Lead Us to the Fore: Promethean Ceremony 2017

By Soh Ying Qi (18A01C) and Abigail Ang (18S06B)
Photos by Daniel Choo (18S06E), Iffah Rusyda (18S03B) and Timothy Soepadmo (18S03T) of Raffles Photographic Society

It’s that time of year again. The annual Promethean Ceremony, held on 2 August during Year 5 assembly in the Multi-Purpose Hall (MPH), commemorated the outgoing Year 6 CCA Leaders’ (CCALs) contributions to the school and saw the transfer of power to their Year 5 successors.

Emcees Alexis Ong Sze Hun (18S03Q) and Rauf Hannan Azizi (18S06B) opened the ceremony, regaling the audience with the Greek myth of Prometheus bringing fire to man. “Just like Prometheus, the outgoing CCALs from the Class of 2017 will pass on the torch of leadership to their successors, hence the symbolic term, Promethean Ceremony,” they explained.

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Commencement of ceremony.

Up next was a photo montage of the CCALs through their months of service, followed by a speech by Senior Deputy Principal (Student Development) Mr Magendiran (fondly known by students as Mr Mag). He began by asserting that “traditions play an important part” in the establishment of RI, but urged students to “think for a moment why we are doing this”. Student leaders, said Mr Mag, do not always receive recognition for their efforts—they are often forgotten, unappreciated or taken for granted. “I hope, not just today or [on] occasions like these, you will take time to appreciate, to acknowledge, the blood, sweat and tears—not just from the leaders, but from your teachers, from the support staff, the silent workers.”

Citing the examples of sports players John Stephen Akhwari and Roger Federer, Mr Mag also highlighted another important value: grit. “All your CCAs will be challenged, whether it’s [due to] resourcing, recalibration, membership. But how do we defy the odds? I think it’s [in] the mindset, and to have a sense of grit.”

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Mr Mag giving his opening address.

Next, the outgoing Year 6 CCALs were presented with appreciation medals, in recognition of their service and contribution. A sense of sadness permeated the MPH as the leaders of CCAs that have since been phased out—Canoeing and Indian Dance Club—were given their medals by Mr Mag first, in a segment titled “In Appreciation”.

The highlight of the event was the handing over of the symbols of CCA leadership from the Year 6s to their successors. First in line were the CCALs of the Uniformed Groups (UGs). A ripple of laughter ensued as Year 5 NPCC leader Muhammad Khalis bin Samion (18A01C) struggled to sheath the ceremonial sword entrusted to him by his predecessor. When asked for comments after the ceremony, he quipped, “UGs are the bedrock of the school because they are the only way school can start during morning assembly.”

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The UG CCALs standing at attention.

The Clubs and Societies CCALs presented their juniors with many different tokens, ranging from the more explicitly symbolic (Gavel Club’s gavel) to the creative (Mathematics Club’s flower crown—made of geometrically folded paper) to the more exotic (Club Automatica’s drone). Given the wide variety of Clubs and Societies CCAs, it is no wonder that each symbol given to the Year 5s was unique.

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Raffles Press has a tradition of giving books as gifts—perhaps giving a newspaper seems too “karung guni”.

Instruments were a common gift for the Performing Arts CCAs, with Raffles Jazz managing to drum up some laughter with a clever visual pun—a crash cymbal (of appreciation). Still, some CCAs broke with the trend, with unconventional symbols such as Raffles Symphonic Band’s ceremonial lance.

Finally, it was time for the Sports CCAs to take the stage. As expected, most Year 6s gave their Year 5s sports equipment such as balls, rackets or wearables. However, some seniors got creative: Ultimate Frisbee’s symbol, a Frisbee, had its underside uniquely illustrated by the Year 6 CCAL herself, while the symbol of Softball (Girls) was a bright yellow potted flower, bringing some cheer to the MPH. Swords proved an unusually popular choice that day as the CCAL from Judo (Girls) also presented her junior with one, borrowed from Mr Paul Poh. It was not unsheathed as it had a real blade. Their previous choice of a Power Rangers sword had been struck down (get it?).

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Various Sports CCALs with their symbols.

The handing-over ceremony was followed by a vote of thanks from the head of the CCA Department of the 37th Students’ Council, Celeste Ng (18S06H). “First and foremost, allow us to thank the CCA leaders and the seniors for their support all this time,” she began. She then emphasised the importance of “embracing a spectrum of personalities and talents”, before wrapping up her speech by declaring her faith in the next batch of CCA leaders: “I am certain that all of the incoming CCA leaders have the capacity and ability to make a change.”

Following this was the symbolic handing over of a literal Promethean flame, and the reciting of the Rafflesian Leader’s Oath. Solemnity filled the atmosphere as the Year 5 CCALs raised their right hands and repeated the pledge, in the presence of their fellow batchmates.

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CCALs recite the Rafflesian Leader’s Oath as the symbolic Promethean flame burns bright.

Last but not least, the event was capped off with the traditional singing of the Institution Anthem. Of course, no school event is complete without school cheers, and the Councillors led the audience in an energetic rendition of Unite.

Thus did the ceremony conclude, and the transfer of leadership from one batch to the next was complete. Though most Rafflesian ceremonies are replete with motifs of Promethean flames and eagles, the legend of the Greek deity was especially fitting for this occasion, as we recognise the many sacrifices made by CCALs, both past and present (though hopefully not involving eagles). Raffles Press would like to wish the newly invested Year 5s all the best in their future endeavours.

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One last cheer.

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