COME on April 12 next year, alumni of St Xavier’s Institution (SXI) will be able to learn more about the history of their school with the opening of the SXI Heritage Center in Penang.
The chairman of its board, Victor Tan, said the centre’s opening date would coincide with the arrival of the three De La Salle brothers in Penang, who left Singapore on a boat named La Julie in 1852.
“The center, which came to fruition after many years of planning, was set up at a cost of RM500,000.
“The money came from fundraising efforts and donations from old boys.
“The latest donation of 120,000 RM came from the Association of Former Xaverians of Penang (OXA).
“Its president Datuk Khoo Khay Seang presented a check to Headmaster Brother Jason Blaikie,” Tan said after a simple handover ceremony at the Farquhar Street school.
Tan has received many pledges for the center, but the school is still looking for additional donations for his upkeep.
Those who want to help can call him at 019-480 6556.
Brother Blaikie later presented a medallion bearing the number 24 – which represents the year 1924 when OXA was founded – to Khoo.
SXI Heritage Center board chairman Ooi Gim Ewe, school principal Goh Hong Peng and members of the OXA committee were also present at the ceremony.
Ooi has big plans for the center, which will have restored school objects such as chalices, desks, tables, statues, a piano, an organ and many more dating back to 1852.
“The daily annals of the Brothers from 1852 to 1887 will also be exhibited, which relate the events of the school.
“Visitors will be able to learn about the events that took place at the school all these years ago.
“A marble slab recovered from the bombed out SXI building after WWII, bearing the names of donors in hand-hammered lead letters in the Victorian era, will also be placed in the center.
“Another highlight is the list of 35,000 names of Xaverians, which we have compiled from graduation certificates since 1887. It will be updated every five years,” he said.
Ooi said the plan was to open the heritage center to visitors on weekends.
However, during the annual George Town Festival (GTF), it will be open daily with guided tours by students.
“Entrance will be free because we want the public to know more about the historic school, which is also the oldest Lasallian school in Southeast Asia.
“We will also have a Hall of Fame for 300 distinguished Xaverians of all years.
“They include royalty, prominent businessmen, politicians and even a Nobel Prize nominee,” he said.
To this day, SXI maintains its association as part of the network of Lasallian schools across Asia.
Lasallian schools in South East Asia include St John’s Institution in Kuala Lumpur, St Michael’s Institution in Ipoh, St Francis Melaka Institution, St George’s Institution in Taiping, and St Joseph’s Institution in Singapore.