We have learnt to receive, and it is probably about time that we learn to give.

By Tay Yuanqi

Yesterday, I participated in ‪Carnival ACS5‬. It is my 5th time being involved in the carnival – twice as a student, and thrice as an old boy and mentor to my juniors. Since my graduation, I have been involved with many school projects and activities.

A recent complaint lodged by a parent through STOMP, and later picked up by ST, resulted in several misconceptions about the school and the culture.

Back when I was a student, we were each given $200 worth of coupons to sell. Some of my classmates had parents who would absorb the entire cost, some who went all out to achieve the highest sales, and some who had financial difficulties. We were encouraged to approach our friends, relatives, neighbours, tuition classmates etc. I remembered selling some of my coupons during CNY visiting. However, it was harder for some of my schoolmates to ‘get rid’ of the coupons. To help us along, the school provided a list of affiliated organisations, such as churches and other schools that my schoolmates and I could approach to sell the remaining coupons.

We are familiar with donation cards that we sign on when we make a contribution. Remember Sharity Elephant? It is easy for us to simply put fake signatures on the $2 column 5 times and submit $10. Similarly, it is not hard for us to just buy $10 worth of coupons and return the rest. We could do it without even trying. However, we made an effort and gained experienced through the process of selling the coupons. It’s not really about how much sales we got. We did our best.

The carnival preparation period is very tedious for the teachers. Lots of administrative work needs to be done, such as tabulating coupon sales, vetting and approving the concept of each games or food stall, and communicating with parents and sponsors. Although they do not get paid a cent more, they do it whole-heartedly and always wished the best for their students and the school.

As for the students, it is a great opportunity for learning. We learnt teamwork. We learnt self-initiative. We learnt discipline. We learnt to be organized. We learnt to fundraise. We learnt confidence. We learnt accountability. We learnt many things that a textbook would never teach us. We learnt to appreciate.

When the carnival officially ended today, the school was gathered and then dispersed systematically to clear up the stalls and all the mess. Despite the fatigue, everyone came together as one and all the trash were cleared, rented tables and chairs were stacked and ready for the contractors to pick them up – all within the hour.

It is very heartwarming to see the students and teachers work tirelessly to make this carnival a success. I can be certain that every participant went home with a huge sense of accomplishment and pride in what they have achieved and contributed. If asked if they would do it again, I am sure of what their response would be.

To The Parent: You are probably new to the school’s culture of giving and being a blessing to others. We have a very strong Parent Support Group and Old Boys’ Association who constantly contribute to the school monetarily or through other means of volunteering. This is much more meaningful than parents volunteering in a school for the sole purpose of securing a placement for their child. We have learnt to receive, and it is probably about time that we learn to give.

This first appeared as a post on the Facebook wall of Mr Tay Yuanqi on 11 April 2015. You may wish to share your thoughts with him directly on the page itself.


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