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First Hybrid Orientation Camp A Success!

2021 Secondary 1 Orientation Camp

For the first time, a hybrid Orientation Camp that has both physical and virtual activities were organised for the new Secondary 1 batch from 4 to 6 January 2021. This cohort of new joiners had a very different orientation experience compared to their predecessors because of current restrictions. Keeping the limitations in mind, student leaders still came up with an interesting line-up of activities to give student-athletes a taste of secondary life, assimilate them to their new school environment, and forge new friendships.

Freshmen used the digital space for ice-breaker games, briefings by Directors and Head of Year, and the Induction Ceremony. Physical activities such as an amazing race, challenging tasks as part of the “Capture the Flag” activity, and school anthem and cheer familiarisation were still conducted in smaller groups by orientation group leaders.

The highlight of the three-day Camp was the Induction Ceremony, which marked the end of the Orientation Camp and the start of their secondary school life. The Induction Ceremony, which is typically held in the Auditorium together with all Secondary 1 student-athletes and their parents, was an intimate and cozy celebration in the classrooms with orientation group leaders and academy mentors. Instead of the usual practice of parents presenting student-athletes their badges and t-shirts, General Managers and seniors had the honour of doing it this time instead. The ceremony ended off with a campfire using light sticks in the classrooms, where student-athletes bonded by sharing laughter and their reflections.

Secondary 1 fencer Gianna Koh Shao Yuan said, “To my surprise, the orientation camp experience was fantastic! I was excited, but nervous prior to the start of school as it’s a new environment and a new lifestyle for me. Through the orientation camp activities, I made new friends, and got to know more about the school from orientation group leaders. As the seniors and peers were very supportive and helpful, it really helped to ease my nerves and made me feel comfortable in my new school. I know that organising this was not easy, but I am glad the School continued its tradition of having a Camp for us as it really does give us a good start for the new chapter in our lives.”

Orientation group leaders were especially happy to hear good feedback from their juniors since it is the first time that the School had to organise a hybrid camp. Cheryl Wee, Vice-President of the Student Council, who is also an IBDP Year 6 netballer admitted that that this was the most challenge Orientation Camp that she has organised yet. Cheryl has been a member of the Orientation Camp planning Committee since she was in Secondary 3.

She said, “We had to make many changes as there were strict restrictions due to safe management measures. Our team had to meet up many times over the holidays to brainstorm other ideas. For example, organising the campfire was difficult as we had to rack our brains for a safe way to carry out a similar campfire activity that did not pose safety concerns. We also could not teach them our school cheers the traditional way; gathering in groups and having a cheer competition. Instead, we had to tap into our creative side and eventually came up with memory games and puzzles to teach those in Secondary 1 the necessary cheers, without having to raise our voices.

As student-athletes ourselves, we know how much this orientation means to Secondary 1 student-athletes. Hence, we wanted to do all that we could to make it memorable. For example, instead of completely ditching the idea of physical games, we came up with the ideas to disperse the venues of all the mini-games throughout the school and limited the numbers in each orientation group to minimize interaction, without affecting the fun factor of the activities!”

The first part of the orientation was held for the Primary 6 prospective student-athletes in October 2020. The two-day event then was held fully online to continue giving prospective student-athletes the opportunity to get the know their Academy peers, staff and seniors.