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St. Gabriel's Secondary School

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Coordinates: 1°20′48″N 103°52′31″E / 1.346738°N 103.875214°E / 1.346738; 103.875214

St. Gabriel's Secondary School
Sekolah Menengah St. Gabriel
St. Gabriel's Secondary School's Foundation Crest
24 Serangoon Ave 1
Type Government Aided
Motto Labor Omnia Vincit
(Labour Conquers All Things)
Religious affiliation(s) Roman Catholicism
Patron saint(s) Louis de Montfort
Established 3 June 1953
Founder Brother Louis Gonzaga
Session Single session
School code 7017
Principal Mr Stephen Chin
Grades Sec 1 to 4 (Express)
Sec 1 to 5 (Normal)
Language English
Colour(s)          White and Blue
Feeder schools St. Gabriel's Primary School

St. Gabriel's Secondary School ("SGSS" or colloquially "St. Gabs") is an all-boys Roman Catholic secondary school in Serangoon, Singapore. The school, founded in 1953, is affiliated to St. Gabriel's Primary School and Catholic Junior College and is one of 7 Gabrielite schools in Singapore.[1] Classes are offered in the Express, Normal Academic and Normal Technical streams.

The principal of St. Gabriel's Secondary School is Mr Stephen Chin and its vice-principals are Miss Jackie Cheng and Mr Anith Kumar S/O Nadesan.


St Gabriel's School opened its doors on 3 June 1953 (costing $175,000 with a government contribution of $71,000) and stood at the junction of Hillside Drive and Upper Serangoon Road. Under the supervision of Rev Bro Louis Gonzaga (Founder) and seven pioneer teachers, the school accepted 212 pupils for its first intake, consisting of only five classes: two of Primary 1, one each of Primary 2, Standard 1 and Standard 2. The school was officially declared open on 13 December 1953 by the Bishop of the Diocese of Singapore and Malacca, Michel Olcomendy. In 1954, Brother Elzear became the school's first full-time Director (Principal).

Brother Louis Gonzaga took over as director in 1955 and Brother Elzear left to take over management of Parish School in Johore Bahru, Malaysia. In 1958, under the supervision of Brother Camillus, the afternoon session began functioning on its own. Brother Raymond was made director. This year also marks the publication of the first St. Gabriel's School Annual (Magazine).

In 1959, the school had its first Secondary Four class, thus attaining the status of a full school. Under the leadership of Brother Adolphus, the class sat for the Overseas School Certificate Examinations (Cambridge) and achieved a high passing rate of 90%.

Brother Emmanuel took over the reins in 1961. Leo Remedios and Paul Lee became first two senior assistants of the school. 1961 also marked the formation of St. Gabriel's Old Boys' Association. Brother Noel became the director in 1963.

By 1968, St. Gabriel's School had a total of 47 classes for both the morning and afternoon sessions, with an enrolment of 2,000 students. The school was reaching its available capacity. To solve this problem, the primary section of the school was relocated to a new building on Highland Road on 2 January 1969 and officially declared open on 12 July 1969, hence the creation of two separate schools, namely St. Gabriel's Primary School and St. Gabriel's Secondary School.

With the establishment of the Primary School, the Secondary School was reorganised, with a shift in emphasis towards technical education. Some premises were converted into machine and electrical workshops to cater to the needs of pupils of SGSS and three neighbouring schools. Brother Emmanuel took over the reins again in 1969 following the sudden death of Brother Noel. Leadership was passed on to Brother Edmund James in 1974 and Mr Peter Tan was appointed Senior Assistant of the school.

The Brothers of St. Gabriel's were at the helm of the school for 30 years (1953–1983) before the leadership was passed on to lay principals in 1984. In line with Ministry of Education's guidelines, the school went single-session in 1986. The school had its first and only female principal, Mrs Ng Peng Hock, in 1990.

In May 1992, St. Gabriel's moved to its current premises at Serangoon Ave 1 and was officially opened in August 1993. At present, the school teaches the default GCE 'O' and 'N' Level syllabus as outlined by the Ministry of Education.[2][3]

Academic achievements

An early example of academic success for St Gabriel's came in 1970 when the school attained 71% passes in the Senior Cambridge examination results.[4]

St. Gabriel's School produced its first President's Scholar in 1978 (Dr. Ramani, graduated 1975). The school has its second President's Scholar, Francis Chong, in 1989.[5]

In the 2009 National Secondary School Rankings, St. Gabriel's Secondary School was ranked a Band 3 and 8 (Normal and Express respectively). The school was also awarded the Achievement Award for Academic Value-Added in years 2007-2009[6] and Sustained Achievement Award for Uniformed Group, Aesthetics and Sports in years 2008-2009.[7]

The school has also met the requirements for the Singapore Quality Class (SQC) for business excellence with effect from 31 January 2008.

Since 1998, St. Gabriel's has achieved the Academic Value-Added Award for the O-Level Examinations. It has also received the Sustained Achievement Awards for Uniformed Groups since 2002.[8]


The school has been noted for its band (now called the Concert Band), which was giving public performances as long ago as 1969.[9] In 1971 the band was one of three from Singapore to win a competition to perform in Kuala Lumpur to promote goodwill between Singapore and Malaysia.[10][11] It undertook another tour of Malaysia in 1981.[12] The band won a Gold at the Singapore Youth Festival (SYF) in 1999, 2007 and 2009,[13] followed by a distinction in 2013 and 2015.

The school choir, the St Gabriel's Secondary School Vocal Ensemble, was one of the first all-boys secondary school choirs in Singapore. It won a Gold in the Singapore Youth Festival (SYF) in 2011,[14] followed by a distinction in both the 2013 and 2015 SYF, under the changes in the system. It often has collaborations with other schools, namely Hwa Chong Institution, St Margaret's Secondary School, Methodist Girls School, Holy Innocents High School and Presbyterian High School. One example of such a collaboration is their biannual concert, SingOut, which is held together with Presbyterian High School and Holy Innocents High School. The choir is currently under the tutelage of conductors Ms Flora Yee and Ms Rose Loh.

The guitar ensemble won gold and silver in SYF in 2009 and 2011 respectively


Although the school does not have an annual sports day, it states that sports facilities and equipment are readily available to students. Badminton nets are set up on the parade square, and the indoor sports hall is available for students wishing to play futsal. There is an inter-class soccer tournament for Secondary 3, and the possibility of expanding this idea to other levels and sports was under consideration at the end of 2011.[15]

At national level, St. Gabriel's won first in table tennis in 2009[16] and again in 2011.[17] In past years it has won 2nd in golf and 3rd in judo.[8]

In 2009 it attracted attention because five of its table tennis team's seven members were from China.[18]

School Crest & Motto

School Badge (1953-2007)
School Crest (2007-Present)

The school crest was formally introduced in 2007 to replace the school badge (1953–2007) and is now used by all Gabrielite institutions. This is in line with the St. Gabriel's Foundation's aim to forge a common identity for all Gabrielite institutions in the SE-Asia Region. Components of the School Crest are as follows:

A.M. with the lily flower: "A.M." is an abbreviation for "Ave Maria". It represents the greeting of the Angel Gabriel to Mary. It also shows the Patron Saint St. Louis de Monfort's strong devotion to Our Lady.

D+S with a cross: D.S. comes from the French words "Dieu Seul", which can be translated as "God alone". God Alone is the all-motivating force in the life of St. Louis Marie de Montfort.

Sailboat at sea: represents the hardships we experience through life. Just like the sailors at sea, if we are able to face hardship and overcome difficulties, we will come out being better people.

Star and the man in the boat: symbolizes the Star of the sea, where seamen navigate to their destination in the vast ocean. If we are focused on the essential values of life, we shall reach our ultimate destiny in life. The Star of the sea shall be the guiding light that lights up the way in our life.

Olive branches: symbolizes peace and prosperity. It is thus the duty of each one to promote peace in the world, a peace that will last. Coupled with peace is prosperity, which connotes not only the generation of wealth but also the integral development of human society.

Labor Omnia Vincit: which stands for "Labour conquers all things". Hard work embodied in diligence and perseverance leads one to achieve greater things in life.[19]

Subjects Offered

The following subjects are offered by the school:[8]

Co-Curricular activities

The school offers a range of extra-curricular activities:[8]

Uniform and discipline

St. Gabriel's students wear white shirts, with dark blue short trousers in Secondary 1 and 2, and dark blue long trousers in Secondary 3, 4 and 5. School ties must be worn on Mondays.

For significant breaches of school discipline, the standard consequence is corporal punishment. Students receive caning, preceded and followed by counselling; parents are informed.[20] Students who are late to school for a sixth time in one term receive two strokes of the cane.[21] The strokes are administered to the seat of the offender's trousers; in all but rare serious cases, the punishment is meted out privately in the school office.

Brother Emmanuel, principal of St Gabriel's from 1961 to 1963 and again from 1969 to 1974, has been described by the Catholic News as "a disciplinarian whose cane has graced the backsides of many boys". He is quoted as saying that many of those he caned had told him of the need for the discipline they received from him. In his view, the punishment must be a careful, considered ceremony: "No one should ever cane a boy on impulse", he said.[22] As of 2012, at age 78, Bro. Emmanuel is still on the school's Management Committee as Supervisor.[23]

In 1970, seven or eight boys were found to be smoking ganja (cannabis), but the problem was stamped out with counselling, guidance and warnings, according to the then principal.[24]

Exchange Programmes

The school has annual exchange programmes with Kitago Junior High School in Miyazaki Miyazaki Prefecture, Japan.


The school is affiliated with St. Gabriel's Primary School (SGPS), giving SGPS students priority for admission. St. Gabriel's is also affiliated to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Singapore and the Monfort Brothers of Christian Instruction of St Gabriel. Other Gabrielite Schools in Singapore include: Assumption English School, Montfort Secondary School, Montfort Junior School and Assumption Pathway School.

Contrary to popular belief, St. Gabriel's is not affiliated with the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools or any of its schools.[25] It does maintain friendly relationships with them, however.

Past Principals


The library, named The Zone, is equipped with CD-Roms, DVDs, VCDs, CDs and internet-enabled computers. The library organises events such as the Inter-Class Debate Competition (2008, 2009), Photography Competition (2007), Jamming Competition (2007), and the Book Cover Design Competition (2006). The Zone's motto is "Partner in Education".

Notable alumni

External links


  1. ^ "Dinner for St Gabriel's half century". The Straits Times. Singapore. 2 May 1987. p. 14. 
  2. ^ St. Gabriel's Primary School. School History. Retrieved 2 April 2010.
  3. ^ St. Gabriel's 50th Anniversary Magazine. 2003.
  4. ^ "It's ladies first at the top of the School Cert list". The Straits Times. Singapore. 21 March 1970. p. 9. 
  5. ^ "6 of the best: President's Scholars 1989". The Straits Times. Singapore. 25 August 1989. p. 29. 
  6. ^ St. Gabriel's Secondary School. List of Academic Achievements. Retrieved 19 May 2010.
  7. ^ St. Gabriel's Secondary School. List of Non-academic Achievements. Retrieved 19 May 2010.
  8. ^ a b c d "St Gabriel's Secondary School". School Information Service. Ministry of Education. 2012. 
  9. ^ "School Band". The Straits Times. Singapore. 29 June 1969. p. 8. 
  10. ^ "20 school bands in youth festival tournament". The Straits Times. Singapore. 24 May 1971. p. 24. 
  11. ^ "Singapore school bands to play in K.L.". The Straits Times. Singapore. 14 December 1971. p. 10. 
  12. ^ "Band strikes a note of friendship". The Straits Times. 28 December 1981. p. 35. 
  13. ^ "Performing groups". St. Gabriel's Secondary School. 2011. Retrieved 19 March 2012. 
  14. ^ "Central Judging of Choirs: Results" (PDF). Singapore Youth Festival. 2011. 
  15. ^ Koh Hui Theng; Tan, Lediati (25 November 2011). "'Most get first choice CCA'". The New Paper. Singapore. 
  16. ^ Sim, Royston (16 April 2010). "Maris Stella paddlers regain title". The Straits Times. Singapore. 
  17. ^ "Past School Champions". 2012. 
  18. ^ "Don't resent foreign talent". The New Paper. Singapore. 5 June 2009. 
  19. ^ Monfort Centre. School Crest. Retrieved 19 May 2010.
  20. ^ "Important updates". St Gabriel's Secondary School. 2011. p. 7. 
  21. ^ "Important updates". St Gabriel's Secondary School. 2011. p. 8. 
  22. ^ Gan, Joyce (June 2006). "A caring disciplinarian". Catholic News. Singapore. 
  23. ^ "School Management Committee". St. Gabriel's Secondary School. 2011. Retrieved 19 March 2012. 
  24. ^ "Counselling by teachers pays off in war against drug taking". The Straits Times. Singapore. 22 September 1970. p. 6. 
  25. ^ "T.F. Hwang takes you down memory lane". The Straits Times. Singapore. 17 May 1975. p. 14. 
  26. ^ Tan, Lorna (13 April 2010). "Pest buster has finger in every pie". The Straits Times. Singapore. 
  27. ^ Lim, Joyce (24 April 2011). "Ex-S'pore Idol finalist still in coma". The New Paper. Singapore. 
  28. ^ Chan, Rachel (3 January 2011). "Nut-thing fazes this food distributor". My Paper. Singapore. 
  29. ^ "A Natural Humanitarian". Institute of Technical Education. 12 June 2013.