The Catholic High Alumni (CHA) was established to provide a platform for all graduates of Catholic High School to interact through social, cultural, sports, career and academic activities, and to further strengthen our bond with our alma mater and to assist the school wherever necessary.
Although operating without a permanent office in the initial years, the executive committee enthusiastically pressed on, organizing various events, including seminars, cultural shows, walks, benefit performances amongst others. The Alumni has also spared no effort in raising funds for the new school building, further extensions to it, and other school programmes for the alma mater.
Graduates of Catholic High School banded together to form a pro tempore committee to set up the CHA. Their vision was to strengthen the relationship they had formed whilst in school, and to maintain their collective bond to their alma mater.
The registration of CHA was approved in July 1969. Immediately, sub-committees were formed with different focuses, including education, publishing, sports, the Arts, Charity and Recreational aspects.
The inauguration of the first CHA Executive Committee was held on 4 January 1970 at Queen Street. Catholic High School’s first principal, Yao Kok Hwa, and current principal, Bro Joseph, were present to witness this momentous event.
The CHA and the Nanyang Shangbao Union sponsored a concert, “Night of the Stars”, which was held at the National Theatre, to raise funds for our alma mater’s school extension fund and the Disabled Children’s welfare fund.
A regional cast of celebrities from Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia and Singapore helped to raise approximately $50,000 of which, $24,542 went to the school building fund and the remaining $26,177 went towards Disabled Children’s welfare fund.
CHA also established a scholarship fund. Three top students in GCE “O” Level examinations were awarded the scholarship.
CHA organized a concert by the “Taipei Children’s Choir” to raise funds for the CHA. Held at the Singapore Conference Hall over 2 nights in mid-August, the concert raised net proceeds of $16,719.30.
The CHA organised a memorial service on 17 August for Catholic High School’s first Principal, Yao Kok Hwa. The memorial service was attended by a few hundred people. A ‘Yao Kok Hwa Scholarship’ was also established to honour Mr Yao’s contributions to Catholic High School and his contributions to the education system in Singapore.
The Inaugural Bro Subraun Mathematics and Science book prize was awarded.
The Alumni newsletter was revamped and renamed as “RAILS” （双轨）and published in colour, marking a new chapter in our communication medium with alumni members.
A Talk on the ‘Value of a Bilingual Education, from the Catholic High School’s Perspective’ was held at the Plaza Hotel. Prof Ow Chin Hock was the moderator and speakers included late Professor Chao Tze Cheng, Dr Yap Hock Seng, Chua Chin Kiat and Chen Hung.
CHA organised a first ever grand dinner celebrating school and alumni anniversaries. It was held at The Mandarin on 13th October and filled 103 tables. At around 9.30pm, all participants received a copy of Lianhe ZaoBao for the following day with coverage of our annual dinner. This was specially arranged and known as ‘第一次版”.
In conjunction with the annual dinner, the alumni held a joint arts exhibition showing paintings of 2 alumni professional artists, Chua Ek Kay (蔡逸溪) and Ng Yak Whee (黄意会).
CHA organised a Lucky Draw in aid of the Catholic High School Building Fund at the Mandarin Hotel. A book entitled “100 Classical Poems” was published, with the proceeds from the first 3000 copies pledged to the school building fund.
The Alumni celebrated its 25th anniversary with the annual dinner held at the new school compound with 138 tables, a record. Guest of Honour, Deputy Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong unveiled the Alumni new logo designed by old boy Ng Yak Whee.
The Alumni helped in establishing a multi-media archive in school premise on the occasion of official opening. The Archive was named “Galerie Evergreen” (长青馆). It took more than 6 months from conceptualization to fruition, and won praises from the Guest of Honour.
At the annual dinner held at Neptune Theatre Restaurant, the Alumni launched “Bro Joseph Chang Scholarship Fund (张世典教育基金). The response was overwhelming and we collected $350,000. It was a great way for the alumni to show their appreciation to a caring and accomplished educationist.
The Alumni responded to Bro Joseph’s request and started the yearly distribution of moon cakes to retired teachers on the occasion of mid-autumn festival. This is still practised today.
The Alumni launched a “Mentorship Scheme” as a way to contribute towards enhancing the quality of education to existing students. Selected students were paired with old boy volunteers.
The alumni did another fund-raising exercise to increase the coffer in “Bro Joseph Chang Scholarship Fund” at the annual dinner. The amount pledged was $308,000.The Alumni organized the first ever overseas trip for members along the “Silk Route” in China. A chartered bus was specially decorated and named “RAILS #1” (双轨一号) carried the group during the land journey within China.
At the annual dinner held on 13th October, the alumni working and living at Shanghai were hooked up with the main dinner venue at The Mandarin via video conferencing facilities. This was a highlight of the evening and was reported by Lianhe ZaoBao the following day.
The Alumni published a book entitled ‘我们的感情故乡—公教中学的故事’. The 270-page book details 5 decades of events and happenings at our beloved alma mater and was launched at 222 Queen Street. Dr Su Guan Ming graced the occasion as the Guest of honour. Special thanks must be given to old boy Ng Wai Choy, without whose dedication and perseverance, it would not have been printed.The Alumni held jointly with Lianhe ZaoBao for the first time a public forum entitled “The Future and Challenges of Tertiary Education in Singapore”. The speakers at the forum were old boys, Dr Su Guaning, Dr Tan Chin Tiong, Prof Chong Chi Tat, the NTU President, SMU Provost and NUS Deputy President / Provost respectively. The moderator of the forum was old boy Lim Jim Koon, Chief Editor of Lianhe ZaoBao. The forum was attended by 600, a record attendance in alumni history.
The Alumni organized a massive fund-raising exercise at the annual dinner in response to the call from the school for the funding needs of up-grading under “PRIME”. Old boys rose to the occasion with pledges amounting to $750,000 at the dinner. Lianhe ZaoBao gave us extensive coverage the following day. There were additional pledges after the dinner. Total amount donated by old boys substantially exceeded $1 million.
Encouraged by the Alumni and the school, 6 old boys from 1940’s commissioned a half-body bronze statue of late Yao Kok Wah, the first principal of our alma mater in memory of his enormous contributions to the school. This statue is placed at a prominent spot at the school premise.In June, the school agreed to open up facilities every Saturday morning for the old boys for sports and recreational activities. The Alumni would work hand in hand with the school in promoting “Catholic High Recreation Club” among old boys.
CHA launched the CHA Webportal, the first alumni in Singapore to have a portal in which members can contact their schoolmates across different years. This platform also allowed members to submit online payments for CHA activities, allowing members to pay for activities at the comfort of their homes.
Catholic High Alumni managed to secure a home, thanks to our own Alma Matta. We now have a Club House where our activities such as talks, classes and meetings can be held.
We also celebrated our 80th Anniversary Dinner at Fairmont Hotel where we managed to secure a record number of tables. It was so popular that we had to open up another ballroom and ‘livestream’ the event to the other ball. Together with Guest of Honour, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, the event raised the profile of our school and alumni as it was reported in all the mainstream media in Singapore.
Catholic High old boys came ‘home’ as we held our first Anniversary Dinner in the Bishan campus. Many old boys did not have a chance to visit the Bishan campus ever since we moved from Queen Street. Current Catholic High students acted as guides to bring their seniors to visit 公教八景, featuring the most picturesque and important locations in the current school building.
Catholic High Alumni became the first alumni organisation in Singapore to send a Dragon Boat team to the Singapore Dragon Boat Festival. Comprised of old boys, students of Catholic High, as well as dads whose boys are studying here, this event helped to bring all the stakeholders of Catholic High together.
The Catholic High Alumni celebrated our 50th Anniversary. To remember the occasion, the alumni commissioned a video that featured PM Lee Hsien Loong singing the school song. The video, directed by our own old boy, Chai Yee Wei, garnered a lot of views and media attention.