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Old 26-11-2006, 12:04 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Monk's Hill Secondary School Closing..

THE flag comes down today and Monk's Hill Secondary will pass into history.

Ex-students have been urged to attend the last flag-lowering at the school (above) today.

The 48-year-old school, alma mater of comedian Kumar, actress Phyllis Quek and national hockey player Nordin Manaff, is closing down.

Or rather, it will be merging with Balestier Hill Secondary next year.

There will be one final flag lowering this evening, after a plea to preserve the school name failed to take off.

Some former students talked of getting a petition going for this, but didn't get around to doing it.

Said old student Zaid Mohammed, 37, who heard about the closure two months ago: 'I was angry. It's such a good school with a long history.'

PETITION

Other schools in the area had relocated but kept their names, he said, citing Swiss Cottage Secondary and Dunearn Secondary, which have both moved to Bukit Batok.

Mr Zaid, a photographic technician at Singapore General Hospital, whose five older brothers all attended the school, tried to get in touch with as many ex-Monkhillians as possible to get the petition going.

His former classmate R Ramesh said: 'Why should they retain Balestier Hill's name and not Monk's Hill's? It has a longer history.'

Balestier Hill Secondary was started in 1964, Monk's Hill in 1958.

'We shared some amazing memories of the school, like how we beat Raffles Institution in hockey in 1983 and became C division champions,' recalled Mr Ramesh, 37, a career consultant officer. 'I still have the jersey I exchanged with the player from Raffles.'

However, the petition never took off. Mr Zaid said: 'It was the beginning of the fasting month and I was moving house so it was hard to focus on this as well.'

Now, they hope there will be a good turnout of old students for the flag-lowering ceremony in the school's parade square at 6pm today.

It was at Monk's Hill that Kumar picked up his love for classical Indian dance.

He said: 'I took dance lessons at the school and performed for Teachers' Day.

'It's sad that it's closing, but you've got to move on.'

And it was there that Mr Nordin found his passion for hockey.

He also coached the Monk's Hill school hockey team for several years.

Mr Nordin, 40, said: 'I was asked to go for the closing, but I'm not going.

'I don't want to see it closed. This way, in my mind it will still be there.'

One person who has been with Monk's Hill for a long time is Madam G Krishnaleela, 59.

She was a student of the school in the 1960s and has taught there for 20 years.

'Its hard to express in words how we feel,' she said. 'We feel as though we've been uprooted and we've lost our identity.'

She will be moving on to teach at Balestier Hill.


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