Assunta’s history has been marked by many trials, disappointments and triumphs. Through it all, however, Assunta’s students and staff have rallied to keep the standard flying high.
ASSUNTA , HerStory
It is not Assunta’s size, appearance or buildings that make her the school she is, but rather, the students and teachers who walk her corridors, marched in the fields, studied in the classes and sung the school song.
‘Assunta’ is of Italian origin. Its English equivalent is ‘Assumption’, a word associated with the Virgin Mary’s Assumption into Heaven.
Assunta Secondary School was established in 1957, a year when Malaya was still in the midst of turmoil following the communists’ struggle for political power. Racial tensions were still high and curfews had been imposed. Most girls then did not go to school; this prompted the British as well as the local leaders to establish an all-girls’ school to help promote education and improve relationships between the races. This school was Assunta.
Assunta Secondary School began with two form 1 classes and one Remove class. The Remove class was, in fact, the basis for Chinese-educated primary school girls to enter Catholic High School. Just as the tiny acorn can grow into a mighty oak, Assunta too had the potential for greatness.
With Sister Enda Ryan at its helm, the number of students began to grow. Between 1959 and 1960, the number of classes soared to eleven. To make room for the new secondary classes, six of the Primary School classes had to be placed at Jalan Templer, and Domestic Science classes were held at Assunta Hospital.
During the course of 1960, the first phase of the Jalan Changgai School (Assunta’s present premises) was built. In the same year, Assunta presented her first batch of students for the Lower Certificate of Educaiton exam L.C.E (later Sijil Rendah Pelajaran S.R.P., now Penilaian Menengah Rendah P.M.R).
A year later, three Form 1 classes and 2 Remove classes were admitted. These new classes were conducted at the Assunta Primary School, whereas the more senior students were moved to the new premises at Jalan Changgai.
In the beginning of 1962, phase two of the school building was complete. The number of classes now totaled twenty, and the first batch of Assuntarians sat for the Senior Cambridge Examination S.C.E (now Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia S.P.M.).
By 1963, there was a total of 900 students, 34 full-time teachers, one part-time Bahasa Malaysia teacher and 1 religious teacher. At the end of February the same year, Assunta joined the ranks of the Grade A schools. It was also in this year that Jalan Talent was built. With the constantly- increasing number of students, the need for a school hall became apparent.
After five long years of endless fundraising,the dream was realized in 1969 when the new school hall which cost approximately RM100,000 was complete. Gradually, improvements were made to the school over the years. The covered way that connects the school building to the hall and the canteen, the wooden bridge, school office, headmistress’ office, conference room, two laboratories and library was built.
By 1982, the school had 20 classes, two cooking rooms, a dentist’s office and 87 permanent teachers. In the 1980s, the students numbered 2000, and the lack of classrooms led to ‘floating classrooms’. This in turn sparked off a series of intensive fundraising, and by early 1988, a four-storey high building was erected where the basketball court once was. It was named the Mutiara Block in conjunction with Assunta’s Pearl Anniversary. The Form 4s and Lower 6 classes finally had permanent classes and floating classes have since then become a thing of the past.
1989 proved to be a bitter-sweet year indeed for Assunta. On the 30th of May 1989, the school hall was christened ‘Sister Enda Hall’. The next day, 31st May, Sister Enda retired as Headmistress after being at the helm for over 30 years.
In 1994, the Mutiara Block’s basement was converted into an extra four classrooms and a surau built for religious purposes. Over the years, the teachers and students alike have done extremely well despite the limited resources available and has established itself as one of the top premier schools in the Petaling Jaya district.
However, the ever-increasing population has led to the need for computer labs, a modern library and a bigger canteen.
In 2000, the school authorities together with Assunta Alumni launched a School Building Fund to help solicit funds for the proposed new wing, which will house these new facilities.