Christian Alliance P.C. Lau Memorial International School celebrated its 25th anniversary on Friday June 9, 2017. I was so glad to share my journey thus far at CAIS at the banquet.
A little bit over 20 years ago, I sent in my teacher application form to CAIS. At the end of my interview, Mr. Sander, the school principal, took me around the school for a tour. We ran into a sixth grade teacher, Mrs. Cora Ha, who was one of the most cheerful and humorous teacher I have ever met. Mr. Sander told me that my application caught his attention as he thought that Cora Ha (whose maiden name was Cora Chan) set up a prank and re-sent her application to the school. I thank God for Mr. Sander’s sense of humor and God’s providence for me to be a part of CAIS.
The school population was smaller. We had about 20 teachers. We could sit around two long rectangular tables during morning devotional meetings. Yes, many things have changed over the past years. Yet, morning devotions at 7:40 have always been special to me. The Bible tells us that “for where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them” (Matthew 18:20). We begin each day by acknowledging God’s goodness, His provision, His promises, and His blessings. We praise and worship Him. We pray for the school and one another.
In the first year of my teaching at CAIS, I had ten different subjects to handle from Science 7,8 9, 10 to Biology 11 and 12, Chemistry 11 and 12, Math 8 and Bible 9. Curriculum mapping and scope and sequence were easier back then as I taught all across the entire program of studies. There was one class per grade and everyone knew one another in the entire school. While everyone talked about the millennium in the year 2000 (Y2K), CAIS had a graduating class of two students. The graduation speech was titled You Two Kids (Y2K). It was indeed a small beginning.
Primary students have always been amazed when I told them that I was born from a different century. They wonder how I preserve my look. Once I told a student that I did not grow up with technology. She immediately asked her teacher if Mrs. Hui lived in a cave.
It is so true that being around kids is my and many others’ secret of staying young (in heart). Witnessing their energy, growth, and maturation is a blessing for all educators. I have often been moved to tears whenever I attend the grade 12 graduation ceremony. Memories of these young men and ladies replay in my mind. Some of them came to the office in the morning. They read the morning devotional through the PA. Some of them argued among themselves. They were sent to the office by their teachers and needed some guidance. Some of them struggled with family situations and came for talks. I could not solve all their problems but I have always had a box of tissues for them. Some of them filled out their blue slips and we met to discuss consequence. Some of them got on the nerves of one another when they were in grade 7 or 8, but became good buddies through these fights, arguments, group projects and school camps. They face challenges through their school years, but these experiences shape their character and build their friendship. I am so proud of CAIS students.
It has been my honour to witness the growth of CAIS in the past twenty years. It is understandable that people find comfort in predictable events. Yet, change is a sign of dynamic living. Learning, growth, and improvement in many aspects can be messy. As a mother with a new babe, changing diapers and washing loads of laundry isn’t fun at all. Some days, a mother may get so bulked down by these chores and get discouraged. However, the smile of her little prince/princess brings back the focus to the beauty, energy, and joy of life. This is a good analogy of my, many colleagues, and board members’ stories at CAIS. Work can be hectic at times but our work is worship as we serve the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
From the past 25 years to the next 25 years, what are we be sure of in the midst of changes? Ephesians 3:20 tells us that we are sure of “him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.” Why can we be sure of this? “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10). My reflection is summed as this: we grow in God’s grace and we respond to His faithfulness with our gratitude.