74-year-old re­calls four class­room era

Fiji Sun - - Weather / Tv, Movie Guide - FILIPE NAIGULEVU Edited by Ru­si­ate Mataika Feed­back: filipe.naigulevu@fi­jisun.com.fj

The Yat Sen Schools 80/30 an­niver­sary week long cel­e­bra­tions brought back many mem­o­ries for Gre­gory Yee, who is one of the most se­nior for­mer stu­dents.

The 74-year-old was part of the Yat Sen School 80/30 an­niver­sary gala night on Satur­day mark­ing the end of their cel­e­bra­tions. Mr Yee re­called his years as a stu­dent of the then Fiji Chi­nese Pri­mary School in the 1940s which is now Yat Sen Pri­mary School.

“It goes back a long time ago. I started down at Gor­don Street. “At that time it was only a wooden build­ing where we used to play mar­bles un­derneath the house,” he said. “The school moved to Flagstaff in 1952. “So that time, it was only about four class­rooms with over 8o stu­dents and it was very small school.” Mr Yee said dur­ing his time when the school in Flagstaff was still de­vel­op­ing, there used to be a lot of bushes around the school­yard. “We used to come and weed and pick the sen­si­tive grass our­selves not like what the stu­dents nowa­days do. There were no gar­den­ers in those days,” he said. Mr Yee, who is now a suc­cess­ful busi­ness­man, did fur­ther stud­ies in Aus­tralia af­ter com­plet­ing pri­mary ed­u­ca­tion at Yat Sen. He said the school had taught him a lot about the Chi­nese cul­ture and its val­ues. “We grew up with cul­ture as this school is a Chi­nese based school,” he said. “We learned a lot about the Chi­nese cul­ture that ex­isted in the early days.

“We still trea­sure that to­day that’s why the school still teaches Chi­nese lan­guage. “Over the years, the school has grown so much com­pared to my days.” Mr Yee later be­came the Chi­nese Ed­u­ca­tion So­ci­ety (CES) in Fiji board chair­man for over 11 years.

He was also in­stru­men­tal in ini­ti­at­ing the an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tions for the school to com­mem­o­rate its achieve­ments over the years. “The Yat Sen cel­e­bra­tion of course is very im­por­tant.

“We first started the cel­e­bra­tions 10 years ago which at that time was called the 70/20 cel­e­bra­tions,” he said.

“Yat Sen didn’t have a cel­e­bra­tion for a long time so I thought we have a 70/20 cel­e­bra­tion.” Mr Yee now con­tin­ues to sup­port the school through the CES board.

Eva Yee.

Gre­gory Yee.

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