On Wednesday 14th September 2022, Holy Name Convent said farewell to our beloved Mrs. Karen Soo Ping Chow during her retirement ceremony. At this emotional celebration, we attempted to find the right words to describe this dedicated and well-loved member of Holy Name Convent. However, the only word that seemed fitting was used by Mr. Charles when he said, “Mrs. Karen Soo Ping Chow is a legend.“
Carl Menninger once said, “What the teacher is, is more than what she teaches.” Mrs. Karen Soo Ping Chow is a pillar of the Holy Name Community. She served this institution with her all, not only as a committed educator for 33 years of her life but also as a past pupil and Head Girl. She shows leadership and boldness despite her shy personality as she ensures success in the classroom and makes every class memorable.
Mrs. Soo Ping Chow admits: “Being an educator is an overwhelming responsibility knowing that you must impact all young lives. When I first began teaching, I was very insecure about my teaching skills because of my timid personality. Nevertheless, I take this responsibility very seriously and believe that every student can succeed.” This alone shows us she is a patient and diligent person.
She also acknowledges that after witnessing generations of principals and vice principals, she gives them full credit for the reputation and greatness of the institution as they always gave their best to build the school. She personifies our ‘Veritas’ by experiencing every failure and success, encouraging all to rise to the top. Her navel string is definitely tied to her alma mater and she feels real warmth within these walls viewing it as her family.
Not only the staff but also the student body made close bonds with Mrs. Soo Ping Chow, viewing her as a guide post, counselor, and even a mother. She made a unique impact on all whom she interacted with, making them feel safe and deserving. She took on heavy roles and gave them her greatest. There came a time when she was Dean of the entire junior department and ensured that all their needs were well taken care of. This included subject selection with the Form Three students. When this time came around, she dedicated hours to every single student, spending break and lunch times running from class to class going over the subjects, persuading teachers to take just one more student, and giving encouragement to those who doubted themselves.
Mrs. Karen Soo Ping Chow is also known as a “go-getter”. She acknowledges the pandemic as the biggest challenge of her career. During this time, she had no workspace at home as well as a lack of knowledge of all the online mediums. This made it especially challenging for her to meet her usual expectations and be there for her students. Concurrently, many teachers around the world began to resign, but not our legend. Mrs. Soo Ping Chow persevered and invested time and effort into the school she loved. Over time, she became skilled in all the platforms even giving her younger colleagues tricks and tips that she learned along the way. She views this time as very special and sees it as a time of growth. She also recognizes that this gave her the ability to reach her students in a different forum for which she was very thankful.
If we had the opportunity, to sum up, the greatness of Mrs. Karen Soo Ping Chow, we would never find an end. She left a mark in the hearts of all whom she met, leaving them with individual stories and salient memories. As she departs, she expresses the overwhelming love she has received and true satisfaction with everything she has contributed to Holy Name Convent.
She mentioned that there are no current plans on her agenda but she is desirous of participating in charity work and mainly continuing to show her self-sacrificing love and loyalty by taking care of her mother.
In my final interaction with Mrs. Soo Ping Chow, I asked her if there is any advice she would like to leave with my teachers and fellow classmates. She replied with the inspiring words: “Take one day at a time, trying your best to make a difference”. As we accept this bittersweet retirement of Mrs. Karen Soo Ping Chow, many tears will be shed as we say farewell to someone as irreplaceable as her. Let her wise words imprint your mind and heart as you follow the footsteps of our legend, striving to make your mark in the world. Holy Name Convent will never be the same without her.