English World

Fond farewell puts her on cloud nine

KUALA LUMPUR: Headmistress Chong Ik Poh literally took off upon ending her 35-year teaching career – she left SMK Seksyen 4 Bandar Kinrara on an Airbus helicopter.

After performances by students, lunch and a cake-cutting ceremony, the large crowd saw her off at the school field where the helicopter was waiting.

Chong, who turned 60 yesterday, only spent 18 months as the school’s headmistress, but judging by the events at her farewell, she has left a lasting impression.

The helicopter farewell was courtesy of the students, teachers and parents who chipped in to pay the fee.

“I am overwhelmed and very touched,” said Chong.

“They have shown me so much love and warmth,” she said.

She listed her proudest achievements as having extended the crammed school canteen to accommodate the 1,700 students and leading the school to a record success in last year’s PT3 examination.

Upwards and onwards: SMK Seksyen 4 students sending off Chong as she takes a helicopter ride during her retirement ceremony.
“The children were squeezed into a tiny place,” Chong said.

“I taught them to organise a fund-raiser and they managed to rake in RM150,000.”

On her next plans, Chong said she wanted to spend time with her parents, aged 90 and 97, her husband and three daughters.

Her illustrious career included teaching English at SMK Seafield in Subang Jaya for 18 years, and being disciplinary teacher and head of student and academic affairs.

Head prefect Foo Zhiyi, 17, said he would miss Chong’s style of teaching which he described as “one of a kind”.

“I really look up to her. She is a problem-solver, always there to provide us with solutions,” he said.

Form Four student Isaac Collin said Chong was very passionate about the school and would be hard to replace.

School counsellor Rosmawati Husin said Chong left a handwritten message to each of the 105 teachers at the school.

-The Star

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