It was a brisk cool morning in mid-March. We had been really excited at the prospect of meeting Mrs. Daphne Blomfield. From what we recall, Mrs. Blomfield was a slim lady, standing tall in the middle of the old Junior School Hall stage during morning assembly. When we saw the Mrs. Blomfield before us, she has not changed a bit - a slim petite lady wearing a bright warm smile on her face. We sat down at a coffee shop in Festival Walk and began our conversation.
We learned certain things about Mrs. Blomfield which are not normally known to most people. Mrs. Blomfield was born in Shanghai. Before joining DGJS, she was a teacher (for both primary and secondary levels) and thereafter Head-teacher (primary level only) at another well-known co-educational school in Hong Kong, where she taught Geography and English. At the invitation of Dr. C.J. Symons, at the time headmistress of DGS, Mrs. Blomfield joined DGJS as headmistress in 1978.
Dr. Symons and Mrs. Blomfield shared the same vision – they wanted to keep DGJS a family school consisting of only a small number of classes, where every student was encouraged and would indeed have the opportunity to participate. Mrs. Blomfield initiated the “Big Sister Program” where each Primary 6 student was paired to take care of a Primary 1 new joiner for the first year. She foresaw the future demand of Putonghua and introduced the language into the curriculum at a time when Putonghua was still not popular in Hong Kong. She encouraged participation in team competitions so that more students could be involved and bond through cooperative efforts and shared goals.
Mrs. Blomfield’s memory of DGJS is that it is a happy school, where each student knows most of the other students, and enjoys being part of the DGJS family. The students respect their parents and teachers and there is mutual trust between parents and teachers. To her, DGS girls are always very collegial and supportive of each other. One of Mrs. Blomfield’s most memorable occasions at DGJS was how hard everyone worked to prepare for the farewell concert of Dr. Symons. From both junior and senior schools, the personal touch from parents together with the exceptional efforts from teachers and students contributed to this big, memorable and successful event.
From our conversation with Mrs. Blomfield, one thing that really impressed us was how this cheerful lady has been devoting her whole life to the education of others. Her passion for education shines through even more when she discussed her current involvement in non-profit organisations aiming at helping people with learning disabilities. Mrs. Blomfield has always been interested in how children learn, and how best to help them to learn. After retiring from DGJS she volunteered serving on various committees and acting as supervisors of schools and adult training centres at Hong Chi Association, a non-profit organisation targeted at helping people with intellectual disabilities. She resigned three years ago.
For the last 10 years, Mrs. Blomfield has been dedicating more of her time to The Pathways Foundation, a non-profit organisation providing professional help to strengthen literacy, numeracy and organisational abilities as well as social skills specific to the individual needs of children with Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD) and/or Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD). Mrs. Blomfield strongly believes that every child has the right to receive proper education to realise his/her full potentials. This is particularly important in the case of students with SLD issues when professional help can address their specific needs and make a difference in building their self-esteem and achieving their individual goals.
Having a true passion in life gives a person the strength and momentum to live a happy and fruitful life. As we part with Mrs. Blomfield, we learned that she had driven to Festival Walk in Kowloon Tong all the way from her home in Tai Po. Her independence, kindness and love for education once again illustrate how Mrs. Blomfield is a living example of the DGS motto – Daily Giving Service.