Yong (seated third left) with office bearers, looking forward to former students responding to the school’s call for help.

SIBU: Sacred Heart Old Students Association (Shosa)—one of the country’s most active school alumni—is seeking RM200,000 to repair and maintain various facilities in the school.

Shosa president Yong King Sung said the main focus would be the repair and replacement of a 17-year-old sound and lighting system at the school hall, which was completed in 2003.

“Apart from some very basic maintenance, the school doesn’t have the funds to repair, let alone replace the system. And at several major functions, the system failed,” he lamented during a Shosa meeting here, yesterday.

It is now up to the alumni to come to the school’s rescue again, just like what it did five years ago when they rallied former students to erase the school’s long-standing redevelopment debt.

Apart from the sound system, there was also the matter of periodical maintenance and leaking roofs or broken furniture that needed replacement, he added.

Yong (seated third left) with office bearers, looking forward to former students responding to the school’s call for help.

In explaining why the school had to rely on former students, the board of management and the public to fund its development and maintenance, a retired principal of the school explained at the meeting that Sacred Heart was not a government school and hence it could not expect the government to provide funding. 

Sacred Heart, being a mission school, is a national-type school, with the “K” in its prefix “SMK” meaning “Kebangsaan” (national). Government schools also carry the prefix “SMK”, but the “K” means “Kerajaan” (government).

However, this did not mean that the government did not help. In fact, the government pays and provides for the teachers and staff, and also helps the school through other ways and means on an ad-hoc basis.

The main task of redeveloping the school or coming up with new blocks or maintenance falls largely on the school’s board of management, and this can be seen by the efforts of the late Datuk Robert Lau Hoi Chew in reshaping Sacred Heart into what it is today.

The school’s 100th anniversary celebration, spearheaded by Lau with support from corporate leaders and individuals, transformed Sacred Heart and a lot of other mission-linked schools.

Yong hoped that with the explanation from the retired principal, former students would better understand the challenges faced by the school and that they would be inspired to put in even more effort to lend a hand.

He urged them to show up in full force at the alumni’s 2020 reunion scheduled for March 28.

“As usual, we are co-hosting with our sisters from St Elizabeth Secondary School and we hope former students will again rise to the occasion and raise the much-needed funds for our beloved schools.”

To-date, from Shosa’s side, more than 500 former students have confirmed their attendance and more are expected to sign up in the following weeks.

“This current figure is not inclusive of St Elizabeth’s side and we are sure they’ll be at least another 300 from them,” Yong said.

The joint reunion will be held at Level 6, Kingwood Hotel here, from 6pm onwards.