Meridian Junior College (MJC) was established in 2003 after DPM Teo Chee Hean, the then-Education Minister, mooted the idea of building a new junior college in Pasir Ris. “Meridian” refers to a line in astronomy which measures the highest point a star reaches as it journeys across the night sky. It also refers to the point of highest achievement and greatest splendour. Thus, the word “Meridian” aptly paints the image of this new college’s vision for itself. On 25th February 2005, the College hosted its official opening ceremony and the inaugural College Day was held on 23rd July that same year.
On 25th February 2005, the College hosted its official opening ceremony and the inaugural College Day was held on 23rd July that same year. Anchored by the values of Courage, Purpose and Character, MJC had lived true to its name and mission of cultivating learned men and women of calibre with the heart and will to lead and serve in a challenging world.
Ms Esther Lai was the first principal of Meridian Junior College. Under her leadership, the College focussed on realising its vision – to be a leading institution that gave the best educational experience for its students. The College quickly grew by leaps and bounds. From “the college in Pasir Ris”, it became one of the most popular JCs in the east. This clarity of purpose spurred MJC to grow quickly to became a college of choice, defined by its values Courage, Purpose, Character, and shaped by its core approach to holistic student development Construct, Connect, Cultivate.
Mr Lim Yan Hock (2015-2018) continue to build upon the strong foundations of the College by focusing on the holistic development of students as well as staff. New infrastructural innovations such as the Lecture Recording System helped students better manage self-directed learning, while new awards such as the Meridian Staff Service Award deepened staff’s sense of purpose and belonging to the College. Mr Lim also oversaw the smooth merger process with Tampines JC.
Meridian Junior College is greatly indebted to Professor Tan Teck Meng for the invaluable advice and ideas that he provided to help the school, and his deep generosity in supporting the students and staff in so many ways. A case in point would be how he helped needy students tide through financial difficulties by personally donating $10,000 to seed a bursary fund. To encourage MJC’s top students to aspire to greater heights, he came up with the idea to turn his own 60th birthday celebration into a fund-raising event, donating all monetary gifts amounting to $72,000 to start MJC’s own scholarship fund. In honour of his commitment to the development of Meridian students, the scholarship was named The Professor Tan Teck Meng Scholarship. In its fledgling years, MJC owed much of its steady growth to Prof Tan, and his legacy lives on in the scores of students he has helped.
Dr Jeremy Lim was the College’s second and longest-serving SAC Chairman. A medical doctor by training, he has now ventured into consulting and advising multi-national clients in the healthcare sector and volunteering with various NGOs. At heart, he is an educator: besides holding appointments in a number of universities, he also conducts courses for university students and writes regularly for both the scientific and popular media. MJC had the good fortune to be touched by his big-hearted gestures of appreciating the hard work of teachers, through sumptuous feasts and generous support. In recognition of his outstanding contributions to the College, Dr Lim was presented with the MOE Service to Education Award in 2015.
MJC’s Sports Co-Curricular Activities (CCAs) always had a firm place in the hearts of Meridians. There were many memorable moments. The Wushu, Taekwondo, Floorball and Football teams all performed consistently well in the annual National Inter-school games. Most notably, since 2004, the Football Boys team had dominated the A Division scene with 13 finals and 9 Championship titles.
Apart from the Sports CCAs, the Performing Arts groups also undertook many hours of practice to fine-tune their craft. Their awe-inspiring performances on stage bore testament to their hard work and talent. A case in point would be how the College’s Choir, Guitar Ensemble, Symphonic Band, Dance Society, English Drama Club and Chinese Orchestra always did the College proud at public performances and at the Singapore Youth Festival.
Relate & Enrich with Affection, Compassion and Hope (REACH) Projects
What also made MJC special was the active role that every student played in giving back to the community. This was accomplished through REACH, a bottom-up, student-led, service-learning programme that focussed on developing long-term partnerships with charitable organisations, both locally and overseas. Through various platforms like Youth Connect!, blood donation drives and fund-raising events, students learnt about social issues and became advocates for the less privileged in the community.
Nothing makes for good stories as when old friends meet. In March 2017, scores of Meridians gathered as part of the Homecoming 15th Anniversary celebrations. It was a special moment as the Meridian family reminisced about the story of MJC, and how it began with an empty plot of land in Pasir Ris. Teachers, too, shared that they were specially selected to be part of the dynamic team that would help launch the College. A sense of pride and accomplishment filled the air during the celebrations. Meridians felt that they had indeed done their best to grow the College into a leading institution acclaimed for its pursuit of excellence and richness of learning experiences.
Construct-Connect-Cultivate was MJC’s holistic curriculum framework that aimed to prepare students for the 21st Century to embody the traits of engaged Global Citizens, Critical Thinkers, Self-Directed Learners, Confident Communicators and Collaborators, and Strength of Character.
In 2005, when the first set of results were released, the pioneer batch of students proved sceptics wrong with an excellent performance at the GCE A-Level Examinations. True to form, in subsequent years, MJC performed well at the national examinations. This was largely due to the student-centred pedagogical pursuits and approaches that the college had adopted for all subjects since its inception.
The college’s effort to shape students into globally-connected, yet locally-rooted citizens grew out of the realisation that students needed to acquire 21st Century Competencies such as global awareness to thrive in today’s globally-connected environment. This was achieved through platforms such as Global Lite Bites, a weekly current affairs sharing session, and GoGlobal, the college’s internationalisation programme.
The college values of Courage, Purpose and Character underpin all of the college’s student development and CCA programmes. The core programme was anchored by Chrystal, the college’s signature character development programme, which was based on the four core principles of Resilience, Integrity, Respect and Civic-Mindedness.
No student development programme is complete without student leaders at the helm. The LEAD programme, with its focus on grooming student leaders into “people influencers” with a strong moral compass, had been pivotal in this regard.
Upon graduating from MJC, Rachel set her sights on becoming a successful entrepreneur. From selling pre-loved dresses on a blogshop, she became a co-founder of the local fashion label Love, Bonito. With little technical know-how but lots of guts and grit, she transformed Love, Bonito into a multi-million dollar fashion retailer. She was recognised for her contributions to society and for empowering females when MediaCorp presented her with the Women Entrepreneur Award (Pulsar) in 2017. In 2018, she secured a US$13 million funding for her business. Rachel is a proud Meridian who embodies the spirit of “entrepreneurial dare”.
Ross Lam was the college’s 2014 Outstanding Student Volunteer of the Year. He was an active volunteer at the Animal Concerns Research & Education Society and worked at raising awareness for animal welfare through regular sharing sessions with others. For instance, he came back to college during Youth Connect! 2017 to share with the JC1s about his journey in service-learning. Together with his friends from Tampines JC, Ross also organised the Singapore University of Technology & Design awareness programme on environmental conservation. Finally, he volunteered for the Council for Third Age and worked with the Tampines North Community Centre on various community projects.
Displaced by the Vietnam War, Sanva, a Laotian, was born in a refugee camp in Thailand. When he came to Singapore on an ASEAN scholarship, he knew what his purpose was: to help develop his country, Laos and give back to the larger society. Accordingly, Sanvar set up the Yaonnoy Centre in Vientiane, a social enterprise to provide English and Chinese enrichment courses. He also wrote two books, with proceeds going towards building a primary school in Laos. In 2017, Sanva received the ASEAN Corporate Social Responsibility Fellowship and he also presented at TEDx on his philosophy of gratitude and giving.
Lavanya displayed tremendous courage when faced with the challenge of having to repeat her JC1 year. Not only did she approach it with a positive attitude, she also readily shared her personal story with her juniors so that they could learn from it. Guided by her favourite mantra “I aspire to inspire before I expire”, her leadership potential shone through very quickly and strongly. The college nominated her for the 2016 National Young Leader Award and she was shortlisted as a Top 5 finalist, eventually winning the accolade Peoples’ Choice. Fluent in Mandarin, she is currently pursuing medicine in Jinzhou Medical University, China.
Fazall is a dreamer - and a doer. He was part of the team that saw MJC’s English Drama Club win its first ever Singapore Youth Festival (Gold) Award. As a councillor, Fazall and his team convinced the school administration to hold the JC1 Year End Bash at an external venue for the very first time. Upon graduation, Fazall went on to complete his business degree in Malaysia, picked up Turkish during a year abroad in Istanbul and also became a competitive cheerleader. He credits the courage that he now possesses to his experience as a Meridian Councillor.
Arravind was the first president of The Meridian Council (TMC) when it was formed in 2012 by combining the Students’ Council with the House Committees. It was a role that he readily embraced as he led with great conviction and exemplary leadership. While studying at the Singapore Management University, he was a teaching assistant for the university’s Management Communication 101 course and a student consultant for UOB-SMU Enterprise, providing different levels of advice to a start-up company. Arravind was also the organiser of the ActiveSG Kabaddi competition in 2017 with the intention of promoting Indian culture through traditional sports. He has given back to both local and overseas communities through projects such as the “$5 A Day Challenge” to raise awareness about world hunger and Project Xingfu to improve the quality of learning for children in China. He will graduate from SMU with a Bachelor of Science (Economics) in 2018.
KidsAccomplish! is a Yale-NUS student initiative that organises non-academic enrichment classes for upper primary school students. This is the brainchild of Saza Faradilla, the college’s 2013 Outstanding Student of the Year. She first conceptualised the programme after volunteering at Tampines Family Service Centre and completing an internship at Halogen Foundation, a youth leadership development organisation. Having received the Global Leader Scholarship Award, she will be working at the Association of Women for Action and Research as a Community Engagement Executive. She hopes to be part of the United Nations and serve the vulnerable in the world.
Chelsea overcame the odds to win the Gold medal in the Women’s Individual Poomsae Finals, Singapore’s first Taekwondo title at the SEA Games since 1995. The then 19-year-old beat off competitors such as the 2014 Poomsae World Champion, to better her Silver medal effort at the 2013 Games. This was indeed a remarkable achievement for Chelsea who balanced her A-Level studies with rigorous Taekwondo practices. Her diligence paid off and she achieved stellar results for both the A-Levels and at the SEA Games. She said during an interview with The Straits Times, “There are sacrifices to be made, but if you have a good sense of discipline and keep focussed on a goal in mind, it’s definitely possible”. Her coach described her as a “chili padi” – small in size but extremely dynamic and explosive in technique. Since 2014, she has won more than 30 medals in various competitions, including two Gold medals in the 2017 Commonwealth Championships and a Bronze in the 2017 29th SEA Games.
updated on 16 January 2019