Monday 5 August 2013

by  Nadia Marissa Abdul Rahman, Junior 1 Cempaka, Class of 2014

The Dato’ Pilus Hall is no stranger to special assemblies, celebrations and the like. With Dato’ Freida’s birthday right around the corner, Damansara chose to celebrate our beloved founder and her school with poems, performances and many profound thanks. 

The assembly kicked off with an iMovie detailing the Interact Club's successful book drive and build-a-mini-library project which you can read more about by clicking here. The next video - a project led by Wong Sher Lynn and Ow Syen Yee - documented the students and teachers of the school citing all of the ways Dato' has inspired them. Strength, passion, and determination were some of the few but everyone could agree that the most inspiring thing about Dato' was the sheer magnitude of love that she had for our school. 

The performances began. Leading the way were Nik Ashman and Mithali Maya Mittra reciting a witty poem, Forever A Cempakan, written by yours truly. With equal parts comedy and equal parts sincerity, they managed to capture the spirit of the school vividly. This was followed with a beautiful performance by the violin ensemble called "warriors' stride". An apropos name considering the amount of gusto and heart the young students' put into their performance. 

The next line-up was by our singer and part-time apeman, Jes Ismael Izaidin. With powerful vocals and a stage presence to rival the alter-ego he played, "Bridge Over Troubled Water" had never sounded better (or less boring). If there’s one thing that Cempaka doesn’t lack, it’s talent; And the subsequent piano performance of Hot Chilli Cha-Cha by Lim Jia Ying and Zainal Azzan’s rendition of “You Raise Me Up” were nothing short extraordinary. However, it was the four incredibly young Cempakans (they’re from the graduating class of 2021/2022 - as if I didn’t already feel old), Chanice Lee, Charmaine Koh, Sara Ariana and Lauren Ho who stole the entire show. Big talent often comes in small sizes and their performance of “Dream Big Dreams” shows just how talented and how far they have to go. 

The hall lights turned on, marking the end of the performances. Donations collected from the past week consisting of toys, Raya biscuits and other such items were given to a few representatives from the Lighthouse Welfare Children’s Home. The donations were collected on behalf of Save The World's Acts to Save The World Week. Then, much to our delight and enthusiasm, teachers  took centre stage for the finale and sang “Thank You For The Music” - a fitting tribute for the 30 amazing years Dato’ Freida has given. This special performance was greeted with many wolf-whistles and cheers from the audience who watched the 30 teachers on stage, all dressed uniformly in red and black, make history. Following that, addresses were given by Dato’, Dr Rizal and En Hisham. Though we were all rooting for the two brothers to duet, we made do with a surprise performance by Annabel Yong, a former Cempakan from the Class of 2009, who was greeted with delight from the audience. 

Many things can be said about Dato’ Freida and the 30 past years that have brought Sri Cempaka from its humble beginnings to what it is today. And in a way, the assembly celebrated all those things. But even more so, the assembly was a celebration of everything Cempaka is and will always stand for - a family. As our dear founder said in her speech, “This day is not about the founding of the school, but about how we found each other”. 
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