KUDAT – Witnessed by a 600-crowd, the final block of classrooms (Block D) of SMK St Peter here was officially opened and blessed on 17 Mar 2017, testifying to 25 years of God’s love and faithfulness to a faithful and believing people.
At the same time, the school hall, located between Block B and C and completed in 2013, was also blessed.
The opening was officiated by YB Datuk Teo Chee Kang, Minister with Special Tasks in the Chief Minister’s Department while the rite of blessing was officiated by Archbishop John Wong.
Those present included students, teachers, parents, board members and representatives/heads of government departments, contractors and consultants for the projects.
In her speech, Dr Angeline Cheong, chairperson of the Board of Governors, outlined the 25-year journey undertaken by her board, which tested their perseverance, endurance, and faith in God.
Cheong said the Mill Hill Missionaries set up a primary school in the mid-60s on the grounds of St Peter’s Church, a junior high school (Form 1-3) in 1968.
The students continued their studies elsewhere. Then in 1990, some concerned adults decided to upgrade the school to Form 5 so that the students would be more mature when they leave school.
However, the plan did not materialise as there was neither land nor funds for the project.
Undaunted, Cheong asked for permission from then Bishop John Lee to ask the parishioners to take it upon themselves to oversee the project.
With much prayer and trust in divine providence, and seizing every opportunity, the board saw the Lord sending the right people to help them secure the land title of the adjacent land and to have the soil test, architectural plans, engineering consultation and site supervision for free.
A fundraising dinner raked in more than RM200,000. The first block was completed in March 1997. At its opening, then Chief Minister Datuk Yong Teck Lee presented a state grant of RM500,000. This was sufficient to begin Block B, which was ready for use by 1999.
A third block was needed to accommodate the increasing student population. The board undertook another fundraising dinner, and topped up by individual donor, Block C was completed in 2010.
After the three blocks were completed, the school began to receive some state and federal funds with the help of Datuk Teo Chee Kang (RM100,000) and the Archdiocesan Education Commission, which went into building the final block. With the completion of the final block, SMK St Peter has now become a single-session school.
Cheong concluded her speech thanking all those who have helped in one way or another. She told those present that the board has applied for another five acres of land adjacent to the school land, and asked Teo to help push it through.
In response, Teo pledged to do his best. Speaking personally for himself, he expressed his support for the educators and praised the school for providing such high standard of education in the rural region, in comparison with those in the more advanced districts.
Speaking directly to the students, he urged them on to do three things: study hard, set a high target, and adopt the attitude of “I can achieve,” so as not to disappoint their parents.
Archbishop Wong, in his turn, acknowledged with gratitude that the historical event witnessed by all present was a laudable joint achievement of the BOG, its supporters, and the government, which would benefit not only the present generation but also the next generations to come.
He commended the school for its motto, which reads “To Conquer,” in aptly providing academic excellence to the students in order that they would be suitably equipped to ‘conquer’ come what may in their lives after completing their education. However, he said, “Education is passing on something beyond academics. It is a passing on of the Truth, which leads to freedom, to explore beyond what they have received academically with the help and guidance of God.”