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     FrontPage Edition: Thu 3 January 2008

 School of the Arts welcomes its first batch of 239 students




Full Text of Speech

Mr Lee Tzu Yang, Chairman, Board of Directors, Singapore Arts School Ltd
Mrs Rebecca Chew, Principal, School of the Arts,
Teachers and staff,
Good morning and a Happy New Year
I would like to welcome the pioneer batch of students to the School of the Arts (SOTA). Today, students and staff of SOTA are unveiling a new chapter in Singapore’s arts education.
As Singapore’s first pre-tertiary specialised arts school, SOTA offers a wonderful learning opportunity for students who are talented in the arts and passionate about their artistic interests.
I congratulate the SOTA Board of Directors, the Principal and staff, who have worked very hard over the past two years to transform an idea into a real brick and mortar school for this pioneer batch of students.
Each and every student enters the gates of SOTA bearing with him or her great expectations and hopes.
We share your dreams and passion. We are just as excited as you, poised on the threshold of a great adventure. We will do our utmost to help you develop your artistic talents and creativity as well as achieve academic excellence.
I would like to make three points to mark the commencement of SOTA today.
First, I would like to thank the many parents and students who supported the idea of having a specialised arts school and recognised the value of the education which will be offered by SOTA.
The School received an overwhelming response to the Talent Academy to recruit this batch of pioneer students for 2008. Over 1,000 applicants came for the Talent Academy.
Today, the School welcomes its first batch of 239 students who come from diverse social backgrounds and 129 primary schools. You share a common trait, which is your love for the arts and your commitment to cultivate your artistic talents.
Second, SOTA’s mission is to nurture Singapore’s artistic and creative leaders for the future. The School will provide you with a vibrant environment for learning that is uniquely anchored in the arts.
At SOTA, you will have the opportunity to discover, develop, celebrate, experiment and express your love of the arts. SOTA will help you grow artistically as well as develop your academic excellence.
The teaching curriculum meaningfully connects various disciplines. Besides the arts, you will also learn core academic subjects such as mathematics, science, humanities, social science and languages. This is important to provide you with the widest possibilities and options for the future.
SOTA will challenge you to excel in the academic arena as well as help you to become more creative and outstanding in the arts.
Singapore is evolving into an innovation-driven economy powered by a creative society. SOTA’s graduates schooled in the arts and other disciplines will be able to continue their education and contribute much to our society and economy.
You will be well placed to contribute to our growing pool of talents in the performing and visual arts, design, media and IT as well many other professions and occupations.
We hope that in the years to come, many SOTA graduates will become luminaries on the artistic stage and leaders in many other spheres of life, contributing to Singapore’s well-being and continued success.
My third and last point is that the success of SOTA does not depend on just the teachers and staff.
The School needs partners from the arts community and corporate sector in order to provide the best education for the School’s young artistic talents.
Hence I am delighted to acknowledge the generous donation for $12 million over six years by the Ngee Ann Kongsi to support scholarships and bursaries for SOTA students. This donation will go a long way in allowing deserving students the opportunity to realise their full potential without being hindered by financial concerns.
I thank the Ngee Ann Kongsi for this outstanding act of generosity which will ensure that talented young students will be able to study at SOTA regardless of their family circumstances.
In conclusion, I wish the Principal and staff of SOTA every success as you embarked on this journey to build a new institution to nurture future generations of innovative and creative artists, thinkers and leaders.
To the students of SOTA, I look forward to seeing you excel in the arts and using your unique talent to shape, inspire and influence the world around you.
I hope that six years from today when you leave SOTA, you will take with you wonderful memories of the time you spent here and go on to greater success and achievements.
Thank you.

Source: Media Release 2 Jan 2008

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