By Kelly Leong (20S07C) and Valerie Tan (20A01E)
Photos courtesy of Joel Leong (20S03O) and Andrew Yu (20S07C) from Raffles Photographic Society
The members of the incumbent 38th Students’ Council sat as a sea of black on stage, donning their formal uniform for what would probably be the last time. Just below them, their successors sat with their blazers folded neatly in their arms, awaiting the investiture that would confer onto each of them the status of a full-fledged councillor. Amidst the hushed conversations that peppered the tense atmosphere, several enthusiastic friends did not hesitate to whip out their phones and photograph their peers in the incoming Council, while providing words of encouragement to calm their surely-pulsing hearts.
The theme of the investiture this year was L39O, or LEGO, that familiar brand of plastic bricks many have heard of. The tagline “Greater than the Sum of our Parts” accompanied it, highlighting the 39ths’ hope to work together to produce something greater than any of them could individually. Just like Lego bricks, though each councillor was colourful and special on their own, they could only make better contributions to the school by working with one another.
When everybody had settled down in their seats, the Guest of Honour—Mr Aaron Goh, President of the 29th Students’ Council—was introduced. Delivering a speech equal parts humorous and inspiring, he reminded the incoming 39ths to stay humble and “make the most of this opportunity to fail productively”. Similarly, the subsequent speech by Chew Jay Hong (19A13A), President of the 38th Students’ Council, echoed these sentiments. The journey in Council “would not be easy”, he warned, and the idea “would grow less and less romantic as the days wore by”; however, he assured the 39ths that all of this would add up to something fruitful at the end.
Following this, the members of the outgoing batch of councillors were awarded their certificates of appreciation. Department by department, every member of the 38th Students’ Council was recognised for their contribution to the school. In stunning synchronisation (undoubtedly the result of tireless rehearsals), they stood onstage before the school, took a dignified bow and proceeded to line the aisles, supported by thunderous applause from their schoolmates. Outgoing BB House Captain Amy Lin (19A01B) later commented that being a councillor had been very fulfilling and fun, despite the many ups and downs. She felt very humbled to have been giving the opportunity to serve—“hopefully we’ve made some sort of difference!”
An appreciation video created by members of the 39th Students’ Council was then screened to acknowledge and thank the outgoing batch of councillors. Accompanied by the orientation song for Batch 2019, the videos highlighted many of the important events that had been planned by the 38ths, with pictures that elicited a sense of warmth and nostalgia. Councillors standing along the aisle were enraptured by the images on-screen, even as the video transitioned to an introduction of the new batch of councillors.
As the music of the video faded away, the long-anticipated blazer ceremony began. The incoming batch of councillors filed into the hall and members of the 38th Students’ Council helped them put on their blazers as a symbol of the handover, passing the baton on to their successors. It was a moment to be remembered as the new councillors beamed with pride, finally donning the full formal uniform. “I felt really proud and thankful donning the blazer officially,” Fong Junyi (20S06A) affirmed, “because that moment was the culmination of plenty of effort from plenty of people.”
Now came the badge presentation, where each department of the 39th Students’ Council came to the front of the stage to receive their councillor’s badges to rapturous applause from their corresponding outgoing seniors. Loud cheers were also heard from the audience in fervent support of their friends, while a series of shutter clicks was heard as parents took photos to commemorate their child’s investiture. More than a symbol of prestige, the badge also served as a symbol of the new responsibilities that were bestowed upon every councillor. No doubt this would cause some measure of nervousness in the 39ths, but it seemed that all of them were prepared to take on this role.
Ma Fanghe (20S06L) then stepped up to give his first address to the school as President of the 39th Students’ Council: he thanked everybody for their support thus far, and promised that every member of the incoming batch would give their best in service to the school. This was inevitably a nerve-wracking experience for him, being his first speech on such a large scale and in such an esteemed role—he admitted afterwards that “[he] wanted to make sure that what [he] said represented not just [himself]”; he also had many inputs from his department, seniors and teachers in trying to put the speech together. Nevertheless, he pulled it off gracefully, boding well for the year to come.
To solidify their commitment to Council, the 63 newly-minted councillors recited the council oath on stage, led by Vice-Presidents Jesper Loo (20S03N) and Lai Kye Sheen (20S03L). Hands raised high in the air with solemn expressions on their faces, it was clear that they understood the seriousness of their duties; their voices rang out loud and clear through the hall in unison, affirming their dedication to the school.
Following a rousing chorus of the Institution Anthem, the 39ths swiftly stepped forward and transitioned to leading the school cheers. Spirit and Unite came and went quickly, with hardly any time to catch one’s breath between the two cheers, but the atmosphere remained bright nonetheless; everyone cheered their heart out in thunderous voices that echoed through the hall. For Junyi, this was a great moment of pride—the energy from the councillors around him was infectious, making the cheer even more impressive than it had ever been. “Probably the third best Unite I’ve heard,” he quipped.
Of course, an investiture only marks the beginning of the 39ths’ road to achieving their shared aspirations. What would the 39ths like to accomplish in their term?
“I hope our batch is able to make school a safe place for expression, as well as make MRians more excited and enthusiastic about House”, remarked Kelsy Koh (20A01C), basking in the afterglow of her successful investiture. Fanghe expressed his hopes to continue the work of his seniors, and that every minute spent doing so could translate to students feeling a bit happier, even through the small and subtle things. “One of my seniors who came back said that the stickers and Star Wars memes put up by the 38ths made the school feel more fun and welcoming,” he said. “Making a difference through the little things is definitely something that we hope to continue and learn from our seniors.”
Just like Lego bricks, the 39th Students’ Council will take over and build on the foundation that their predecessors had laid down, continuing the legacy of leadership and service of the councillors that had come before them. Perhaps the journey would be fraught with obstacles and difficulties, but at the end of the day, it would all be worth it. Raffles Press wishes the 39th Students’ Council a fruitful journey ahead, and looks forward to seeing their achievements in their term.