a tribute to IICS teachers

When asked about what makes you love your senior high school, different reasons come to mind. It might be because of the friendship made, the meeting with someone special, or even the lifestyle itself – playing around without much thought about the future.

One of my highlights is the teachers.

Graduated in December 2009, I have never missed a holiday without a trip towards my school. That said, last Thursday I came back to the old building, but despite the familiar view that I used to see, I saw strangers in green squared uniforms – the ones that I used to wear – oh boy, time flies.

Making my way towards THE canteen – my crime scene where I used to go eat in order to skip classes – I saw even more strangers. Feeling out of place with the weird stares of young folks – as if thinking, “Who is this girl in t-shirt, black pants, and sandals? She does not belong here,” – I went to the 3rd floor. Time to greet some friendly faces.

Entering the teacher’s room, it was the same old greeting – surprised expressions which turned quickly into smiles followed by a high-pitched “Waaaaah, Marcella!” by my teachers.

I went from the 3rd floor, to 7th floor, 5th floor, 4th floor, and finally 3rd floor again. I didn’t meet all the teachers that I’d like to meet, or even had a good composed conversation to those on whom I did meet, but it was quite a good catch-up. Here are some of the teachers that know me better than the others.

Mrs. Ireng Ambarsari

with Mrs. Ireng Ambarsari

My Biology teacher in year 11 (before I dropped the subject in year 12, which has cost me the cynicism from Mrs. Ireng probably for the rest of my life) has a really strong motherly character. Mrs. Ireng is the teacher who knows my family background best – the old story of me being the ‘shadow’ of my brilliant sister, until the climax of the rebellious me wanting to break free from the expectations of others.

One of the most memorable experience with Mrs. Ireng is back in December 2009. We alumnis were given the privilege to do a Christmas drama for our school’s Christmas celebration. My other good friend, Sharleen and I were involved, and we acted as twins, with Mrs. Ireng as our mother. The shooting was done in Mrs. Ireng’s place, and it was quite an experience!

The other thing that I will remember forever (I guess) is my year 11 Biological field trip to Sepa Island report, on which I nominated as my ‘number-one-well-accomplished-with-maximum-effort-given’ report. It was around 50 pages long (if I remember correctly), and I am so proud of it, until now. Of course, I got a very good grade for that one! (With two weeks of 5-hours sleep: examining the data, researching the introduction, doing the graphs, and thinking of what to write for the deadly discussion part). That was my first and only time to have such very little sleep. Even when I’m in uni now, I never do an assignment as keen as I did for that one.

That said, even though I didn’t take Biology in year 12 nor did I pursue further studies in Biology (although Psych has a bit of Bio), I am forever thankful to Mrs. Ireng for she didn’t just teach me about Biology. She teaches me about doing what is right, and not to walk behind someone else’s path. I remember a well-known saying, “Just be yourself, because everybody else is taken.” That’s what I will remember when I meet Mrs. Ireng, even when I have forgotten all about Biology.

Mr. Aldjento Ondy

with Mr. Aldjento Ondy

My Year 11 and 12 Chemistry teacher who I disappointed greatly by not achieving a band 6 during the HSC (I’m sorry Sir, I really do, I’m just not a Chemistry person…). Although I never did understand Chemistry (Ehm, a little secret here…), I scored high in Chemistry all due to the practicals (and failed miserably during the theory tests). Taking a peek at the Chemistry past papers last Thursday, I was so amazed that I could actually do these questions 2 years ago. It was quite a miracle, and if I could have a chance to talk to myself at 17, I would tell her that she’s such a brilliant student (LOL). What can I say, I do not remember a single thing about my past studies now!

Well, maybe I do remember a bit of Chemistry. Ehm, okay,… Errr, titration? Ehm, potassium shows lilac colour when burnt? (is this information even right?) And…. soap… something about soap, detergent, grease,… Annnndddd…. something….. with… periodic table….. LOL.

My other sin with Mr. Aldjento is during Christmas 2 years ago. I was asking him to make a Christmas party in his house, and in the end I was unable to come.. I’m really, really sorry Sir. I’ve made you lots of brownies as a compensation (bribery accepted, yes?).

The most memorable experience with my funny Chemistry teacher is about his birthday celebration at his house, on which he invited lots of students to come over. He cooked so many delicious things, and we played and laughed and laughed a lot! I also remember playing iTouch during class (ehm, because we promised to finish the past papers, or at least to copy other students who have finished, of course), and competing in “Find It!” game. Good old times!

Mr. Aldjento

Mr. Aldjento, Sharleen (my

Sir Aldjento, like Mrs. Ireng, has taught me Chemistry, and he taught me well. But more than that, he teaches me about how much fun a teacher can have with his students. In his 2010 Christmas card, Sir Aldjento calls me as ‘friend’. It was quite a statement, especially in our culture (where older people, especially teachers, need to be respected a lot).

Ps. he’s still single!

Mr. Marcello Stanley

with Mr. Marcello Stanley

My year 10 Computer teacher! I was forced to study Microsoft Access (which was very hard, at that time) and sadly I’ve forgotten all about it (there is something wrong with me, my memory, and my past studies).

I will always remember Mr. Marcello (or Pak Marcello, as I used to call him), as someone who can do anything (well, most things anyway). He is a photographer, a teacher, a media person (he knows anything about the media, literally), a curious individual (he always looks up everything that he’s curious about – I think), a cook (I remember spotting a thick thick THICK cook book in his office), and much more.

From time to time I always have difficulties in finding him – if you are lucky, you may find him in his 7th floor office, although it only happens ONCE in my whole life (which is last week, to my surprise), or you will find him in the strangest places (the places in school that I only enter for the sake of finding Pak Marcello), which include the computer labs (3rd floor and 4th floor) and the counseling room. If all else fails, usually Pak Marcello is found in THE canteen, if not, he might be roaming around outside the school. Plus, it IS very hard to locate Pak Marcello by phone. Only IF you are lucky, he will pick up.

Entering his office last week, I found the familiar scene – the ‘scary-state-almost-broken’ long table with huge computers and heaps of books and papers and cables and God knows what else on top of it. “Stability,” is what he says when I commented. I used to be offered “Teh Botol”, but it was quite disappointing when I found none inside his office last week. I couldn’t have a proper chat because of the time limit (most of my friends do not really know him, and we need to get going to the other teachers…), but when I do talk to him he always tells me something new. From Jean Baudrillard, the use of RSS, the latest news, the media this and that, and other stuffs. I think Pak Marcello is the only teacher who actually fancies me for taking Media studies (FYI, I was a science student. Quite disappointing for my science teachers that I actually do a completely different degree).

Pak Marcello may have taught me Computer, but he leaves a deeper impression. It’s not just about the IT, the photography, the cookery, and all the other stuffs, but most of all, it’s about the passion. He teaches me to keep pursuing my passion, no matter what it is, and to give time for learning it.

Mr. Abraham Sam Kurian

with Mr. Abraham

Yet my another disappointed science teacher. Mr. Abraham taught my year 11 and 12 Physics, and frankly this subject was my weakest. Until now I have no idea what inertia is, I just memorised the definition. Mr. Abraham is the kind of teacher that always gives you the “keywords”, making everything easier to be learnt (or at least for our tests to be marked). Somehow if you could mention all the keywords right, you will get reasonably good marks.

Although I didn’t understand Physics – my poor brain is just not made for that – I am forever grateful for the studies in Medical Imaging Techniques. Two years later in Psychology, I came across the same old X-Ray, CT Scan, MRI, USG, PET SCAN, and fMRI which Mr. Abraham used to teach. To my surprise, I still remember what I was taught two years earlier! It was quite a triumph for me, knowing that my memory is a very bad one, but I was so happy that I grasped the concepts of these imaging techniques right from the very basic, all because of Mr. Abraham.

So Sir, thank you, and sorry for disappointing you for not getting a band 6 either ;p.

Mr. Kristhianto Nathanael Kainama

with Mr. Kris

Well here is my Mathematics Extension 2 teachers, who made me suffer all the way to the end of year 12. Mr. Kris, or Pak Kris, is a brilliant Math teacher – he is just… genius. I remember studying about complex numbers, polynomials, harder Maths, integration, volume, blah in every obnoxious way possible. I was good at Maths (used to, not anymore), but Extension 2 was just INSANE!

Well, at least I graduated with ‘honors’, or else extra two and a half hours every week (from 3.30 to 6pm Friday after school) and countless hours of EXTRA studying will go to waste. But it was a really fun time. For us, 7 students in Math Ex-2 2009 class, it was indeed a great experience, lots of laughing, crying, and competing – I might say. Math Ex-2 was the hardest subject ever (equivalent to 2nd year uni maths, if I’m not mistaken), and the fact that all 7 of us got band 6 really make us (and our teacher) proud! It is because of this subject that I dropped Biology (I’m sorry!), and in the end, I still can’t decide if I have the chance to re-do my senior year, will I be taking Bio instead of X-2.

Math X-2 2009 students

Not only remembering his favourite phrase (“Ring a bell?”), his inability to erase with the proper blackboard eraser (instead he always uses his hands), I also remember the stories he told us when our brains have rejected more maths formulas that were projected. I remember the story of his first encounter with his wife, how he studied hard to get his degree, his first dream of being a pilot, and all the others. I remember my friends, Pak Kris, and I went to the cinema to watch “Seven Pounds”. I remember he kept on mumbling, “oooh, Hmmm.. It’s like that…” and a long “OOOOOOOHHH” when he finally understood the movie. I remember 3 months ago when Pak Kris and a couple of other teachers went for a field trip to Melbourne and we (some alumnis and teachers) talked until 2/3am in the morning – updating news about the school and the students. Good memories!

Yes, Pak Kris taught me Maths, but he also teaches me to believe in myself, that I can actually do the subject, not only that, that i can actually do it well.

Ps. we students always think that Pak Kris looks a lot like Will Smith. Want a proof?

Pak Kris, in front of

Mr. Daniel Patricko Hutabarat, Ms. Eliana Maria, and Ms. Natalie

My year 12 Math, year 11 and 12 Mathematics Extension 1, and year 11 Math teacher, respectedly.

Sir DPH, as I used to call him, is a very, very, very patient teacher. He was never angry with us, even though we sometimes didn’t pay attention, or talking and laughing too loud in class. He always smiles, and is a very friendly teacher indeed!

with Mr. Daniel a.k.a. DPH

Studying in Singapore, Ms. Eliana is indeed very Singapore-ish. Ms. Eliana taught me Math X-1, and she is a strict teacher (in a way…) But my other friend used to go to her desk and messed around (taking this book, looking at papers, taking that book, writing on some papers…), so maybe she is not that strict… ;p

with Ms. Eliana

Ms. Natalie is the cute teacher. She is quite strict as well, but she is also very kind (and the ultimate target of my friend’s ‘naughtiness’). Ms. Nath taught year 11 Maths, and some of year 12 Maths as well, if I’m not mistaken, and she is a very tidy person. She likes Tiger (in Winnie the Pooh), and if I remember correctly, she likes anime (is it Samurai X? I kinda forgot). I remember giving her a Tiger doll with some friends for her birthday, I’m not sure if she still remembers that!

with Ms. Natalie

Ms. Yuli Yanti Tjia

with Ms. Yuli Yanti Tjia

I can’t write a good introduction for Ms. Yuli Yanti Tjia because she didn’t teach me anything. She is an Econ teacher, but I didn’t take Econ. She was not even my homeroom teacher. My first encounter with her was through my friends, who were taking Econ at that time. But the funny thing happened when I arrived at school at 6.30am every morning, and there she was, walking past my locker almost everyday throughout year 12. That was how I really get to know her.

Ms. Yuli then coordinated some parts of the Year 12 Graduation, and that made me need to contact her even more. I remember one fine day when she approached me and asked me to do a speech during the graduation. I was like, “WHAT?” (although now I am quite proud of my speech). Ms. Yuli Tjia is a very loving teacher, and she cares a lot about her students. Last Thursday I stopped by her office but she was not around. I intended to say happy birthday (she had her birthday one day earlier on Wednesday), but unable to do so. So, Happy Birthday, Ms. Yuli Tjia! :)

Mr. Adjie

with Pak Adjie, THE librarian

I do not really remember his full name, or how to spell his name correctly (forgive my poor memory, will definitely do my homework to research the proper name later on), but I remember entering the library from time to time, greeted with a smile and followed by a phrase, “Eh, Marcella…” I do not expect him to remember my name (he did not teach me, only saw me occasionally), and I always tease him by asking, “Sir, do you still remember my name?” He also remembers my sister, and asks about our further studies. He is the librarian, the keeper of my second crime scene, where I used to hide when skipping classes! lol

Mr. Sigit Setiawan

Pak Sigit Setiawan

I have no photo with Pak Sigit, so I went on Facebook and stole his FB profile picture. (Ooops, Sir, I hope you don’t mind). Pak Sigit is my year 12 Indonesian teacher, even though he only taught me for a brief period of time. He was one of my sister’s closest teachers, so I occasionally pay respect to him by dropping at his office and have a little chat.

Last week’s conversation was a really interesting one indeed. After telling him that I’m pursuing further degree in Psychology, he showed some interest. It turned out that Pak Sigit was (or is) doing a thesis on Albert Bandura, a very well-known Psychologist! We were talking in Psychological terms by then, and I was really proud to actually be able to converse in Psych. He told me that a former student was taking Psych and now is working as a Character Building teacher in IICS. He also told me ideas about interesting thesis and researches that can be done, focusing on third world country (e.g. Indonesia), in the context of the diversifying cultures and beliefs. Interesting. Will keep that in mind when the time comes for me to write a thesis ;p.

There are lots of other teachers on which if I mention one by one, I would have fainted. There is Ma’am Hedy, my year 9 Math and homeroom teacher, who is very caring towards me throughout the years. There’s Sir Rafeek, my English teacher, on whom teaches me to write a good essay in Academic English, which is very useful for my Uni studies. Plus, he introduced an interesting movie (Rabbit Proof Fence) to be analysed and some books (The Stolen Children – Their Stories and China Coin). There’s Sir Jesse, my year 12 Indonesian teacher, Sir Lukas, my Computer teacher, Lao Shi Tony, my Chinese teacher, Mr. Freddy, year 10 Physics teacher, Sir Daniel, my Religion teacher and just lots of others.

IICS class of 2009

What I will remember from my teachers is maybe not about the subject that they have taught. The memories that happened during school may as well fade as time goes by. But as Randy Pausch says, the head fakes count. It is not always about the academic studies. The teachers have also succeeded, one way or another, in teaching us how to lead our lives the right way.

It is always a pleasure to be coming back to school, knowing that you will be greeted with a big hug, and at the end of your visit there will be a question, “So when is your next visit?”


6 thoughts on “a tribute to IICS teachers

  1. Anonymous says:


    I am sorry that I missed your visit today…..(with all the guys). So sad…..

    Thank you for remembering us:) for every small things that you remembered about us:) I am sooooo happy:)

    Your visits to school makes a great deal for me. I am so blessed! I am able to take part in your life. You just did one thing that I prayed, remembering your teachers.

    Thank you dear:) I wish I can see you and talk to you before you return to Melbourne. Please do let me know, I will make time:)

    Blessing to you,
    Sir Kris

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