Bangkok Patana School was honoured to have Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn preside over the official opening ceremony of our Science Centre today. “This was a very auspicious occasion for Bangkok Patana School. Her Royal Highness presided over the opening of this school campus in 1993 and we feel extremely humbled that she was here once again to open our Science Centre,” said Dr Tej Bunnag, the Chairman of the Bangkok Patana School Foundation Board. In attendance were also the British Ambassador His Excellency Brian Davidson and the Deputy Minister of Education, Dr Teerakiat Jareonsettasin.
The official opening ceremony took on a friendly atmosphere when Her Royal Highness (HRH) used her phone to snap a photo of the ceremonial plaque immediately after unveiling. After the official opening ceremony, Head of School Matt Mills accompanied HRH Princess Sirindhorn on a brief tour of the school. “We talked a lot about the changes in the school since the last time Her Royal Highness visited – not only the physical setting but she noticed there was lots more interaction going on in classrooms such as students writing on the glass walls in the Science labs,” said Mr Mills. He said that HRH was impressed by the quality learning that was taking place. She commented on stimulating learning environment generated by the brightness of the classrooms, interactive tools and small class sizes.
The first stop on HRH’s school tour was the Science Centre. She was met on the second floor by Head of Faculty Matt Baker and Sarah Lim (12L). The group stopped briefly to peer through the glass into Dr Ellerby’s classroom where the students were in the midst of a practical test to identify starch, glucose and fat in food. Further down the hallway, HRH was led into a Year 12 Chemistry class who were working busy with an experiment. She paid interest in the fume cupboard noting that she had one in her classroom but it didn’t look as new or impressive – but that it was many years ago! On the way out of the Science Centre, HRH stopped to look at some photos of the other areas in the Science Centre. Mr Baker told her about the 130 square metres of solar panels that supply 25% of the energy in the building. She responded saying that solar panels in some of her schools supply more energy than they need so are able to donate the excess locally. Mr Baker said HRH was also very interested in the electron diffraction tube, which demonstrates the wave particle duality of electrons.
HRH then proceeded into the Secondary Library. Pe (Peter) Pakdeejit was on hand to talk about the Secondary Library to HRH. “At first I was really nervous but then after a while it started to get a bit easier,” he said. HRH asked Peter if he thought the Library was important. “I told her that the Library is really is important because it is not just a house of books but it actually incorporates people together. Our Library is really practical. I told her about the many interactive things for us to do. It is more like a place where people can come and learn and have fun at the same time.” Peter explained, “She is really friendly and I enjoyed talking to her.”
HRH was very interested in the books on the shelves, telling our Head of Libraries Sally Flint that she loved books and libraries. She took her own photos of the student breakout areas and the Makerspace, which is an area in the Library for students to be innovative and creative with tools such as Lego and robotics.
HRH also enjoyed her walk around the Primary Library. She took a lot of photos and enjoyed perusing the Home Languages section. She was thrilled to even see displays on the floor. She gasped and laughed when the saw the big bed that is part of the display for Roald Dahl where children are invited to make themselves comfortable to read, and said she imagined that students would have to make a booking to get on it as it must be very popular! HRH spoke about the schools she supports in rural areas and the challenge she has of getting English books into those libraries.
On her last stop in the short school tour, HRH visited the Secondary Design and Technology Faculty. Head of Faculty Richard Smith said HRH the Princess was very interested in the lessons the Year 7 students were doing online using Quizlets to reinforce the theory behind manufacturing processes. The tour moved into the workshop area where another Year 7 class was working on improvements to their projects. As she moved out of the workshop, HRH stopped to see the five 3D printers. Mr Smith said HRH seemed quite knowledgeable about 3D printing. She also took at a close look at the samples of work and projects from IGCSE and IB students. In particular, she was interested in the Social Responsive projects that IB students have to undertake where the students design for charitable organisations such as Smile Thailand and Habitat for Humanity. Mr Smith spoke with Her Royal Highness about the work the school does with IPST (Institute for the Promotion of Teaching Science and Technology) where we are helping to create a scheme of learning for Thai schools and we have run workshops for Thai technology instructors. “HRH really liked the fact that we are putting knowledge back into communities.”
Khun Kulvadee (Dee) Siribhadra was part of the entourage that toured with HRH and also led the effort and organisation to host HRH: “The feeling that I have is that Her Royal Highness is really engaged. She is very enthusiastic, keen and wants to know about everything and anything that she sees. She has such passion for knowledge. It really was such an incredible honour to have her visit the school.”