SMK St. Columba
Motto: Peace And Service
|Miri, Sarawak, Malaysia|
|Established||January 16th, 1929|
|Founder||Father Paul Chong En Siong|
|Principal||Ms Robinette Tiong Ai Giek|
|Colour(s)||Blue, Red And White|
Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Saint Columba (Saint Columba's Secondary School) or St. Co, as it is referred to by the locals, is the oldest school in Miri. It is located just one kilometre away from the city centre. The school was established in 1929 by Canon Paul Chong En Siong and is currently headed by Madam Robinette Tiong Ai Giek. The school educates students from Transition to Secondary 5 level and it prepares students for the Penilaian Menengah Rendah and Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia examinations which are administered by the Ministry of Education. It was made a 'Sekolah Harapan Negara' (Nation's School of Hope) in the year 1993.
Pre-War Period (1929-1941)
In 1910, Miri was just a small fishing village. Even though petroleum had been discovered in Miri, drillings and excavations were carried out only on a small scale by Borneo Company Limited. Foreign technicians and labourers who were mainly Anglican strongly felt the need for a church. In 1918, Bishop Logie Danson came to Miri to discuss the building of a new church.
On September the 3rd, 1922, St. Columba's Church was completed and officially declared open by R.S Douglas. The Church was named Saint Columba's Church after the Irish priest who lived in the 6th Century. The presence of the church attracted a few priests to Miri. One of them was Father Paul Chong En Siong (who would later become the founder of Saint Columba's School). The first task given to Father Paul was to establish a new school in Miri. Sarawak Oilfields Limited donated a piece of land south of the church and an old building to be used for educational purposes. Surprisingly, the land donated by Sarawak Oilfields Limited is still in use today as the site of Saint Columba's Secondary School (SMK St.Columba).
Father Chong and Father F.W Synott used the old building which was also an old government quarter as the first classroom. Saint Columba's School was officially declared open on January the 16th, 1929 with 13 students enrolled. Saint Columba's School was the first mission school in Miri. The establishment of St. Columba's School received a tremendous response from the people of Miri. Within the period of one month, the number of students had greatly increased.
Wan Thau Fen was appointed as a teacher of the new school. After that, two new classrooms were constructed. In the beginning, English was used as the medium of teaching. In the 1930s, with the increasing number of students, Father Paul felt the need to build a new building with four classrooms. In 1934, Father Paul left the school to continue his missionary work in Kuching, Kudat and other parts of Sabah ( British North Borneo ) .
His post as headmaster was taken over by Yeo Cheng Ho. At that time, the school faced two major problems: a shortage of classrooms and lack of funds. When Yeo Cheng Ho left for Kuching in 1937, his post was taken over by Lee Kui Choi until the Japanese occupation of Malaya, North Borneo and Sarawak. Back then, the number of students had increased to 107 with seven teachers and four new classrooms. The British Government had started to support Saint Columba's School financially.
Japanese Occupation Period (1941-1945)
On the 8th of December, 1941, the Second World War in the Pacific had begun and all the schools in Miri were closed. The Imperial Japanese Army landed in Miri on the 16th of December, 1941 and occupied Saint Columba's School, which was used by the Imperial Japanese Army as a storeroom. Lee Kui Choi was arrested and put in jail, but was released three days later.
After handing over his duties to Father Lim Siong Teck, Lee Kui Choi returned to Sibu. The Kempetai (Japanese Secret Police) arrested and killed Father Lim Siong Teck, Chong En Fui and Joel Paul, a member of the Saint Columba's Church Council.
By the end of the Second World War in the Pacific, the Imperial Japanese Army had retreated from Miri. Before they retreated, they destroyed all the school buildings except the toilet and one of the stores. All the school belongings and records were destroyed except for the school's bank records. The Second World War had brought devastation to the school.
With the buildings destroyed, some people serving in the Anglican Church doubted the future of the school. The school faced major financial problems at this point of time. This period was very critical and crucial in the school's history. Thankfully, the school was gradually rebuilt and is what it is today, one of the best schools in Miri.
Post War Period (1945-1965)
On the 14th of September, 1945, the school made a proposition to Major Pollett, a member of the British Borneo Civil Affairs Unit (B.B.C.A.U) to reopen Saint Columba's School. The proposal was approved and on the 17th of September, 1945 the school was reopened with only two teachers, namely Liew Kit Siong and Molly Leong and 41 students. They were assisted by one untrained teacher.
Liew Kit Siong was then chosen as the principal of the school. On the first day, several English medium classes were reopened with 39 students in the morning and 21 students for the Chinese medium class in the afternoon. At the end of the first week, the number of students had increased to 79 and 39 students for the English and Chinese medium classes respectively. Throughout the year 1945, more than 200 students had enrolled. Due to the shortages of classrooms and teachers, most applicants were rejected. Additional classes were held inside Saint Columba's Church (present day St. Columba's Kindergarten).
During this period, financial support came from school fees and the monthly support of 100 dollars by the Sarawak Oilfields Limited and 80 dollars by the British Army Administration. This helped Saint Columba's School to survive until this very day. Due to the increasing number of students, additional classes were held in the Miri Gymkhana Club (GCM) storeroom.
The current principal of SMK St.Columba is Madam Robinette Tiong Ai Giek. She is assisted by Madam Supang Daring@Christine, Senior Assistant, Madam Maria Jau, Senior Assistant of Student Affairs, Mr. Ong Sze Chong, Senior Assistant of Afternoon Session and Mr. Mohammad Effendi bin Panglima, Senior Assistant of Extracurricular Activities
Principals of St.Columba's Secondary School
|No||Names Of Principals||Years Of Service|
|1||Canon Paul Chong En Siong||1929-1935|
|2||Mr.Yeo Cheng Ho||1935-1937|
|3||Mr.Lee Kui Choi||1935-1937|
|4||Mr.Liew Kit Siong||1945-1946|
|5||Miss Yeo Siew Ngo||1946-1948|
|6||Mr.Lim Choo Tiong||1948-1949|
|7||Mr.Tan Ah Beng||1949-1950|
|8||Mr.Yeo Ah Choo||1950-1957|
|10||Mr.Yeo Ah Choo||1956-1957|
|11||Father Harold Rogers||1958-1959|
|12||Father Peter Joliffe||1959-1961|
|13||Father Brian Taylor||1962-1965|
|15||Miss Leonie Armour||1970-1980|
|16||Miss Chan Siew Ngo||1981-1996|
|17||Mr.Raymond Gai Panting @ Gaie||1997-2000|
|18||Mr.Richard Wong King Kui||2001-2009|
|19||Mdm.Robinette Tiong Ai Giek||2009-Present|
Currently there are 6 Prefect branches. They are:-
1) Discipline Branch
2) PRS Branch
3) 3K Branch
4) Co-curriculum Branch
5) Class Monitors
6) Resource Centre Board
The School Badge was introduced before the Second World War. It started to become widely used in the early 1950s, especially when Yeo Ah Choo became the school principal . The Saint Columba's school badge is shaped like a mitre with a dove and the letters "SCS" enclosed within it. The words "Sicut Columba" in Latin are found at the lower part of the school badge. The dove symbolises strength, purity and peace. The word "Sicut" comes from a Latin word which means "gentle like a dove". The letters "SCS" are the initials for Saint Columba's School.
This song was composed in 1966 by the wife of Mr. Nigel Heyward, who was then principal of the school. The lyrics sum up the heart of the school's vision and aim of producing well-rounded students who not only perform well academically but also have strong moral fibre.
Between the hillside and the sea,
We work and play here in harmony,
May steadfast service and loyalty,
Bring wider visions of unity.
May we love beauty, the hill and sea,
Find solace in music and sweet poetry,
May we love learning and cherish peace,
Quiet and stillness when labours cease.
Rise above anger, overcome pride,
Filled with the Spirit, may God be our guide,
Channels of blessing and peace above,
Fearless of evil, strengthened with love.
- Watson Nyambek (Malaysian Athlete)