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100th Anniversary

CELEBRATING 100 YEARS OF METHODIST EDUCATION
THEN AND NOW: PIVOTAL MOMENTS THAT SHAPED OUR STORY

 

SCHOOL HISTORY

From a “Second Chance & No Choice” School to the “BEST CHANCE – FIRST CHOICE!

Holy Spirit-led Methodist Christians pioneered a Mission Post in Kinta Perak, with the arrivals of William Stagg and Edward Horley in 1894. The “strangely warmed hearts” of the Wesley brothers, John and Charles at Aldersgate Street London on 24th May 1738, had then set ablaze the Fire of Spiritual Renewals throughout the UK, the US and parts of Europe. Methodism soon spread to Asia in the Indian Sub-Continent, then to Burma and on to Singapore-Malaya.

“Not by power nor by might but by my Spirit” (Zech 4:6) was preached by Rev James Thorburn on the evening of his arrival on 07 February 1885, at Singapore Harbour. The first Methodist Church was soon planted at Coleman Street, Singapore. By 1891 a Methodist Mission Post was set up in Penang. That bloomed to constitute the Wesley Methodist Church Penang. The MBS and MGS Penang were set up soon after, under the Penang Wesley Methodist Church’s oversight.

Year 1894 welcomed William Stagg, followed by WE Horley who pioneered the Kinta Methodist Mission Post that grew into the Wesley Methodist Church Ipoh. By July 1895, Dr Luke’s description of Jesus’ holistic development in Luke 2:52 unfolded into the setting up of the ACS and ACGS Ipoh. These schools provided formal holistic Education to the boys and girls, empowering them, as Jesus did, to “grow in stature, in wisdom, and in favour with God and with humans…”!

Methodists Pioneered Schools played anchor roles to buttress all the Methodist Mission’s sustainable goals. Word-rooted and Prayer-led focus resulted in Local Conferences in English (TRAC), Mandarin (CAC) and Tamil (TAC) Churches being successively constituted fruitfully. Schools’ growths and Churches extensions ran in tandem with each other. Schools Chaplaincy, Christian Education (RK) and Weekly Chapel Periods were mandatory. Girls and Boys Brigades’, and Christian Fellowships, became significant Co-curricular programs in Christian Mission Schools. In fact, until the 1960’s many Methodist Schools were headed by Missionaries.

Methodist Education impacted lives with upward socio-economic progress and mobility. There was a huge demand to enroll into the ACS and ACGS. By 1924, a large pool of youths deserving education necessitated the setting up of the ACCS (Anglo Chinese Continuation School), to cater to the needs of the overaged working youths, and those who failed at the regular schools exams, as well as the vernacular school children who desired an English Medium Education.

The ACCS rapidly grew till WWII interrupted. KESSELRING Block at the peak, housed the largest Girls’ School in Malaya. With a combined total student population of about 1,500 in the 1950’s, ACCS-MAS-MES had the distinction of being the largest Private School in South East Asia. Over time and seasons, and responding to needs and demands, ACCS underwent rebranding with names changed from ACCS to MAS, MES, and finally, MHS in the 1980’s.

WMSI was birthed in January 2009 as a premiere Private School, to run the KSSM Curriculum leading to SPM. This it did until 2017. The IGCSE Cambridge syllabus was then adopted, turning “International” with the School renamed WMSII. The KSSM License remained valid, however and this curriculum was re-started in 2023 with a fresh intake.

Hostel Facilities accommodated Students from beyond Kinta Ipoh, at the peak of the school’s journey. Independent Malaya’s Nationalization of Education unraveled challenges that riled Christian Mission Schools to the core. Systemic oppression and neglect led to rapid deterioration of curriculum quality. Switch in the medium of teaching from English to Bahasa Malaysia in the late 1960’s witnessed a tectonic shift.

The Compulsory 11 years Education from Standard One to Form Five, sweetened by Auto passing till the MCE/SPM exam, devastated the Premier British Education System inherited by Malaysians. Private 2nd Chance Schools precipitously declined from the 1980’s because “now all can pass”. The new Millennium saw Private Mission Schools becoming unsustainable and insolvent.

The Rebranding Exercise of 2009 by MCM-COE, modelled after the star performing WMSKL, was the watershed season and a fresh way forward. Praise God for MCOE’s swift moves towards setting up “a String of Premiere Methodist Schools” offering both the KSSM and IGCSE syllabuses. That vision cast under Bishop Dr Hwa Yung’s tenure lifted Methodist Education to a new platform, to meet the needs and demands of the populace.

WMSI began with a Rediscovery of Methodism’s Spiritual DNA which had mutated and suffered aberrations 2006 to 2008 were years set by COE to phase out and close down MHS Ipoh. Acting Principal Mr Choo Heng Wai’s spiritual alertness and discernment opened eyes to the extent of desecration, devastation and dilapidation of the assets at the MHS.

Divine Grace raised the COE’s awareness of the root causes of insolvency and failure to sustain from within. The urgent tasks at hand then were focused Spiritual Cleansing and Re-Consecration of the Freehold 6 Acres of Blessed MCOE asset, the MHS Ipoh.

Closure Countdown reached was at June 2008 when a renewed sense of history and heritage caused some local individuals to seek a Rebranding and a fresh makeover of the MHS. The scheduled closure in December 2008 was then cast aside. Praise God for the assembly of like-minded Education enthusiasts!

Incessant Prayers and Unceasing and abundant Divine Grace prevailed. Ongoing spiritual cleansing of the grounds and assets continued, with plans to immediately renovate the TRINITY Block at Nehemiah’s pace, to commence WMSI in January 2009.

MCOE was presented with the challenge to remodel MHS Ipoh after the blessed WMSKL at Sentul. Praise God for COE Chairman’s ascent to the setting up of a Task Force led by Dr Ting Cheh Sing, towards a metamorphosis of MHS Ipoh into WMS Ipoh. The Principal and Admin Team of WMSKL were consulted, leading to a pivotal COE sanctioned meeting on the afternoon 15th November 2008 at the MYC in Ipoh. The local Ipoh Task Force met with Mrs Moothy and Ms Goh Kai Lian of WMSKL, and COE Rep Ms Tay Choon Neo. The essence we distilled was that WMSI should (1) reclaim the spiritual grounds of MHS, and be re-Consecrated (2) conduct Entrance Assessment Tests (EAT) on core subjects to select students, and (3) be strict on discipline for the Teaching staff and Students, and never to be unfaithful again.

Praise God for a generous donor who sponsored Trinity Block’s renovations and refurbishments, all accomplished within 6 weeks. Fund raising was held in July 2009 to complete the renovations of all the 4 Blocks, naming them TRINITY, SHEKINAH, EMMANUEL, and retaining the name of Kesselring Block. This total makeover enabled the setting up of the Primary WMSI in January 2010, the first in the WMS stable of rebranded chain of Private Schools.

The Task Force Meeting of 15th November 2008 concluded in Intercession with a pivotal decision to be praying EVERY Morning from 6.30 to 7.30 am, initially held at the MYC from Monday 17th November 2008, and subsequently to continue in the renovated TRINITY Block at the “WMSI” by December 2008.

Practical Makeovers were emplaced to overcome the encroached and trespassed grounds by squatters and animals (cows, goats, poultry). Improved security, sanitation and safety of the assets and people, and mitigation of the annual monsoon rain flooding of the grounds, were the key focuses.

Along the Nehemiah biblical model, the TRINITY Block housing the Admin offices, Classrooms and a mini Hall (3-classroom space) with renovated and upgraded facilities (Toilets, Canteen, Bookroom, Car Park, Assembly quadrangle, etc) were spruced up within 6 weeks.

Monday 5th January 2009 witnessed WMS Ipoh welcoming the Pioneer batch of 16 students (placed in Forms 1 and 2). Hallelujah and praise God. We widely promoted the rebranded WMSI to local churches and Ipoh Pastors’ Fellowship, for the Christian Community to share in this new blessing. Free Tuition was offered to the Clergy’s children. Daily 6.30 to 7.30 am prayers continued in the School Chapel.

WMSI moved rapidly to establish her spiritual blueprint. The COE unanimously blessed the Task Force to adopt mandatory weekly Chapel Service, BB and GB, and BK as an SPM Exam subject. These were core parts of the Curriculum. A Board of Management chaired by Dato Chin Lean Keat succeeded the Task Force, until 2011 when the Local WMSI BOM was dissolved and subsumed under the MCOE HQ’ Centralized BOM. A local Schools Christian Support Committee (SCSC) assumed the local BOM’s roles to support the daily needs of the School Community, staff and students.

The Wesley Methodist Schools’ Motto, “Above and Beyond” (Phil 3: 12-14) and a School Song were adopted nationwide, having originated from the WMSI under active inspiration and guidance of TRAC President Rev Dr Ong Hwai Teik. At WMSI, prayers and Word were taken seriously as the school recognized God’s Faithfulness and Favours. Continued steady growth and expansion plans were soaked in prayers, as WMSI envisioned an upgrading of the Institution, and the building of a new Chapel, to replace the old termite-damaged wooden Chapel that once housed the Cantonese Methodist Church, Ipoh.

Missionary Principal Ms Goh Kai Lian’s untimely demise in 2016 left a dent in WMSII’s progress and development. God’s Grace abounded, calling Datin Clareen Choo into Service, as she helmed WMSII as CEO in the interim (guided by the Goh sisters and friends) until a new Principal in the person of Mr Choong Wai Seng was groomed to helm the School.

Project Canaan conceived in 2015, steadily progressed as the new quadrennium saw the Central BOM assuming ownership, funding and management of the Project under the new COE Chairman, Bishop Dr Jeyakumar, and Central BOM.


Building the Future: Project Canaan’s State-of-the-Art Facilities Take Shape (2021-2024)

WMSII is blessed with great potential ahead, as we thankfully and joyously celebrate the Centennial-cum-Dedication of Project Canaan on 21st July 2024. We look ABOVE and BEYOND, to Him Who had begun this great work, and Who shall bring it to a glorious conclusion, in His Time. Romans 8:28 holds that magnificent Promise for all stakeholders !

Unto Him, be all honour, glory and majesty!

Written by Dr. Ting Cheh Sing
School Christian Support Committee – Prayer Team
(Former School Board Member, 2009)

 


Step Back in Time: Our School in the 50s


Throwback to Great Times with Our Amazing Teacher


Timeless Traditions: Methodist High School’s Glory Days