10th Anniversary Celebrations at Glad Tidings International School, Cambodia
What a glorious day it was as we alighted from the coach that brought us from the capital Phnom Penh to the school in Kampong Speu Province. Sitting on a 1.7 hectares of land is a magnificent four-storey building and tower that houses 16 classrooms, a large football field and a two-storey auditorium with a canteen downstairs. The neighbouring adjacent land houses three blocks of two-storey dormitories for the school staff.
We were greeted by singing and cheers as we entered the WTJ Auditorium that easily seats 600 people. Named after our benefactor, Mr Wong Toon Jin who has since left for his heavenly mansion, WTJ also aptly stands for “Way to Jesus”. And it is upon the Rock, the Lord Jesus Christ, that the school was built.
The students performed skits and dances much to the pride of their parents who were part of the guests. Besides the provincial dignitaries, our invited guests include past principals and trainers from Australia, Malaysia and Singapore. We are grateful for their support, especially the trainers who come every year to upgrade the skills of our local teaching staff.
I was greatly moved to tears when our students led in the worship. I couldn’t imagine that years ago, we could hardly hear them speak let alone sing in English. This day, as we stood in the auditorium, two of them were on stage leading in the worship, and down below the stage were three students playing the guitars and drums. The auditorium was filled with echoes of “How Great is Our God” and “Great is Thy Faithfulness”. God must be well-pleased!
We have indeed come a long way even though ten years might seem a short time to some. GTIS, as the school is fondly called, is a project God laid upon our hearts to build. With no experience nor resources, God amazingly chose us to start a school in a sprawling village ten years ago. Our only resource is the Lord and the willingness to obey inspite of the odds. To say it’s a miracle is short of what God has done.
From 3 students when we opened our doors in 2007, the student population grew to 350. The two-storey building then was bursting at its seams, and the Lord again inspired us to build what we see today. Along the way, Ps Wendy Ng laid down her life just when the new building was completed in 2013. Painful though it was, we know her blood spilled on the grounds of the school is crying out for the salvation of the people of Cambodia.
The Deputy Governor of Kg Speu Province, in his speech at the celebration, remarked that over the last 10 years, Kg Speu has progressed tremendously. Used to be a butt of jokes on how backward it was, he said that the Province is now the talk of the town for its transformation. It's infrastructure and economy has improved tremendously - thanks to education! He thanked us for making an impact in the community, and during my interaction with him over the lunch table, he was very pleased with GTIS. He noted that the school has produced good students, some of whom are among the top in the national exams!
It is upon this vision that the school was built – transforming a nation through education. “A country cannot develop when its people are uneducated. Education is the most powerful weapon to change a nation” – Nelson Mandela.
The school continues to produce good results in the G9 national exams. All our 23 students who took the recent 2017 G9 national exams passed with 1 ‘Good’, 15 ‘Above Average’ and 7 ‘Average’ grade. All glory to the Lord! We believe that one day, the office of the Prime Minister of Cambodia would be filled by one of our students!
The next ten years will pose different challenges. Due to rising affluence, the wages and maintenance costs would rise. We are facing a shortage of qualified teachers, and as a result, very sadly and reluctantly, we had to cease offering G10 to 12 classes effective next semester.
We are currently short of classrooms, and we need a computer lab, a proper library and a science lab to ‘complete’ the school. Plans for a new adjoining building have been drawn up, and the total cost of construction and facilities is estimated at S$500,000.
The school offers full & partial subsidy to orphans and poor kids from the community. If you are led to give, please write cheque to :
2 Kallang Avenue,
#04-13 CT Hub I
We give thanks to our Mission Partners, Glad Tidings Church, for providing the resources to run the school, and Sembawang Presbyterian Church for operating the Edelweiss Kindergarten.
The Journey of GTIS at a glance :
purchase of land for Hope International Primary School (HIPS)
construction of HIPS began
Hope International Primary School (HIPS) opens its door.
Day 1 saw 3 pupils and 4 teachers starting off the new school year. It grew to about 30 pupils by month end. By 2011, it was bursting at its seams with 350 students!
purchase of 1.7 hectares of land
ground breaking of new building.
HIPS was renamed Glad Tidings International School (GTIS).
The teachers' and expatriate dormitories were also completed.
We moved into the new 4-storey school building with 16 classrooms. We also started our high school classes. We remember and honour Pastor Wendy Ng who dedicated her life to the school.
School auditorium is completed
1st batch of Grade 12 graduands
GTIS 10th anniversary
The school operates from Grades 1 to 12 and has 498 pupils, 25 full time teachers & 5 support staff. G10 – 12 classes cease temporarily due to shortage of qualified teachers.