HISTORY OF ST MICHAEL'S SCHOOL
1950-1953: The Conceptualisation of St. Michael’s School
At the CBOBA Annual Dinner held in the Robinson Dining Hall, the Old Boys announced their decision to assist in building a new Primary School in commemoration of the Centenary of St Joseph's Institution and as a token of gratitude and appreciation to the Christian Brothers.
So in 1952 when the celebrations took place, the plan to build a new Primary School went ahead. It was to be called St Michael's School as a reminder of the well-known Director of SJI, Brother Ascisclus Michael (1900-1914) as well as the Saint who is always portrayed as the Angel slaying the serpent of evil.
After the World War II, the funds raised by the CBOBA enabled the Brothers to build St Michael's on a piece of land purchased from the Singapore Improvement Trust. Mr CC Tan, the then President of the CBOBA, headed the team of Old Boys on this fund-raising project.
1954: The Opening of St. Michael’s School
The school opened its doors on 11 January 1954 with 590 pupils. Reverend Brother Thomas Dunn came from De La Salle School to head the new School The school was officially declared open by Mrs CC Tan, wife of the Chairman of the Christian Brothers Association, on 11 September 1954 and was blessed by the Vicar-General Msgr Michael Bonamy on 10 November 1954.
The original St Michael's School was a three-storey building consisting of 17 classrooms, an office area, a staff room, a spacious hall and three very sizeable fields. The statue of St Michael, the school's patron saint, used to adorn the Church of Sts Peter and Paul in Queen's Street. In 1969, its parish priest, Father Mathias Tung, gave it to St Michael's School. Ever since then, it has remained with St Michael's School.
The statue with archangel St Michael, poised to crush Satan, symbolises the triumph of good over evil. The original school badge depicted the same St Michael, with the Latin inscription, Sicut Michel Semper. The statue still stands watch over our staff and students like a big brother at the front of the school building, and is there to greet every visitor.
1960s: The Link to St. Joseph’s
For the first few years, St Joseph's Afternoon School for secondary students shared the same premises with St Michael's School but functioned as an afternoon session, owing to the lack of space in St Joseph's Institution in Bras Basah Road. Then in 1961, St Joseph's Afternoon School moved back to Bras Basah Road, while St Joseph’s Junior School, under the Principalship of Mr Lim Choo Sye, moved in. St Joseph's Junior School merged with St Michael's to form SMS (I) and SMS (2) in 1965.
Steeped in Spirituality and Sports
Under the helm of Brother Basil, the school's achievements soared to a dizzying height in sports and academic performance. St Michael's supremacy in soccer was well known and feared by all participating primary schools in those years. St Michael's was District and National Champions for soccer for many years. This led it to be dubbed as the "The Soccer School".
When Rev Brother Basil retired in 1966, Mr Ho Fook Seng, then a teacher from St Joseph's Institution succeeded him in January 1967. The new administration guided the Michaelians to even greater heights of achievements in sports and academic performance and other extra-curricular activities.
With all these achievements, the school never lost sight of the spiritual character of a Christian Brothers' School, that of living out the Gospel so that each child can gradually become the person God wants him to be.
1969: The Birth of the SMSPTA
Its new Principal, Mr Ho Fook Seng, a man of vision and quiet dynamism, saw the need for forging a closer relationship between the parents and teachers to ensure support and co-operation from the home. Hence, in September 1969, the St Michael's School Parent-Teacher Association (SMSPTA) was conceived.
After a stretch of 13 fruitful years, Mr Ho Fook Seng retired at the end of 1979. He would be proud to know that today, his brainchild, "The SMS PTA" has grown like the proverbial mustard seed.
1980s: Expansion of St. Michael’s School
Mr Lim Buck Thow, St Michael's fifth Principal in late 1982, saw the expansion and renovation of the school building and facilities. That started the great 'exodus' for half of the school to Gentle Road in January 1987 and remained there till 1988. Then, the whole school moved to the vacant Rangoon Road School in 1988 and stayed there for two years to make way for the building of a new school at Essex Road.
Mr Dominic Yip who took office in May 1988 undertook the uphill task of seeing to the rebuilding of the new school, from its planning to its completion in December 1989. He envisaged the difficult task of raising funds to rebuild the school. October 1988 witnessed the formation of St Michael's School Management Committee to foster a close relationship between parents and past pupils to cultivate loyalty and to maintain the spirit and tradition of the Christian Brothers' School and to assist in improving the facilities and resources of the school. One of its main tasks was to raise $1.3 million to match the total grant of $5.3 million from the Ministry of Education.
On 2 January 1990, Michaelians stepped proudly into a $6.3 million school to begin lessons, quite unaware of the toil, sweat and tears that had gone into realising a dream.
On 28 May 1992 the new school was blessed by Archbishop Gregory Yong in a simple but moving ceremony concelebrated by past pupils who have become priests, parents, Christian Brothers and Principals of Christian Brothers' Schools. The Principal, Mr Dominic Yip and the teachers pledged their steadfast loyalty to the school and set their hearts to realise the lofty ideals of StJohn Baptist De La Salle.
In an equally moving ceremony, St Michael's School was officially declared open by BG (Res) George Yeo, Minister for information and the Arts and, Second Minister for Foreign Affairs on 18 July 1992. Principals, officials from the Ministry of Education, old boys and parents, formed the distinguished assembly that attended the ceremony.
1999 to 2004: St Michael’s School v2.0
On 26 November 1999, St Michael's School moved over to a holding school at 10 Winstedt Road to make way for the campus at Essex Road to be upgraded. St Michael's School was selected by the Ministry of Education for Phase 1 of PRIME - Programme for Rebuilding and Improving Existing Schools. The objective was to equip the school with up-to-date physical infrastructures and facilities to enhance the learning environment for the students and to improve the teaching and learning programme on Information Technology.
Older pupils from Primary 3 to 6 took part in the symbolic walk home on the 16 November 2001 from the holding school at Winstedt Road and saw for themselves the newly-upgraded campus at Essex Road. The Guest-of-Honour was Mr Goh Sin Tub, Chairman of our Fund Raising Committee, and many Old Boys and parents joined in.
On 5 September 2003, the upgraded buildings of the school and the newly-built Pastoral Care Centre were blessed by the Archbishop Nicholas Chia, Monsignor Eugene Vaz and six other priests: Fathers Terence Pereira, William Heng, David Theseira, Michael D'Cruz, Gerard Victor and Paul Lim. About 500 boys, parents and guests took part in the celebration. The Patron of St Michael's School Fund Raising Committee, Mr Goh Sin Tub, was presented with a token for his tireless efforts in helping St Michael's to improve its facilities.
The official opening of the upgraded buildings of St Michael's School under PRIME was held on 28 May 2004 and the Guest-of-Honour was the Minister of Defence, RADM Teo Chee Hean, an old boy of the school. Some 800 guests who included Officials of the Ministry of Education, Principals of schools, Education officers from the cluster, parents and well-wishers attended the function. A musical performance put up by some 40 students of the school was held after the formal declaration of the Official Opening by the Guest-of-Honour. The musical highlighted the life of St John Baptist de La Salle, the founder of the Christian Brothers Schools. It was splendid performance.
2006-2014: From St Michael’s School to St. Joseph’s Institution Junior
In 2006, St. Michael’s School was renamed St. Joseph’s Institution Junior to reflect its shared identity with its Brother school, St. Joseph’s Institution Independent. To retain its St. Michael’s heritage, the words “St. Michael’s Campus” are emblazoned proudly beneath the school’s name in parenthesis outside the main gate. More than just a name change, the impetus for the rebranding of the school was borne out of the need to provide continuity for the boys of both school vis-à-vis a programme that is enriched with critical thinking and communicative skills to nurture each individual’s interests and talents in one or more specific areas. From 2007, students from SJI in the Josephian Programme and those from SJI Junior in the Josephian Talent Programme (JTP), embarked on tie-ups in the form of trails facilitated by the Senior Josephians and extension of learning in the various subject-specific areas through hands-on activities and literature appreciation programmes.
This programme garnered much interest from the teaching fraternity and members of the public when the JTP boys presented at the 2008 MOE ExCEL Fest.
2012-2014: Redevelopment of SJI Junior
2012 saw the school relocating to 3 Geylang Bahru Lane for the next one and a half years, while redevelopment works took place in the Essex Road campus. For the first time since 1991 when the school functioned as a full-session school for a year, SJI Junior operated once again as a single-session school.
The school had to organise fund raisers in aid of the school redevelopment. This it did through a Golf Tournament and Dinner with former alumni, Mr Mah Bow Tan and DPM Teo Chee Hean, as Guests of Honour respectively. A Car Rally, co-organised by the PTA, was also organised. As a result, over $150 000 was raised. Stained glass panels which told the story of the Lasallian founder, St. John Baptist De La Salle, the saints which the classes are christened after, and the various badges of the school crest were also sold to raise funds. These stained glass panels are now found around the school hall.
The school’s redevelopment project was completed in mid-2013. Apart from new facilities such as a bigger school library and an eye-catching eco-garden complete with fishes and other pond organisms, one of the more significant addition to the façade of the school was a three-storey indoor sports hall. It was officially opened by DPM Teo Chee Hean on 25 January 2014 and was christened the St. Michael’s Sports Hall, in honour of the school’s history as St. Michael’s School. The official opening was witnessed by alumni members and all who were involved in the school and the development of the indoor sports hall.
We thank God and humbly ask Him for His continued blessings on St. Joseph’s Institution Junior, a Heritage of St Michael's School, for the long, long road ahead.