ESF Clearwater Bay turns 25

Happy Birthday ESF Clearwater Bay School!

Principal Chris Hamilton gives Adele Brunner a history lesson.
Clearwater Bay School opening Sept 1992
Clearwater Bay School opening Sept 1992

birthday is always a good excuse for a party and a significant milestone means even more cause for a celebration. This year (2017), as the ESF marks its 50-year anniversary, the ESF Clearwater Bay School is dusting off its party clothes and commemorating its Silver Jubilee, with a special Silver Week from 12-16 June.

What events are planned for the 25th-anniversary? 

Comprising five days of celebrations and activities, the highlight will be an open afternoon on Wednesday 14 June to mark the day that Lady Wilson opened the school back in 1992. As well as the current school community, ex-students, staff and families will be invited back to join in the fun. The event will include school tours conducted by members of Years 5 and 6, a photographic timeline of the school’s history, student displays and an afternoon tea for visitors.

Lady Wilson opening the ESF Clearwater Bay School in 1992
Lady Wilson opening the ESF Clearwater Bay School in 1992

“We aren’t staging huge events [for our anniversary] but we wanted to mark the occasion somehow and involve people with ties to the school as well as the wider community,” says incumbent principal Chris Hamilton, who has been at the helm since 2012. “The focus is of course on the children but we also wanted to celebrate the community we are part of.”

What sets the school apart? 

A strong sense of community, he continues, is what makes the school such a great place, a sentiment echoed by teaching staff and parents alike. There are currently 720 students from over 30 countries (at the recent Story Bazaar during Book Week, stories in 28 different languages were read), which makes for a wonderfully diverse cultural mix that promotes racial acceptance.

CWBS actually started life 41 years ago as Boundary Junior School, situated on Rose Street in Kowloon. The school was originally planned to meet the expected demand from people involved in the construction of the MTR.

Sports day at Boundary Junior School
Sports day at Boundary Junior School

There was a demand – but it came from Hong Kong Island. The Rose Street campus was meant to be a temporary site while the government was looking for more permanent premises to house the school – but it took 16 years to find somewhere suitable that ticked all the boxes. A new wing was subsequently added as the school increased from three to four classes per year group and, more recently, many of the classes, multi-purpose rooms and the football roof were given a much-needed makeover. The school is now gearing up to renovate its assembly hall, which some might say is the icing on the 25th birthday cake.

What else is planned?

In addition to the celebrations, school librarian Angela Barwell is compiling a coffee table book, featuring school photos, anecdotes and memories from Boundary Junior and CWBS. 

“One of our teachers Kay Baddeley and our PTA Administrator Kate Baldwin were both Boundary Junior alumni and another teacher Emma Watkins was a former CWBS student. Other teachers have been here since CWBS’ early years so we have an oral history that we are keen to record before they retire or move away,” says Hamilton.

“All in all, this is a really special year for us and I’m proud to be part of it.”

If you are an ex-student, staff member, parent or community member and wish to attend CWBS’ 25th-anniversary celebration from 1.30pm-5.30pmon Wednesday 14 June, please RSVP martina.chiu@cwbs.edu.hk. If you have any photos or memories that you wish to include in the commemorative book, please contact angela.barwell@cwbs.edu.hk

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