20 January marked a major milestone for the SJI International community, as we marked our first decade with the 10th Aniversary School Founders Celebration.
St Joseph’s Institution International opened its doors just ten years ago, on the 8th of January, 2007. The first high school classes were held in what is now the Raphael block of the elementary school. With 104 students and 14 teach-ing staff, with Br Michael Broughton as Brother President and Mr Andrew Bennett as the founding principal, our school was born. The elementary school would open one year later, under the leadership of Mrs Louise Grant, when the high school moved into its current buildings. We were honoured that Louise, Andrew, and Br Michael were able to join us for the night, together with the six long-serving staff members who were also with us from the first day.
SJI International has been blessed from the very beginning with an outstanding staff of men and women who are wholeheartedly dedicated to our students and to the mission of the school. In 2006 SJI International was just a dream. Lawrence da Silva and a committed group of SJI Old Boys, many of whom were there with us that night, inspired and cajoled others, including the De La Salle Brothers, to work together to make their dream come true. On the 17th of July 2006, (just six months before the school began classes) they officially formed what they called the Leadership Council for the Establishment of St Joseph’s Institution International, headed by our Guest of Honour Mr Philip Yeo. Listen to what they said:
“Having benefitted from our education in St Joseph’s Institution and in response to our alma mater’s call, we have come together to form a Leadership Council, and in doing so pledge our support and commitment for the establishment of a new international educational institution, rooted in the charism of St John Baptist de La Salle, open to everyone whatever his creed may be, and worthy of the tradition of excellence in moral, intellectual and physical education which has been so carefully nurtured in St Joseph’s Institution since 1852. So help us God.”
(17 July 2006, Singapore)
When we see the success of the school today, it is sometimes hard to imagine the risk that our founders faced when they took a chance with us. With no funding, with no school site, but with plenty of faith and a vision, the Leadership Council and the Founders moved forward, with no guarantee that SJI International would be successful. Other than their belief expressed in the final words of their vision statement, So Help Us God.
Without a doubt, SJI International has grown tremendously in these first ten years, with a combined enrolment today of some 1700 students – a success that may have even surpassed the expectations and vision of some of our founders: to build an international school with a Catholic ethos and rooted in Lasallian and Josephian values, who always strives to reach out the last, the lost and the least.