The most popular person in VJC is none other than Mrs Letchme.
Doesn’t ring a bell?
How about if I said our security guard instead?
She is greeted by almost every student and teacher who happen to walk past her and her face is known to all students and staff. That’s right — Mrs Letchme is our very own VJC security guard.
Mrs Letchme is aged 60 and has been working in VJC for 2 years now. Just like how students’ lives in VJC haven’t changed much, her routine hasn’t either. Every day, she starts her duty at 6.30 am and only gets off work twelve hours later at 6.30 pm. Mr Salimi, our other permanent guard, then takes over from 7 pm onwards for the night shift. In between their shifts, there will always be at least one other relief guard on duty, and this routine repeats for 6 days.
Thankfully, Mrs Letchme does not need to endure the sweltering heat of the guard house on Sundays or on public holidays. However, if the school happens to hold an event on those days, then Mrs Letchme’s face will be seen gazing out of the guard’s house, ever-ready to screen any and every visitor who steps into VJC.
Screening involves a whole lot of questions: What is the purpose of your visit? How long are you staying? What is your vehicle number? Any vehicle or person coming into VJC is stopped by the guards. They also control the gantry, making sure that the Pizza Hut you ordered does get delivered to you! Contrary to popular belief, the guards are actually quite busy during school hours (this reporter saw quite a number of trucks pass by during the course of the interview). Mrs Letchme and Mr Salimi also act as a guide for those who look like a fish out of water when stepping into VJC. They refer those visitors to the General Office, ensuring that we do not have lost lambs wandering around our school.
Admittedly, the job of a school security guard does not scream “pick me!” when you’re going through a list of potential careers. Nevertheless, Mrs Letchme is happy with her job as the school is within walking distance from her house in Marine Parade. More importantly, she likes her job because she finds every day interesting in its own way. She gets to interact with people from all walks of life: students, teachers, delivery men, truck drivers, athletes and even the occasional school cats! School events and activities are also never-ending (yay), so her job never gets boring. During those rare breaks where there is no traffic, Mrs Letchme busies herself with housekeeping duties or by going to the canteen for lunch. Sometimes, she even starts brainstorming ideas on how to improve the current security system — now THAT’S dedication, all right.
What she really loves about her job, though, is us! She described Victorians as very, very friendly and caring people, especially the boys (girls, time to step up your game?) “Victorians always look at guards as somebody, even though we are not, say, young,” says Mrs Letchme, heartened by the kindness in Victorians. She also noted that many Victorians recognised her outside of school and would even come up to say “Hey Auntie!” She recalls a time once when she had a really sore throat and could not stop coughing. A Victorian boy, who happened to walk past while she was coughing, went and bought her a Chinese herbal honey lemon drink! “I think he is now studying in University. I was very touched as the Victorian bought that drink using his own budget,” recounts Mrs Letchme with a tinge of wistfulness.
It’s always nice to know that we Victorians have positively influenced another person’s life through small actions that we ourselves probably do not even remember. Just as how we hope Mrs Letchme will always continue to be part of our Victorian family, Mrs Letchme also has some hopes for Victorians taking their A-Levels. “I would describe Victorians as young adults with a vision, so I know they can do it. I wish them all the best. They can surely climb to greater heights.” If Mrs Letchme believes in us so much, how could we possibly let her down?
Victoria Cheung 16A14
Chloe Tan 16S63