Maxwell School

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Maxwell School
Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Maxwell
TypeGovernment daily all-boys and co-ed secondary school
MottoLatin: Disco Ut Serviam
English: I Learn That I May Serve
Berilmu, Beramal
Establishedc. 1917
PrincipalPn. Hajah Hanipah binti Endut
GradesForm 1 - Form 6
GenderAll-boys: Form 1 - Form 5
Co-ed: Form 6
Enrollmentc. 750 (2015)
CampusSmall school campus, at the edge of the city centre
HousesThamboosamy (red)
Swettenham (green)
Yap Ah Loy (blue)
Sulaiman (yellow)
Colour(s)Royal Green, Yellow and Blue
YearbookThe Burning Tiger
AffiliationsMalaysia Ministry Of Education
SloganMaxwell, Hebat!
AlumniMaxwellian Old Boys' Association

Maxwell School (Malay: Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Maxwell) is an all-boys (and co-ed) secondary school, located north of Kuala Lumpur. The school is believed to be the oldest school in north of Kuala Lumpur as well as one of the oldest in Kuala Lumpur and Malaysia. Both current students and alumnus are known as a Maxwellian. The school is some of the schools in Malaysia that have surpassed the 100-year old mark. It celebrates the 100th anniversary in 2017, and a centennial ceremony was held on 30 September 2017.


Maxwell School was established in 1917, and named after a road in honour of Sir William George Maxwell. It opened its doors to 110 students and five teaching staff on 1 June 1922. During its pre-war days, it functioned as a feeder school (primary school) to the Victoria Institution. By 1933, the school was shut down to the public due to the recession, but was opened as a private school from 1934 to 1938. It was then given to the Trade School for their use.

During the Japanese Occupation, it was used as a camp for the Japanese Kempeitai. After the war, the school was used as a hostel by the newly formed Technical College until 1953, when, in September, the school was re-opened as Malaya's first modern secondary school. Today, the Maxwell School is still housed in the same building and has remained a secondary school ever since.

School headmasters and headmistresses[edit]

1917 - 1918 War Period
1919 - 1922 Establishment Period
1922 - 1925 Montague B. Brockwell
1925 - 1928 C. N. Beamish
Aug 1928 Harold Ball
1928 - 1930 Agnes R. Cooke
1930 - 1930 M. Wheatley
1930 - 1933 C. W. Bloomfield
1933 - 1938 R. Thampipillay
1939 - 1941 (Closed)
1941 - 1945 (War Period)
1946 - 1953 (Closed)
1953 - 1954 William C. Cleine
1954 - 1956 Donald Priestley
1956 - 1957 Paul Chang
1957 - 1957 Razak Khan
1957 - 1961 Ong Choon Ghee
1961 - 1961 A. E. Navarasingam
1961 - 1968 Wong Ah Fatt
1968 - 1979 P. Nadarajah
1979 - 1988 Victor Wong
1988 - 1990 Abdul Razak Mohammed
1990 - 1999 Ismail Sajad bin Sajad
1999 - 2001 Han Seng Kuang
2001 - 2006 Loy Liang Dee
2006 - 2007 Datin Khairiah Abd Majid
2007 - 2010 Datin Zainab Bee Bte. Ismail
2011 - 2014 Radiah Bt. Nordin K.M.W
2014 - Hajah Hanipah binti Endut

European Headmistresses[edit]

1922 - 1923 Annie Grenier
1923 - 1924 J. H. Dennett
1924 - 1926 Edith L. Earnshaw
1926 - 1927 D. A. Peck
1927 - 1928 Helen D. Leith
1928 - 1929 Agnes R. Cooke
1929 - 1933 Nellie F. Careless


The school has remained on its original site. It originally consisted of two blocks, the present day main block and the gymnasium block, which now consist a meeting room. The design and features of the two blocks are typical of colonial era structures and bear some similarities with the railway station and Sultan Abdul Samad buildings, both of which have Moorish architecture. The school was later extended to a block of solid masonry construction with arched openings along the corridors. There is a veranda on both sides of each storey of the main block, high ceilings and broad stairways. The 'H' shape of the main block is locally a distinctive feature. The school ever since have expanded, and now the school has two additional main blocks. The first of which are located behind the original 1917 block, housing most of the classrooms and laboratories and a new 6-storey tower that houses most of the Form Sixth classrooms and the school library.

Student life[edit]

It is an unspoken rule that all freshman students join at least one uniformed body, join one of the school's 50 clubs and participate in at least one sport.


As like many other older schools, the Maxwell School has rivals. St. John's Institution, is the school's traditional rivals. This rivalry can be observed during visits by Maxwellians to St. John's Institution and vice versa. Setapak High School, Ampang Road Boys School and the Methodist Boys School, Sentul can also be included in this list, stretching back to the mid-1950s.

Traditions and heritage[edit]

While many of the colonial-period traditions have eroded over the years, some are still practised. The first one is the passing of the School Captain badge from Captain to Captain each year. The second is the sewing of the prefects uniform done by the school tailor, and not bought from a retail shop. Another one would be of the invitation by the Old Boys' Association of the school to the School Captain to attend the annual Dinner Night of the Association. Furthermore, the uniformed groups uniform is worn on every Wednesday.


Maxwell School participates in the Sentul zone at district level and in the MSSKL (Kuala Lumpur School Sports Council) tournament at the state level. The school has won trophies and titles in football, hockey, athletics, cricket, sepak takraw and badminton. Maxwell School has produced Malaysian sportsmen including Zainal Abidin Hassan, E.C. Dutton (national goalkeeper) S.A. Azman (national tennis player) and national cricket players.


There are four sport houses, and every year they compete on sports day. The Maxwell School Sports Day has been held since 1955. The houses are named after the founders of the state. The houses are:


Maxwell School has one of the oldest prefects board in Malaysia and Southeast Asia. It was founded 1929. After the war, the Prefects Board was re-initiated and the first School Captain was S. A. Azman in 1954. He later became one of Malaya's first national tennis players.

Choosing prefects is done by nomination for prefecture by teachers and senior students, training, elimination processes, and a several month stint as a 'Temporary Prefect'. The motto for the Maxwell School Prefects Board is "Dedicated Prefects Towards Discipline"

School crest[edit]

Mr. Donald Priestley designed the school crest in 1954. It is green, yellow, blue and white, with each colour having a meaning:

  • green represents religion,
  • yellow represents royalty,
  • blue represents age,
  • white represents youth.

The shield shows a tiger, an opened bible, the school motto, a compass which supports the opened book and an arrow pointing down surrounded by eight blue and white stripes. The opened book is the Bible Of Knowledge and the tiger is The Burning Tiger. The compass symbolises the school’s status as a modern secondary school, offering technical and vocational subjects at that period of time. The school motto – Disco Ut Serviam – is the Latin for I Learn That I May Serve.


The alumni association of the school is the Maxwell School Old Boys' Association. It was established in 1956, de-registered in 1983 and was registered again on 13 February 1999. The OBA has a newsletter known as 'Berita O'Max', issued quarterly.

Notable alumni[edit]