Saturday, 16 July 2016

Once-In-A-Lifetime Primary One Balloting Exercise

I kay pohed at Primary One Balloting Exercise for Phase 2A2 today.

10 places have been taken up by those living within 1km (five of them) and between 1 to 2km (five of them). This balloting exercise is for: 
1) alumni who did not join the alumni association by paying the joining fee and live outside 2km of the school;
2) staff of the school who live outside 2km of the school.

I have never witnessed a balloting exercise. Curious about it, I requested to come in and help out. By 'helping out', it means harassing the parents to join the parent volunteer group after the balloting exercise.

I arrived bright and early at 8am. However, the balloting exercise only commenced at 9am. The principal appealed to the parents to wait for another five to ten minutes before she made a brief speech about how the balloting exercise would be conducted. 

I was impressed by the principal's kind gesture of looking through other schools' vacancies earlier in the day and informing parents of their other possible choices should they be unlucky in the balloting exercise, and she read off her printouts the number of vacancies in various good schools eg. Raffles Girls' Primary, Pei Hwa Presbyterian Primary, Methodist Girls' Primary, Bukit Timah Primary, left on top of the 40 seats reserved for Phases B and C. And most of them were good schools!

By doing what she did, it shows that the principal is highly considerate of the feelings of potentially disappointed parents. It helped to cushion the disappointment that was to come. Perhaps this was a key reason none of the parents cried in disappointment after the balloting.

After about five to ten minutes of the speech, the balloting exercise commenced. A numbered name list of the children was shown on the screen. Each ball had a number on it, representing the children's names. Each time, before a ball was tossed into the metal rotating device, the vice principal held it up in view of every parent and called out the corresponding child's name to show that every ball (and number) was accounted for.

After all the balls were placed in the rotating device, the chairwoman of the alumni association started turning the device. 

When a ball rolled out, the principal held it up and called out the number, and the vice principal called out the name corresponding to the number. Some teachers of the school were also there and the first ball that rolled out belonged to one of the staff. A few female teachers could not suppress their joy and let out repressed squeals of delight. Subsequently, most parents whose ping pong balls were drawn were visibly over the moon with a few among them giving out audible 'yay!'

By 9.30am, the balloting exercise was over.

A couple of parents came with their children. While a boy got in and kissed the father on the lips to celebrate the good news, a girl who came with her mother did not have the same luck.

Nobody shed tears over the disappointment but as a bystander, I believe the alumni who did not have their balls drawn must have regretted not joining the alumni association and paying the fee.

When I picked Baby up after school, I told her about the little girl who did not get in the school.

Me: I feel bad (for her) that she didn't get in.

Baby: (looks at me in my eyes) It's not your fault!

For some reason, I still hope that whichever school the 10 or 11 children go to, they will make it back to their parent's school eventually.

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