Back to School – Outram Secondary School Revisit
A bunch of us from the graduating year of ’78 decided to visit the “old’ school when we found out that the school actually conducts tours for ex-students. So on a wet Saturday morning, I found myself with 20 other old gals and guys at the lobby of the school.
For the many of us, it was like time had not changed. Sure we are now much older with greying and thinning hair but other than the appearance, one would be hard press to tell the difference without looking at our physical appearances. The gals were yakking away like they were still in class despite the spirited current Principal, Mr Loh Cheung Ming trying his darnest best to tell us the history and development of the school. Luckily for us, he no longer has any power to discipline us otherwise I am sure he will be screaming at us to shut up!
But the visit was awesome. In one short visit, we found out more about the school history than what we knew in the 4 years that we spent there. But other than the history, what captivated us was the transformation that the school had gone through in the past 30+ years or so since we left.
Back in the classroom, there are now speakers for the teachers, white board in place of the blackboard and if I remember correctly, there is also an overhead projector. And the desks and chairs are much better and I didn’t notice any graffiti!
About the only thing that was left almost untouched is the swimming pool. The swimming pool held many fond memories for us. Despite our batch doing the least to raise money for the pool, we were the first batch to enjoy full use of it and I still remember the time we sneaked off during lessons to go swimming. For some of the others, it was the memories of sneaking in to swim during the night or eating at the little cafeteria at the corner.
AS we understand from the Principal, the swimming pool will be undergoing a major renovation next year, its first since it was build. And we could see why when we were there. There were holes in the roof of the stand, a lot of missing tiles in the pool etc. But that apparently didn’t fail to stop the 2013 boys from winning its first national school B division water polo championship! Well done!
This was the old school. The school was build on top of a small hill and as a result, we had no soccer field and our classrooms were all on different levels as in they were build on different slopes with the multi-purpose hall at the front and then there was a flight of steps to go up to the classrooms block and another flight of staircases to go to the science block.
In the makeover, they have retained this unique feature of the classroom blocks where there is a sort of “basement”.
I can’t confirm correctly but this particular classroom on the lower ground floor appears to be where our secondary 1 class was. Those days, it was the ETV room and we had a television in the class which we could quietly switch on to watch cartoons when there were no teachers. The other thing about that classroom was that the back of the classroom was actually several panels of glass and one of them was broken and replaced with a piece of wood…. which means we could use it to sneak in and out of the class! And the best thing was – behind the classroom was a tiny little empty plot of land and we boys would play volleyball there.
We had no soccer field then but that did not stop us from playing on this place which is now a carpark and a basketball court. Actually it was not an empty field but an air rifle range. On the left of the picture where the fitness stations are, there was a short cut down to Chin Swee Road which I supposed is gone now since today parents will freak out if they see their precious kids scrambling up and down the slopes.
At the end of our visit, all of us were truly amazed at the transformation the school had gone through. What amazes us the most is that despite the small and old size piece of land, the current school had managed to squeeze so much into the limited ground to make up for its lack of a sports field. In addition to the usual classroom block, there is a science lab block (same location as the past), a hall, and another multi-purpose hall! On top of that, there is also a museum and a time capsule. And soon there will be a new indoor sports hall coming up on the site of the basketball court.
The 1 hour visit ended all too soon but the memories of our 4 years together in these premises no matter how much it has changed will always remain. As Mr Loh said at the beginning of his welcome speech, we are not ex-Outramians but rather “old” Outramians, old in age that is but still every part of an Outramian. Labor Omnia Vincit!