have contributed to making our experience as Saints a memorable one – from the free Häagen-Dazs ice cream that we get every Sports Meet, to the new swimming pool and synthetic turf field. These are only possible because of the love that our alumni have for the school, and I am thankful for that.
I want to end off with a challenge to you, fellow saints – Make a difference in this school, so that you may bring glory to yourself, to the school and to God. As Colossians 3:23 says, "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men".
Thank you, Saints.
Up and On!
--Ronald Liong, 29 August 2009