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Trooping Beyond the Classroom on a Mission to Serve

Hougang Secondary inculcates a life of volunteerism with the aim to mould students to become youth leaders, willing to put others' needs ahead and serve the community shores.

Winner of President's Award for Volunteerism and/or Philanthropy (Educational Institute Winner): Hougang Secondary School

Every student at Hougang Secondary embarks on a learning journey that enables them to develop not just academically but also holistically through out their school life. While most other schools introduce volunteer work through ad hoc projects, at Hougang Secondary, it's a way of school life, a life of volunteerism that is inculcated from the very beginning with the aim to mould students to become youth leaders, willing to put others' needs ahead and serve the community shores.

The school has a special name for its student volunteers - 2:168 Mission Troopers. The meaning behind the name is the 2 hour commitment out of a week of 168 hour, to serve the needs of the community. 

This Values in Action (VIA) programme encompasses four domains of service: children, the elderly/sick, community outreach and the environment and is defined across academic levels: Sec 1 students focused on serving the self, family and school; Sec 2 students, the community; Sec 3 students, the world and Sec 4/5 students, the global society. In total, the school partnered with 27 community groups, comprising VWOs,primary schools, student care centres and special needs associations, as well as did performances at libraries and hospitals and participated in 18 green projects.

In 2014, the students created a 2:168 Mission Troopers page to highlight and share their experiences in volunteering. "The encouraging stories are selected and shared at staff meetings, school assemblies and in posts uploaded onto websites/Facebook. All these serve to inspire other youths of the value and meaning of service," says Hougang Secondary.

The bigger picture, says Hougang Secondary, is ultimately to "nurture students to be 2:168 Mission Troopers for life". "When the seeds of compassion are sown in their youth, these seeds will germinate, take root and bear fruits in years to come," adds the school. And future generations of students are already carrying the torch of volunteerism by continuing to give back, outside of the programme and even into adulthood.


Moving ahead

Statistics show that by the year 2030, one in four Singaporeans will be aged 65 and above. With that in mind, the school launched 3G Volunteerism last year, in the view to move beyond a two-generational model involving students and staff to a three-generational one that includes seniors in the community. The aim is to adapt to Singapore's needs as the ageing population expands.