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In 1863, William Crossland, a missionary from the church of St Paul's Banting who was doing evangelistic work up the Batang Lupar, in Undop, started a class of fifteen students in 1863. The lessons were very informal and his priest's house was used as a classroom and the teaching was done by priest himself.

This marked the humble beginning of St Luke school at the present site of SRB St. Lawrence, Sabu. However, the class broke up when Crossland left Borneo in 1867 due to poor healthy. A young Eurasian missionary from Labuan, William Howell, continued the missionary activities in Sabu and in 1878 reopened the former St. Luke school. Students were mostly made up from the Chinese Community. Some of them were as follows:

1.    Chin Siong Chin - aged 9 years old

2.    Chin Ah Chong - aged 18 years old, registered on July 1883

3.    Jui Myi Jong - aged 11 years old

4.    Jin Jui Chua - aged 11 years old, registered on April 6. 1884

5.    Low He Chung - aged 9 years old, registered on September 6, 1884

6.    Low Ah Nyok - aged 10 years old, registered on January 30, 1885

7.    Ah Nen - registered on January 15 1891

   There was also male Iban students who came from faraway longhouses such as :

1.    Tajak - registered on November 26, 1884

2.    Sabok and Bunda - registered on February 9, 1885. Bunda was just 9 years old at the time

3.    Gala - aged 10, registered on March 9, 1885

4.    Panji - aged 13, from Klasen, registered on March 15, 1889

5.    Bentari and Lagan from Ulu Undop - registered on July 22, 1890

6.    Gending ak Nyuin from Baan - registered on September 22, 1890

7.    Ingok and Janub from Sungai Reboh - registered on January 15, 1891

8.    Saing - aged 20, registered on July 26, 1891

9.    2 boys from Roban, registered on March 21, 1894.

   However, the response of surrounding longhouse was not very encouraging. So was the response of the female community. the first group of female students enrolled on November 4, 1889. They were Sunta from Rumah Mawie and Sandok. Others student composed of the children or relatives of the mission staff. The staff consisted of priests, catechists, coolies, cooks, teachers, carpenters and clerks.

   One of such students was the daughter of the catechist cum teacherJubin named Dara. She joined the classin 1919, at the age of six. At one time there were's student in her batch, and one of them was Tawi ak Sli who became a Chief Minister of Sarawak.

    Holidays were up to the priest in charge to declare but the students were usually given a few days off during the Chinese New Year celebrations as well as at Easter and Christmas. Students came and went. Dropouts were common. Saing only joined the school for a year. Absenteeism was not unusual, and students were also dismissied for ill conduct. There were also cases whereby students were punished for cockfoghting.

Extra curricular activities were already a part of school life since the early days. Sports and outings were organized. On march 12,1889, the boys went for Tuba Fishing at Nanga Skrang for a night. Mr. Ah Fook the teacher in-charge, accompanied the students to celebrate the New Year at Banting on December 27, 1888. The boys also participated in the sports meet held at Simanggang on January, 1910.

   Lessons were still very informal. Very often students of different levels were confined in one classroom under one teacher. School syllabi were neither clearly designed nor defined. Education materials and facilities were limited in those days. English, Bible, General Knowledge and Spelling were dominant subject. School test were usually conducted towards the end of the year and prizes were sometimes given.

   Study hours were not strictly followed. When need arose, students were dispersed from their classess. Bigger students were asked to help the staff by doing some cleaning up, cutting grass, buying groceries, fetching water from the Sbu river and firewood from the jungle surrounding the school compound. They even accompanied the mission staff travelling outstation as far as Skrang and Banting on religious duties.

   Amenities were rare. Bathing was done in The Sabu River. Drinking water was either from the river or from rainwater collected. Frequent water problems forced the school to break up earlier and the holidays prolonged. Outbreaks of diseases occured so much so, that one of the school student named Along died of dysentary on July 19, 1903. Some disturbances caused by ghost tales occasionally occured.

   Accidents too, did happen, such as fatal shooting accident on August 10, 1924 whereby a student, Soon Siang died on the spot whilst another, Phillip were seriously injured. He would later succumb to his injuries. The mobility rare among staff was high. Division of duties was not very clearcut. Sometimes one person did two or  three jobs at one time. Priests and catechists were teachers and teachers were doing some church duties. Some exemplary students were requested to work fulltime as church staff. Visiting staff was many too. Ah Fook arrived from Kuching in April 1884 to take up the post of a teacher but was roped on to do extra church  work. Father Wilfred Kinlon came to help too from 1919 to 1920. Ex-students, Bentari and Tajak also joined the staff.

   Reverend Father Arthur William Stonton arrived at sabu on November 22, 1928 to help Father Howell. After a long struggle and many achievements, Father Howell retired in 1928 and handed over his work to Father Stonton. Father Stonton was the very man responsible for shifting the Sabu School and church to the present day Simanggang. The reason - he wanted to be closer to large area of population. The process of moving the school was staggered, though the plan to erect the school at Simanggang started way back on July 21. 1930. Construction only began on October 25, 1930. The building started of with the kitchen, dining room, reader's house and headmaster's house. The school kitchen and dining room was completed on October 25, 1930. Furniture like desks and chairs were brought down from the old school to the new school on December 20, 1930.

   After 9 months of securing the new site the headquarters was transferred to Simanggang. And thus, the new school was called St. Luke's school Simanggang. Its principal was Fr Stonton and the schoolmaster was Mr. Bentari. The first school day in the new school was on January 26, 1931. The students set for the first examination in the new school on August 9, 1931 under the invigilation of Mr. Hudson. The student were of various races. Twenty of them were from Banting and they studied in one classroom. It was only on may 5, 1932 that the school was divided into classrooms. A telephone was installed for the very first time in the rectory on October 13, 1932. Mr. John Hugh came as a full time reader in 1932 and stayed with the rest of the staff in the school compound.

   On October 18, 1936, slides were first shown in the school. A school sport meet was held on October 19, 1936 and it was followed by a dance at night. The school continued to grow as the years went by. A new school dormitory was added and the male boarders moved from the school attic to the new building on march 13, 1938. Electricity supply was installed on May 24, 1939 but students still had to fetch water and take their baths at the Stawang river. In 1941, the Japanese occupation began and St. Luke School was affected. The school had to break up on December 17, 1941. Instead, it was used by the locals to study the Japanese language. The Japanese soldires arrived at Simanggang at 5.30 pm on Friday, january 30, 1942. Father Stonton was captured. He surrended himself in Kuching on February 3, 1942. The war ended on August 15, 1945 and Father Stonton arrived from Kuching on November 19, 1945. St. Luke school was reopened on November 22, 1945. At first, very few of the pre-war staff returned to the school. The number of new students was equally small too. The post war classes started with less than 20 students. They were mainly the children of the mission staff, police and government officers. Very little time was actually used for teaching and learning.

   Instead the students were taken off out of the classroom to help salvage the treasures hidden by Father Stonton before he was captured. In addition, they repaired the damages, cleaned the classes and sorted things back to normal. The school continued to prosper once again. A hostel was built for the female boarders and the school enrolment grew larger. Subjects taught were also wide-ranging - The Old Testament, New Testament, Catechism, Christian Faith and Worship, Arithmetic, Algebra, Geography, History, Hygiene, Drawing, Reading in Dayak and English languages, Dictation and Spelling, Nature Study, Science, Civics and General Knowledge.

   After Stonton retired, Reverend Father Harry Tennant took over as Principal but he lasted only for a half a year. i.e from January to June 1959. Father Basil Temenggong took over for the second half of the year. He was replaced by Mr. Ronald Baker who became the principal from January 1960 until August 1961. The next principal was Mr. Garland who arrived on March 10, 1962. He remained at the school until August 1965 when he left for Europe. Mr Chang Yu Hui took over as Principal of the school until 1967. During his time, an important event took place.

   In 1966, St. Luke school was divided into - St Luke Primary and St. Luke Secondary school when when a two-storey building was built at the current site of the Secondary school. However the division was only on the administrative site whereby the pincipal of the primary school was Julius D. Entering Mr. Chang remained in charge of the secondary  school. Both school still used the same compound as well as buildings with the three secondary classes on the top floor. Primary 4 to 6 occupied the bottom floor while Primary 1 to  3 used the parish Hall. Eventually the primary school moved to the own site beside the Secondary School.

   St. Luke Secondary School continued to excel and in 1994, upper secondary  education was established albeit only in the Arts stream. Students who achieved excellent grades in the PMR examination and wanted to pursue the science had to continue their education at the Simanggang Secondary school.

   In February 1994, the school also installed its first female principal, Pn, Ngian Silang. Pn. Ngian Silang and the staff continued to toil endlessly to improve the school and in 1998, the school was upgraded to a Grade A school. When Pn. Ngian left in July 2000, the school was put under the temporary care of the Senior Assistant, Mr. Engkamat Slapok until the arrival of a new principal.

   In January 2001, Mr. Wong Hiong Foo became the Principal of the school. He carried on the work started by Pn. Ngian. The school continued to improve so the environment became more conducive to learning. The year 2003 saw anothe chapter in the colorful history of St. Luke Secondary School. With the continuous improvements being made to the school, it was able to establish a Science stream at the upper secondary level. There are two classes studying the sciences in the first year of its implementation.

   The school is striving to better itself with its vision of the future and has established a project called Project 2005. The school plans to build another classroom block and and astrodome and is in the midst of collecting funds towards achieving this goal.

 

 


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2004,SMK ST LUKE LAST UPDATED Monday, October 11, 2004