all photographs by the Raffles Photographic Society
We said goodbye to the graduating Class of 2016 on 18 October with the traditional Farewell Assembly. Although the past two (or six) years seemed to have gone by in a flash, the Year 6 students have experienced and learnt much in their journey in RI, as encapsulated by the Raffles Film Society's montage video, which was punctuated by spontaneous laughs and loud cheers from the audience. Teachers and staff from RI and RGS alike also made a special appearance in a video to wish the graduating students best of luck for the upcoming A-Level examinations and the future.
Principal Mr Chan then took to the stage to share his parting thoughts with the graduating batch. He encouraged the students to know their strengths and play towards them, regardless of society's yardsticks of success.
Our Guest of Honour, Dr Kumaran Rasappan (RI 2000; RJC 2002) shared similar sentiments, encouraging the students to find their own definitions of success. 'Action is, in itself, success; in fact, failure teaches you a lot of things so that you can achieve success next time,' he emphasised. 'The opposite of success is actually indifference, indecision, inaction and mediocrity.'
Dr Kumaran is known for his many contributions to the community; although he is most famous for being the first Singaporean to scale (and eventually summit) Mt Everest for charity, he is also involved in numerous community projects in Nepal, working with the locals to refurbish medical clinics and upgrade school facilities. Following the 2015 Nepal earthquake, he helped out in his capacity as an orthopaedic surgeon for trauma victims and built shelters. He currently leads the NTU Lee Kong Chian medical students on a yearly community service project to continue work in Nepal.
Dr Kumaran shared that it was his CCA (01 Raffles Scouts) and his teachers, like Mr Krishnan (who first brought him and his schoolmates to Nepal on a volunteer trip in 1999) and Mr Raymond Chan (who was and still is in charge of the 01 Raffles Scout Group), who moulded him into the person he is today. He encouraged students to cherish the bonds that they have formed in school and to stay grounded, for it is their values—and not their achievements—that will take them far in life.
Following this, recipients of the Raffles Diploma Awards as well as the Special Awards were presented their certificates. The Varayoc Award, presented by Ambassador of Peru H.E. Manuel Talavera Espinar, was awarded to Toh Si Ying for her leadership and service to the community. Mr Tham Zi Sheng wowed the audience with his rendition of The Climb, while Year 5 students gave a spirited take on nostalgic orientation dances.
The Valedictorian speech was delivered by Freda Mah, President of the 35th Students' Council. Apart from sharing some of her favourite uplifting Disney quotes, she asked the audience to give a big round of applause to the teachers for looking after them and nourishing their hearts and minds, and to the CCA leaders and class, and subject representatives for their dedication.
'Looking back, it is through our mistakes that we learn the most,' she said. 'Each time we fall we grow a little wiser, a little less arrogant, and we learn to forgive ourselves. Ultimately, it is not the number of achievements we accumulate, but how we deal with disappointments and heartaches that define who we are.
'Find happiness in the small things in life, show gratitude and never stop dreaming, and let's make our mark by striving to do something big for something bigger than ourselves.'