Choong (seated, third left) with (from second right) Chan-Low and Prof Chan and school principal Datin Cheam Swee Har (second left) and parent-teacher association president Valerie Lay Wai Teng (left) and the scholarship recipients (back row).
TURNING 100 last October, Constance Choong continues to be an inspiration to all who meet her.
She is hale and hearty, and greets everyone she meets with a warm smile. She engages them in conversation as if she has known them all her life.
Choong lent her name to a RM500,000 scholarship fund initiated by the HELP Education Group to enable needy students to study at the university.
The Constance Choong Yoke Ying Scholarship Award is open to SPM school-leavers of SMK Perempuan Pudu in Kuala Lumpur. The school was previously known as the Pudu English Girls School. The scholarship covers their studies from foundation, diploma to a bachelor’s degree in a programme of their choice at HELP.A meeting with Choong inspired HELP Education Group CEO Datin Chan-Low Kam Yoke to create the scholarship fund in the former’s name to celebrate Choong’s devotion to the school.
“Talking to her is a positive experience and a celebration of friendship. She displays such positive energy.” said Chan-Low who is also an alumna of the Pudu English Girls School.
Choong said she was happy to be part of the scholarship presentation ceremony.
“Thank you (HELP University vice-chancellor and president Prof Datuk) Dr Paul Chan and Datin Chan-Low for your generosity in offering financial support to deserving students.
“I hope that the students in turn will follow your good example when they become adults,” she said.
The scholarship was presented to five recipients at a ceremony held at the school. They are Cheong Mei Hui, Hana Balladares Ku, Kheng Soh Geik, Low Yi Teng and Natalie Lim Sze Kay.
Reminiscing about her early years at the Pudu English Girls School, Choong’s memory is sharp and clear, undimmed by the years.
“I joined the school in 1926 when I was seven and studied up to senior Cambridge. I am very grateful to my headmistress Miss Josephine Foss for her help in paying my school and exam fees,” she said.
Choong excelled in her mastery of the English language.
“Our English teacher would reward us with a sweet or chocolate if we could spell the words correctly. I always got a sweet or chocolate from her.
“After working as the school clerk for one year, Miss Foss recommended that I work as a registered English teacher at the Yuk Sam Chinese School in Bukit Bintang Road.
“Of all the teachers I can still remember, Miss Foss stands out. She went all out to raise funds for the development of the school. She was a very capable lady with a humble and kind personality,” she said.
Choong’s gratitude and devotion to the school never wavered; it continues to find expression to this day.
“Two of my sisters who are now in their 80s and 90s also attended the school. So did my two daughters and two granddaughters.
“I am very happy that Pudu English Girls School, although small and humble in the beginning with only 60 to 80 students in my day, has grown and produced so many fine citizens,” she added.
At the end of the scholarship ceremony, the 300 students, staff and parent-teacher association members rose to their feet to see Choong off.
It is obvious that she has left an indelible mark on those who met her.
Read more at https://www.thestar.com.my/news/education/2019/06/16/fund-set-up-in-former-students-name/#lZcFg3l5z0ecZtYh.99