Bona Moving Stories
What does our school motto ‘ubi Humilitas, lbi Sapientia' stand for?
‘Humilitas' contains the meaning of humility and honesty of which both are virtues of a person. ‘Sapientia' means wisdom and the ability to make judgements.
Since our school's establishment over 4 decades, we have taught our students the attitude and spirit of St. Bonaventure and his love and respect towards God and his subjects; allowed students to distinguish right from wrong; and have our students gained wisdom through practice.
The government's push towards integrated education has placed students with or without special education needs together in regular classrooms. They include students who experience and suffer from various disorders including but not limited to emotional disorder or attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder. These students are as intelligent as regular students, except for their uncontrollable behaviours that often led to their defiance against teachers' authority and classroom disruptions. They are consistently found moving about or doing things unrelated to what is expected by the teachers. Even though students with special education needs may be difficult to deal with, they are a positive challenge for teachers and providing the teachers valuable experience as well.
The following stories demonstrate ‘humility and wisdom' between teachers and students through their interactions. All names shall remain fictitious to maintain integrity of our school and the privacy and protection of the students in the following cases.
From grade retention to promotion
Kenny will soon become a secondary school student and an alumnus of our school. From his first year here in SBCPS as a P.1 student, all subject teachers were astonished by his misbehaviours, such as teasing or exercising violence against his peers, making noises, and refusing to cooperate. Teachers had to stop him from his misconducts several times per lesson. Academically speaking, he was lagging behind since he could not pay attention and failed to submit his homework frequently. Our school had decided to retain his grade in order to avoid adverse effects on his academic performance.
Yet, once again, he began disrupting the operation of regular classrooms with his new found associates. As such, teachers from the discipline group began finding and studying for a possible solution. Despite Kenny's disruptive behaviours, he was not always criticised. Kenny did extremely well in Mathematics and was praised by teachers for his cleverness and ability. Our principal and discipline group had decided to take measures that were never taken before. On the one hand, we had a social worker contact and explain to Kenny's parents about his conditions and persuade them to seek professional analyse from a psychiatrist. On the other hand, our principal also made a mutual promise to allow Kenny to move on from P.2 to P.3 during term 2 if he manages to attain reasonable scores on all subjects.
The 2 measures were a success. Kenny was diagnosed as suffering from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. He was treated with medication and quickly became stabilised as well as being focused in classrooms and on his studies. Principal's promise further encouraged Kenny to fulfil his side of the bargain.
Kenny's promotion to P.3 in the second term did not adversely affect against him academically. He was able to catch up with other students. Although he was still unruly at times, never were there more severe occurrences. During his P.4 year, he even spent his hard saved allowance to buy cookies for our Principal before Christmas. Although he said nothing in particular, his action indicated his gratitude to our Principal and our school's love and care.
To Kenny, teacher's lenient attitude of his past and their focus on his virtues stimulated his drive to pursue the right path, further enhancing his ability to determine right from wrong. Academically speaking, Kenny remained in a reasonable to low standard. However, behaviour wise, teachers would now praise him by adding "He is a lot better than before!"
Autistic Child found his Talent
Bart is one of our school's autistic children whose parents spotted his symptoms early and sought assistance to help their own son. Children suffering from autism have various symptoms and comorbidities, such as stubborn behaviours and attitudes. People often mistake them for being strange and cannot be reasoned. As such, Bart went through discrimination of varying degrees from his classmates and teachers from his previous school. His parents believed that it would be a torment for both parties if their son continued to stay; thus, for their search for a tolerant and compassionate school. Bart and his family finally found our school in his P. 4 year.
Bart's transfer was somewhat successful. He is of average intelligence with strength in Mathematics. The only problem that Bart encountered in our school was the way he and his classmates interacted with one another as a result of his self-centred behaviours. It was also difficult for him to blend to his peer groups. Unlike most children of his age, he was not outgoing and physically active.
What could teachers do at this point? Abandon hope? Leave him be? Our school fully understood that what Bart needs. To resolve the issue and misunderstandings between him and his peers, our school must find ways for Bart to communicate and express himself.
Incidentally, our school found that Bart loves to read Garfield comic books. Moreover, he also loves creating original stories about it. Some of our students in the school even praised him for his work and referred him to our principal. She read through his work and saw talents in him. She thought of something for Bart, it was to upload all his work on the school website for public viewing. To Bart, this miniscule decision from our school and Principal has made all the difference. He felt a sense of belongings to this St. Bonaventure community. He also felt respected since everyone would know about his work. From then on, Bart's relationship with his peers began to improve. He became more involved and had immersed himself in school activities. This shows that small acts from school have great significance on children.
Siu Man is a very caring and helpful girl who is willing to help in whatever ways she could, especially to her younger schoolmates. Unfortunately, as a result of her poor academic scores, Siu Man developed an inferior complex because she was often teased and looked down upon by her peers. Yet, school teachers consistently encouraged her, telling her that God watches over those who have morals, not ones who do great in their academics. He has a plan for everyone and when the time comes, a person shall heed to his calling.
One early morning, Siu Man was on her way back to school. She came across a leather wallet on the floor of a shopping mall. She picked it up and checked it. There were identification cards, credit cards, and several hundred dollar bills. Siu Man waited for half an hour hoping the owner would reclaim his/her wallet. However, it was almost time for school, so Siu Man decided to bring the wallet back. She gave it to the General Office, telling the staff what had happened and went to class.
The clerk in the general office found the owner's contact information and notified him to pick up his wallet. He was overjoyed to know that his wallet had been found as it saved him much time and money from replacing all the lost IDs and cards. He quickly came to our school to reclaim his wallet. He wanted to thank Siu Man for her virtuous act. Alas, she was in class.
Two days after, the man came back again with a thank you letter and a box of chocolate to thank Siu Man. She was pleased to have received the gifts and felt that she was respected. What she did also allowed her to discover her individual value and confidence. Knowing the happiness that helping people could bring, Siu Man became ever more eager to help and share her experience with others, making herself a great exemplar.