“JCO! J.C.O. HOOSE!” Passed down from year to year, the JCO cheer once again marked the start of Junior College Orientation, where fresh faces, or ‘freshies’, fill up the half-empty canteen once more. As we move into the year where the number 20 appears twice, JCO 2020, too, was about to see a wave of change.
It was the evening before JCO when the bomb dropped.
(Image Courtesy of Straits Times: Caption highlights that all mass gatherings in schools would be cancelled from the 5th of February onwards.)
Upon receiving the alert, much of the months of planning and preparation — which had been in the works since November of 2019 — was immediately scrapped. JCO had always been about mass assemblies: from raving in the hall to dancing around the Fountain of Wealth to running wildly in the field for mass games, it had always been about being together as a whole cohort. However, with the increasing severity of COVID-19, this was made impossible.
Yet, as the saying goes, “When the going gets tough, Victorians get going.” The JCO team, consisting of the JCO Adhoc, Orientation Group Leaders (OGLs), teachers-in-charge and the school administration, had no time to fret. They continued making calls to their new J1s and spent the night planning for the next day, for they were determined to make JCO 2020 work.
The next day marked the start of JCO. Clad in their respective secondary school uniforms, the freshies reported to their respective OG Headquarters all around the school. Despite the changes in plans and location, the day started off the same as every year — with icebreakers! After rounds of introductions and games, some of the awkwardness of being in a new environment and meeting new people had melted away as they started to get to know more about their OG-mates.
Over the next two days, the freshies went on to play station games and learnt more about what LiVE-ing like a Victorian meant. Be it the iconic mass dances like ‘The Nights’, picking up the various catchy OG cheers, or singing the Victorian Anthem and cheering to ‘Yo VJC!’, these are priceless experiences for every student as they settle into the Victorian identity. Before the singing of the Victorian Anthem as an OG, Ram, the President of the 36th Students’ Council, talked to the freshman about the significance behind our anthem. He specifically highlighted the line: ‘Victoria is something more’, as despite the fact that JCO had to be scaled down a lot due to the situation of COVID-19, together, Victorians will always be able to overcome any obstacle thrown our way.
Although the three days of being with their OG felt short-lived, the freshies bonded with one another rather quickly. By the end of the last day dedicated to OG, long-lasting friendships among their OG-mates have been immortalised in countless photographs.
Xacuria 6 going for lunch after the third day.
In a blink of an eye, JCO was about to come to an end, and many OGLs and freshies were hoping to end off the last day on a good note. The day started off with a class picnic, and the classes bonded over breakfast and games. They were also introduced to the House system in VJC, as house captains went to all the classes and shared more about the respective houses. Soon the different classes were rallying together as they did their house cheers. Although the classes stayed in their classrooms as a precautionary measure, this did not stop them from having mini inter-class cheering competitions facilitated by the CGLs. The sight of classes shouting their respective cheers in unison was indeed heartwarming, yet tinged with a bit of sadness as the sunset hours of JCO were quickly approaching. Nonetheless, all good things must come to an end, and after a final screening of the JCO videos, the J1s took their first steps as fully inaugurated Victorians.
Overall, JCO was undoubtedly a fun and memorable experience for all. The J1s were able to bond with the Orientation groups and classes through a multitude of games, and many forged strong friendships along the way. Although the COVID-19 situation caused some activities to be scaled down, the Ad-Hoc planning committee and OGLs rose to the occasion and adapted very quickly. One month later, we now know that this would be the first of many events that would be affected due to the COVID-19 outbreak — and the school’s tenacity and determination in pushing on through set the tone for our response to the events to come. We here at the Victorian Press hope that Victorians continue to embody this resilience as time goes on.
Viva la Victoria!
Pang Jing Xuan, 19S42
Lee Young Kai, 19S38