By Aaron Tan (19A01B) and Phang Yeu Yeou (19A01A)
Photos by Raffles Photographic Society
Terse, straight-spined, the members of the 37th students’ council sat onstage as schoolmates poured in to witness the 2018 Students’ Council Investiture. The day, for them, was bittersweet. It marked the end of a journey – their journey of service – fraught with trials but of equal part reward. And today, that journey begins anew for the 38th – today, the baton changes hands, borne ceaselessly forward in the ebb of aspiration. Today, brave new leaders step up to bear that gryphon torch, to serve and shine forth.
This year’s theme was Ka38idoscope, a fusion of the number 38 (It was the investiture of the 38th Students’ Council, after all) and the word “kaleidoscope”. Coined in 1817 by Scottish inventor David Brewster, “kaleidoscope” is partly derived from the Ancient Greek καλός (kalos) – “beautiful, beauty”. A unique beauty, perhaps, perfectly represented in how each Rafflesian brings with them their own color and shape. Their talents, experience, personality; their own unique identities – all these and more combine to form a vibrant, beautiful whole that is Raffles. Just as how, when viewed through a hole bored through its end, shards of coloured glass within the kaleidoscope form a dazzling burst of hues.
Soon, the ceremony began. To throes of applause our guest-of-honour, Mr Jonathan Lim, was escorted into the hall. Mr Lim, an assistant superintendent at the Singapore Police Force, was himself once a part of the Students’ Council. Taking the lectern, he spoke of his past experiences as a student councillor.
“There will be many frustrations,” he warned. But in the end, he promised, greater rewards would follow. He issued the 38th students’ council a challenge – to make this temporary school experience a permanent one, one which will live on in the heart of every Rafflesian. To serve in the council, to him, is a chance to make a difference
President of the 37th Students’ Council Beverly Fu (18S03Q) was the next to take the podium. Delivering her speech with poise, Beverly recounted how she was asked many questions over the course of her last few days as Council President. As a leader, she learnt the importance of getting comfortable with questions that have no clear answers. Calling it a humbling experience, she thanked the batch for their work and emphasised how lucky she was to work with and walk this leadership journey together with them. To serve in the council, to her, is also to learn.
Following the speech, the certificate ceremony commenced. Each member of the outgoing student council was presented with a certificate acknowledging them for their service.
The lights dimmed as a heartfelt video dedicated to the 37th student’s council, produced and edited by members of the 38th students’ council, was then played. In it, members reminisced and thanked their predecessors for their service and counsel – a tribute to their influence, impact and guidance.
Next came the traditional Blazer ceremony. Standing in a row, members of the 37th Students’ council draped their juniors’ blazers over their shoulders to thunderous applause. “I had lots of trouble with the buttons, and was still trying to button my blazer when everyone [else] was already done,” recalled CCAD Head Chloe Teo (19S03A), “it’s cool that we’re donning our blazers for the first time together as a batch … it was symbolic of the beginning of handover.
The incoming councillors were then presented with their badges. Now donning their blazers and bearing their badges – symbols of their leadership – the transition of responsibility from the previous council to the next was cemented.
38th Students’ Council President Chew Jay Hong (19A13A) then took the podium to deliver his first address as Council President. In his emphatic speech, Jay Hong outlined his vision for the school, encapsulated in the three ‘C’s: Communication, Consolidation and Culture, pledging to increase the frequency of town hall meetings and feedback drives, to build upon the legacy of previous batches, and to foster a greater sense of community and school spirit.
In addition, Jay Hong emphasised the importance of collaboration within the student council itself. “For the 60 of us here on stage,” he said, “each and every one of us play a key role in keeping the cogs of the council moving, just like clockwork, and that as one council, we will support one another through the challenges that will come our way.”
“I’m proud to be part of this team, and let’s make this year one to remember, in the hope of a better age.”
Once Jay Hong had completed his speech, the councillors took their positions for the Council Oath. Led by Vice Presidents Jin Xuan (19A01B) and Hui Ying (19S06O), the council delivered the oath with great gusto. And indeed it made, as Hui Ying put it, “the responsibilities [of the council] seem more final”.
Now, the ceremony ends, as always, with the Institution Anthem and the Unite cheer. As the students are dismissed and begin to make their journey home – an entirely different journey is just beginning for the 38th student council. A journey much longer, much harder and, perhaps, a little more abstract. One of leadership and service, of late nights and long hours, of struggle – but also of reward. It’s a long road ahead. It is a road that will undoubtedly be fraught with difficulty and uncertainty. Two months into their term, it is apparent the newly elected student council is steady in their zeal and determination to do good for the school.