2021 O-Level Success Stories
Teo Yi Ting (4E5)
Her Form Teachers described her as a polite and conscientious student who exhibited intellectual humility when it came to learning so it was hardly surprising when Yi Ting received stellar results in the 2021 GCE O level examinations. However, Yi Ting shared her elation and surprise when she received her results as she was not expecting such good results. She attributes her success to hard work and consistency.
“I strongly believe that what one lacks in talent can be compensated with hard work and consistency,” she said. And her L1R5 of 7 points and 9 Distinctions are a testament to her beliefs.
She cautioned her juniors to remember that hard work without a clear goal in mind would be futile. During the course of the year, she shared that having a goal was another important factor in ensuring academic success. She shared openly that when one has a goal, he or she would always persist in the face of adversity. Yi Ting was candid when sharing her fair share of personal struggles as she too had her moments of being swamped by academic stress. However, she has always maintained her composure even in the face of insurmountable odds. In particular, she exhibited the school value of Humility, being receptive to feedback and displaying a positive learning attitude.
Yi Ting believes that everyone is bound to encounter failure but the important thing is to believe that when one encounters failure, he or she should not wallow in disappointment but recover from it by finding out what went wrong. Ever the proponent of working hard, Yi Ting shared that “hard work will never betray a person” and would almost always yield good outcomes. She showed much honour in the way she maintained these exacting standards for herself in all her efforts.
And this diligence is something that transcends academic pursuits. She served as Deputy Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant in Swiss Winds. Her leadership and involvement in the overseas VIA trip to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, was especially noteworthy. As the group leader, she led the planning and execution of the repainting of classrooms in a children’s home, and the engaging activities for the Children’s Day celebration. During the Swiss Carnival in 2019, she worked diligently with her team members to set up a game booth in order to raise funds for the Lion Befrienders. This sense of care and resilience was also evident in the way she persevered to do well for her examinations.
Yi Ting was still undecided in her choice of course in the polytechnic but she expressed an interest in Mass Communication as her passion lies in current affairs, the languages and writing.
Ever the grateful and thoughtful leader, Yi Ting expressed her thanks to her Form Teachers, Mr Tan Zi Jie and Ms Tan Rou Jing for their encouragement and belief. To her juniors, Yi Ting’s advice was to work hard and play hard.
Ang Toh Boon (4E1)
Toh Boon’s positivity and enthusiasm were traits that were celebrated by his teachers and peers. He was a picture of joy and jubilance as he shared how happy and relieved he felt after receiving his results. He had good reasons for feeling so as he received 8 distinctions in the process of scoring 6 points for his L1R5 in the 2021 GCE O level examinations.
Striking an unassuming figure, Toh Boon’s teachers had words of praise for his strong sense of honour and initiative when tasks were assigned to him. Despite the strong words of praise heaped upon him, he still shared his relief unreservedly: ‘After enduring many sleepless nights because I kept worrying about my results, it felt like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders! I kept telling myself that my hard work will pay off and thankfully, it did. So I am very relieved and happy!”
Having to juggle between Student Council duties, as the Head of Publicity and as Head of Logistics in Chinese Dance made Secondary School life a tightly scheduled one for him but he managed to move well, step in step with the competing demands in his school life. When asked about the secret to his success, the sprightly student had the following to say.
“I went to the library almost everyday after school to revise what I had learnt for the day as well as to finish my homework. When the O level examinations were approaching, I attempted practice papers daily and went through the answers to close my learning gaps. In the evenings, I would not do any work; instead, I watched the television to make sure that I have time for relaxation.”
Toh Boon is a firm believer of grasping key concepts early so as to build a strong foundation. He had the humility to seek help whenever he needed support, from teachers and peers alike.
“I always clear my doubts and try to understand everything as early as possible. I don’t like to just blindly memorise facts and content. Instead, I like to understand why things work and how I can apply the concepts that I have learnt.”
Toh Boon went on to explain how he found that the most effective way was to visualise and understand how things worked and also to recognise the “real nature” of the problems thrown at us, especially in the sciences. He also found that when his juniors approached him for help with their subjects, that really motivated him to study even harder because once he knew that they counted on him to help them, he really needed to step up. It became significant that he did well to earn their trust.
Ever the inquisitive student, Toh Boon aims to pursue the study of the sciences, especially biology and physics in the junior college. He shared that he aspired to become a biology and life science research scientist as his passion lay in biology.
He advised his juniors who would be sitting for the national examinations this year to “Stay calm and collected while trying to think of solutions to problems.”
Cheng Jing Fei (4E5)
Cheng Jing Fei struck a stoic tone when asked about the secret to her 8 distinctions and stellar results of 7 points for her L1R5 in the 2021 GCE O level examinations.
She shared that self-discipline was the key to unlocking her full potential. Jing Fei shared that it was really important to have a sense of self-discipline so as to prioritise what was important instead of succumbing to the temptations of procrastination. Temptation for her came in the form of screen time and she was quick to admit that overcoming it was definitely not an easy task but it was something she had to set her mind to overcome. Through her resolve, she exhibited a strong sense of honour; completing all her work conscientiously and to a high standard.
And this tenacity was evident in other areas of school life as well.
Imagine joining the Chinese Orchestra without any prior knowledge about any musical instruments. That would have daunted many but not Cheng Jing Fei who later came to master not only one but two musical instruments. She ended up serving as Quartermaster of Chinese Orchestra, as well as a Senior Sports Leader. Her co-curricular achievements speak volumes about her determination.
She also displayed humility through a helpful demeanor, being always willing to lend a helping hand to others. When asked about the key to success in her academic pursuits, Jing Fei was quick to share her thoughts on the importance of clarifying doubts.
“I think that it is important to not keep doubts to yourself. One should ask until you understand the concepts.”
Jing Fei revealed that discussion sessions with friends on questions pertaining to academic matters really yielded great rewards.
When asked about her greatest fear, she shared that it is the fear of not meeting her own expectations. She also recounted how she was disappointed by her less than ideal Mid-year examinations results, which really gave her the wake-up call that she needed so that she would be motivated to work even harder.
Her teachers described her as an individual who is humble and always willing to lend a helping hand to those around her. In fact, Jing Fei has bigger plans to help not just those around her but also help save the planet at the same time as she shared her plans to study Marine Sciences and green technology.
“Earth is in a state of crisis and I strongly believe that I can make a difference.”
Jing Fei urged all her juniors who will be sitting for the O level examinations this year to take good care of their mental health so as to achieve the best results that they can be capable of.
Anders Phoon Hui Kai (4E5)
Anders Phoon shared his satisfaction and jubilance because all the hard work that he had put in came to fruition. He scored an L1R5 of 7 points and achieved 6 distinctions GCE O level examinations in 2021. His cheerful and optimistic demeanour betrayed the little signs of the adversities that he faced over the past two years.
“A good friend of mine encouraged me to start studying hard at the start of the year. That was coincidentally also the time when I started writing down goals and started working towards them.
Anders also had other contributions to the school. He was known to honour deadlines and his peers by being helpful towards them. His contributions and resilience in his role as the Class CCE Ambassador and Cadet Bandmaster & Section Leader for the Swiss Winds were commendable. He led the entire band alongside his Command Team and when exposed to stressful situations, he exercised optimum care in decision-making and completion of tasks. In addition, when Singapore introduced the Circuit Breaker in April 2020 to combat the spread of COVID-19, Anderson and his team adapted quickly. They worked creatively to ensure that the band would still be able to function despite the members being unable to effectively practise using their instruments in school.
Despite putting in so much effort in his co-curricular endeavours, Anders also found time to ensure that his academic results did not take a backseat. Anders attributed his good results to his friends who encouraged him to work hard and give of his best. He also expressed his appreciation to his teacher, Mrs Chen.
“Mrs Chen Yen Wah encouraged and believed in me. She has been a supportive figure who has helped me since I was in Secondary Three.”
Other teachers described him as a respectful student who was always willing to learn from others, and who demonstrated the value of humility.
Anders was also quick to acknowledge that while hard work did not always yield the desired results for all the subjects that he studied for, it was a prerequisite for success. He held hopes of pursuing his education in a Junior College even as he wa still exploring pathways for the future.
The budding chemist shared that he would like to pursue a career in pharmaceutical science.
Interestingly he had a Chinese saying to share with his juniors:
This translates loosely to how the sharpness of a sword’s blade comes from repeatedly sharpening and polishing while a Plum blossom’s fragrance gets exuded after it has endured the harsh cold of winter.
Anders’ hopes that his words would inspire his juniors to persevere in the face of adversity and motivate them to strive to do their best for their national examinations.
Sean Go (4E5)
As a student, Sean wore many hats. He was the Assistant Company Sergeant Major (Operations) of the Boys’ Brigade. He worked alongside his Company Sergeant Major to plan monthly schedules and oversaw the operation team in order to provide guidance to his peers. For all his efforts, Sean was awarded the National Youth Achievement Award (Silver), and the Founder’s Award for Boys’ Brigade. These achievements exemplified the honour and dedication he displayed when carrying out his assigned duties. He was rightfully nominated and became a recipient for the MOE EAGLES (Leadership) Award.
In spite of his stellar CCA achievements, Sean did not expect to do so well for his academic pursuits. That was why he was visibly stunned when he received his excellent results of 7 distinctions and 7 points for his L1R5 in the GCE O level examinations in 2021.
“There were moments when I felt burnt out after studying for long periods of time. I took study breaks between studying sessions to ensure that I could study longer without it taking a toll on my physical or mental health.
Sean also shared that his mid-year and preliminary examination results were less than ideal and they served as a wake-up call for him to work even harder in order to pursue education in a Junior College of his choice.
“After I received my results for my mid-year exams, I realised that my L1R5 was not very good and as a result, I worried that I would have limited options when it comes to my choices for Junior College courses. I also realised that I do not have a lot of time on my hands. The pressure I felt ended up making me feel motivated to study harder.”
The diligent student whom his form teachers described as dedicated, empathetic and patient also faced his fair share of challenges. The journey to success was not always smooth sailing for him and Sean shared that he had his trying moments too, but he always found a way to overcome the difficulties.
Besides thanking his teachers Mr Lim Jun Li and Mr Tan Zi Jie for their support and encouragement. He also acknowledged how his parents served as a source of motivation for him.
“My father always said: “if better is possible, than good is not enough” which made a lot of sense as striving to achieve better results should be one of the biggest priorities as a student.”
Yet, even as pursued his own goals, Sean’s empathy and patience whenever he was working with others shined through, showcasing his sense of humility.
Natalie Ong Wen Sim (4E4)
Natalie’s teachers described her as a student who demands high standards from herself. And she scored an L1R5 of 8 points and 6 distinctions in the GCE O level examinations in 2021.
When asked about her secret to this high achievement, Natalie shared that setting high expectations for herself was a critical factor in helping her to achieve such results; it was a way to honour the self and to strive to do her best in anything that she is tasked to do.
From the testimony of many who knew her, Natalie is one who walks the talk as she delivers on her promise to others and herself. This attitude of being consistent in one’s words and deeds was key to many positive outcomes and contributions as the Vice-head of Sports Leaders. As such, she rightfully became a recipient of the Singapore Schools Sports Council (SSSC) Colours Award in both 2018 and 2019.
However, Natalie also encountered roadblocks in her successful journey. When she was the overall in-charge for the Homelympics Challenge during the Circuit Breaker in 2020, she had to work even harder to encourage the Sports Leaders as well as the school to stay fit and healthy during the pandemic. Despite all the challenges that she faced, she made sure that all her peers’ well-being was well-taken care of. Her respectful demeanor and caring disposition made her an embodiment of the school’s value of Humility, always ready to serve others. As a student who always places herself in the shoes of others, she displayed strong willingness to step forward to help those in need.
Her sense of humility also seen in the gratitude that she extended to her teachers for helping her to do well. She quipped, “I would really like to thank my chemistry teachers, Mr Simon Teo and Mdm Tan Pui San for their encouragement and support.”
Natalie also shared about a source of inspiration, Ms Jin Bee, an alumnus. She explained at the beginning of 2021, the school invited Ms Jin Bee to talk about her own experiences in taking the O level examinations.
“Her talk was inspirational and made me want to do better and to set high expectations for myself,” she reminisced. “I reminded myself to do my best and work hard because I would only reap what I would have sown.”
Natalie had secured a place in the Singapore Polytechnic to study Biomedical Science. Her exacting nature in knowing what she wants and making clear plans to go after it through the Early Admissions Exercise (EAE) demonstrates both foresight and determination.
“I chose to study Biomedical Science in SP because I was interested in the specialisation that they offered; I found out that SP was the only polytechnic that presented a course on Cardiac technology. And I hope to work in the cardiology sector in the future.”
Natalie has some good advice to share with her juniors in the form of a favourite quote.
She shared, “Aim for the moon. If you miss, you may hit a star.”
Ammar Abdul Jabar (4E4)
If Ammar were stressed, others around him definitely would not be able to tell as his calm appearance belies the struggles beneath. His Form teachers described him as an eloquent and confident student. Yet, when he achieved an L1R5 of 9 points and 8 distinctions in the 2021 GCE O level examination, with a humble outlook and an unassuming tone, all he shared was that he was happy but “not too surprised”
Ammar was effusive in sharing how he enjoyed learning and how he was cognisant of the fact that this joy of learning allowed him to naturally immerse himself in the content knowledge of the subjects.
The source of his motivation came from him his knowledge that his teachers, Mdm Tan Pui San and Mdm Serene Tang, believed strongly in his ability to excel in his academic pursuits.
“It really gave me a big confidence booster to know that my teachers believed in me. I think that the faith placed in me really boosted my confidence to work harder . I think one of my greatest fears was that I could not meet the standards that I have set for myself. I think I managed to overcome my own self-doubts after learning that I do not have to prove my worth to anyone other than myself.”
Ammar served as Head of Videography of the Publications and Media Club (PMC). As a leader, his teachers saw him as a student who adaptable in the face of difficulties. When the school needed to pivot to broadcasting of school events and activities through livestream, due to COVID-19, Ammar stepped up to his role by readily adapting to new skillsets such as learning how to operate the Open Broadcasting Software (OBS) to support production operations. He exhibited Honour in the way he could always be depended upon to complete task assigned to him, and Humility, in the way he would respectfully render help to others and be receptive to advice.
Ammar has plans to pursue Computer engineering in a polytechnic after the O levels.
“I have always enjoyed tinkering with computers, and in this day and age, the advancement in technology will provide me with a stable career pathway”
When asked to encapsulate his experience in Swiss, he said “making mistakes is better than faking perfection because making mistakes is part of the learning process.”
We wish Ammar all the best in his future endeavours.
Yeo Min Zhou, Jabin (4E3)
Jabin scored an L1R5 of 10 points and 6 distinctions. He shared that he felt so relieved that he had met his expectations when he found out that his O level score would allow him to apply for a polytechnic course of his choice.
Even as he reveled in his success, Jabin whom his Form teachers described as a respectful and dependable student, did not forget to express his gratitude to those who had helped him.
“I am thankful to all my teachers and friends who helped me along the way, especially My Form Teachers, Mr Goh Wei Bin and Mdm Nuraida,” he shared. “Without fail, they would remind our class to take out some work to do and study instead of wasting time before the Morning Assembly programmes started,” he chuckled as he recalled the year.
His mother was also another important source of inspiration to him. He remembered a chat that he had with her; she had shared with him about the struggles that she had had to face when she first migrated from Malaysia to Singapore. The stories of her struggles and hardship when she first started work at an electrical company inspired him to set clear goals for himself.
“I told myself that as long as I have clear goals and worked towards achieving my dreams, nothing would be out of my reach. My mother’s story also encouraged me to pursue my passion because she had pursued her passion in electrical engineering,” he reminisced.
Jabin also shared his passion in biology because he was fascinated by how the human body works.
“I am simply in love with biology and how our body works! I had aimed to attain an A1 in biology and do well for other subjects so that I can qualify for the Biomedical science course in the polytechnic, and I am glad that I can do so now!”
Jabin’s quest for academic success was not without its fair share of challenges. He shared about his struggles.
“My greatest challenge was to excel in English and other relevant subjects. I sought help from teachers and actively asked questions to understand the subjects on a deeper level. I think one of the things I did was to help by teaching my friends in class and that helped me to recall what I have learnt and really assess if I had understood the subject well. Peer tutoring was a win-win approach for both me and my friends.”
Given his helpful outlook, he was appointed Head of VIA in Tenpin Bowling as well as Head of Resource Management in Student Council. He also spearheaded the Mentoring Programme in Student Council. Exuding the values of Honour and Humility, Jabin was regarded as respectful and dependable, and as a loyal friend who would support his peers whenever they needed him. For his juniors, his advice would be to never stop believing in oneself even when others do not believe in one!
Jabin shared on his aspirations for the future. “I am currently exploring the possibilities of either being a biologist, a doctor or even a pharmacist,” he quipped. He explained that his passion lies with biomedical sciences.
We wish Jabin all the best!
Jefferson Ng (5N2)
Jefferson was a picture of calm when asked about his secret to doing well for the 2021 GCE O level examinations. He scored 13 points for his L1R4 alongside 2 distinctions. He was quick to share that one of the key reasons for his success was his group of friends.
“I must really thank my group of friends because after studying, we would play basketball or soccer together. We would often encourage one another to work hard and focus on our academic work first before we reward ourselves with a good game or basketball or soccer.”
He displayed moral courage by speaking up for peers in appropriate ways. Highly committed to his CCA, he showed a keen sense of honour by taking responsibility for his own education and working hard towards his goals.
He was known to speak truth unto power for his friends, but he always did so respectfully. In fact, he revealed a high level of humility. He was receptive to feedback and he also displayed gratitude when he elaborated on the teachers who had helped him along the way.
“The teachers here were constantly encouraging me to do well. Ms Faza often shared encouraging words with me when I was feeling down and my English teacher, Mdm June left an indelible mark in my mind. I still recall how she said to me ‘Jeff, you have the potential’ and that really meant a lot to me.”
As a leader of the National Cadet Corp’s Command Band, Jefferson would often go out of his way to mentor his juniors. He served as Staff Sergeant and Section Leader and for his contributions, he received the Certificate of Distinction for Character and Leadership in 2020. He saw that in order for the band to be harmonious in their melody, every member would have to count. That was why during sectional practice, he would coach each cadet personally, – to ensure that the cadets were familiar with the music required for all the deployments. Whenever his juniors faced difficulties, Jefferson would always lend them a listening ear, and provide feedback to the leaders and teachers-in-charge when required.
When asked about his plans for the future, he shared that he wants to put his passion in mathematics and physics to good use by pursuing an Information and Communication related course or a course in Engineering.
Jefferson had some words of advice for his juniors when he said, “if you want to go farther, go with friends because they make the journey easier!”
Commandur Srinivasan Adarsh (4E1)
Adarsh was pleasantly surprised when he did well for the 2021 GCE O level examinations. He scored an L1R5 of 6 points and 9 distinctions.
He was an independent learner who would always seek to better himself. He also displayed a good balance between his academic and co-curricular achievements. Even though he excelled in the O level examinations, Adarsh shared that he had experienced some apprehension before receiving his results.
“I was anxious. I thought that I did not do as well for my Chemistry Paper during my preliminary examinations. I was expecting to score much lower than what I had achieved. When my name was announced as one of the outstanding students, I was thrilled and delighted because my determination and hard work had helped me to build enough self-confidence to do my best during the papers.’
Ever the grateful and thoughtful leader, Adarsh was described as a student who frequently sought feedback from his teachers in order to achieve improvements. He also attributed his success to the help and support that he received from those around him.
‘The support and guidance of my parents, teachers and friends helped me to push through the tough times and encouraged me to continue striving for the best.”
The COVID-19 pandemic brought about many restrictions and changes to the way Co-Curricular Activity (CCA) had to be carried out. He was the President of Swiss Drama Club, and he recounted the struggles that he had faced during the course of the year.
“During the first half of the year, I was unsure if I would be able to juggle my co-curricular duties and my academic pursuits. I was playing the lead roles for one of the actors in the Singapore Youth Festival. I had to dedicate a lot of my time to rehearsals, therefore I did not know if would be able to perform during the Mid-Year examinations. As I expected, I did not do as well as I had wanted to. The O levels were approaching, and I was anxious.
He vividly remembered his first Physics Weighted Assessment at the start of 2021. Physics was one of his favourite subjects. However, much to his chagrin, he had only managed to score a B4 grade for that paper.
“That was a real wake up call for me. I was ready to work hard to improve.”
Adarsh remained calm and resilient. He worked closely with his fellow Executive Committee members to plan the CCA training programme, with guidance from his teachers and instructor. Even as the learning curve was steep for him, Adarsh took all the challenges in his stride. He exhibited the value of humility, seeking feedback and considering the opinions of others before making a decision. For his exemplary character, he received an Edusave Character Award (ECHA) winner in 2021.
During this tough period, my friends and family provided me with enough support which encouraged me to do better in the impending preliminary examinations. I dedicated most of my time to studying. At the end of the year, I finally felt like I was ready to take the examinations.’
When asked about his future plans, he shared candidly that he was not fully certain yet
‘I am not that sure yet but I think I am interested in the science stream. The STDP programmes in Swiss had inspired me to study science in the future. STEM is one of the skills that I would never forget for the rest of my life and I thank Swiss for giving me an opportunity to learn it.’
Joel Yap Ze Xian (4E2)
Joel shared his joy when he received his results slip.
‘I am really overjoyed and I acknowledge that an L1R5 of 7 is an achievement, and I am happy that I have achieved this score because I feel that my consistent hard work that I had put in throughout the course.’
Joel was laterally transferred from the Normal Academic to the Express course in 2019. An unassuming student whom his teachers described as responsible and resilient, he wasted no time in giving credit to his teachers.
‘My success is a result of my teachers’ commitment and dedication. Whenever I had any doubts, they did not hesitate to agree to have consultations with me, no matter how packed their schedule was. They helped me develop a strong foundation in the respective subjects which helped me excel. I have never scored As for major Chinese examinations. However, once I achieved an A2 for the mid-year Chinese O level exams, I realised that nothing is impossible. That made me strive for greater heights in other subjects.’
He not only demonstrated resilience in his academic performance, he also expressed it in his CCA. Joel was an important member of the school’s Floorball team. His passion for the sport was evident in his active involvement and punctuality during both face-to-face and online training sessions. As an unpretentious collaborator, he understood the importance of teamwork and was always willing to attend the physically demanding training sessions even though they were physically demanding. For his exemplary conduct, he was awarded the Edusave Character Award (ECHA) 2021. He was also the Class Chairperson
Joel exhibited honour, being highly responsible and encouraging, and having contributed to the growth and development of peers. He also showed humility and demonstrated great resilience in learning and striving for continuous improvement.
“My greatest fear was about my mind blanking out during the exams. After blanking out in a few instances during the course of the Mid-year examinations, I knew I needed to learn how to regulate my stress levels. Being able to manage my stress is something I wanted to pick up.’
When asked about his plans for the future, Joel shared that he was wants to pursue his studies in a junior college because he wants to become a neurosurgeon to save live.
Keef Sng Rui En from 4E3 scored 6 points with 7 distinctions.
As a footballer, obstacles and challenges are not new to him. In fact, juggling between his physically and mentally demanding CCA and studies brought out the resilience and tenacity in him to do well academically.
Keef shared that he was overwhelmed by a range of emotions when he saw his name being shown on the screen that displayed the list of students who had achieved outstanding results for the O level examinations. Keef had scored 6 points for his L1R5 and clinched 7 distinctions in the process.
‘I was really overcome by a wide mix of emotions as I saw my name appear on the screen. It felt surreal because I was really doubting my score because I had never really managed to score really well for English and it was a compulsory component in computing our L1R5 scores. At that moment, it really felt unreal as I had never imagined myself scoring so well. Overall, I am really proud and satisfied with my results, as it an affirmation of the culmination of all my hard work that had finally paid off.’
Keef had some heartfelt words of thanks for his Form Teacher and Science teacher.
‘A person who has helped me throughout my journey in secondary 3 and 4 is Mr Goh Wei Bin. He was my form teacher for those two years and taught me biology during that period. He inspired me to work hard for my goals as he believed our hard work will pay off and it was important to work hard to pursue our passions. He also shared numerous tips on studying and gave constant encouragement and support throughout the two years. His constant faith in me really pushed me to work hard and to strive for excellence.’
His senior also left an indelible mark on him and motivated him to work hard.
‘At the start of 2021, I saw my senior, Jin Bee achieve an L1R5 of 9. As someone whom I looked up to as a Sports Leader, it served as a great source of motivation for me to work hard as I wanted to do as well, if not better than her. Despite our high commitment in both CCA and SL (sports leadership). She made me believe that despite the seemingly insurmountable challenges that we faced, it was possible to achieve our goals.’
Ever the humble student, Keef was quick to share that he was also not impervious to feelings of doubts, especially when it came to his weakest subject, English.
With the help of Mrs Constance Wong, I managed to improve my essays and answering techniques for comprehension. As a result, my score improved from a B4 during the mid-year examinations to an A2 for my preliminary examinations.
Keef shared that he has plans to join Anglo-Chinese Junior College and eventually earn a spot to study medicine.
‘This aspiration to become a doctor came from my personal medical condition. I suffer from asthma and it has encouraged me to study and learn more about similar respiratory conditions suffered by many others so I can help them. Although secondary school life may seem mentally and physically exhausting, it is only at the end of it that I realised it was the time when I had the greatest joys.’
Keef shared that there were definitely challenges and setbacks that he faced along the way, but friends, teachers and family members made the arduous journey towards success more bearable. It made the journey of working towards our individual goals worthwhile.
‘Appreciate the time you spend with your peers and work hard for the goals that you want to achieve, it will all be worthwhile!’
Lee Xin Hui Richelle (4E2)
Richelle was described by her teachers as an independent and considerate student. When she knew that she scored L1R5 of 7 points and 9 distinctions, she simply exclaimed that she felt relief that she had achieved such good results for her GCE O level examinations.
‘I feel so glad that I didn’t disappoint the people around me. However, I also do feel that if I had put in a bit more effort and time I would have gotten even better results.’
When asked about the reasons for her success, Richelle shared that she was moved by the level of support that she had received from my teachers and peers. She specifically recalled a moment with Mdm Wong Wee Leng.
“She spoke to me in 2020 and her encouragement really motivated me to do well.”
Even as she was reveling in the success of her good results, Richell also recalled a challenging moment which was over come when she became motivated to work hard.
“I had almost failed my Chemistry examinations during the Secondary Three End-of-Year examination. And I was really disappointed in myself. The fact that many people around me encouraged me to push further despite their disappointment really made me reflect and strive for greater heights.’
She explained she feared that she would disappoint her parents, teachers and all the people that believed in her. She also feared that she would be too nervous during the examinations.
“I overcame this sense of anxiety by learning how to manage my own expectations as well as considering how I should really be responding to others’ expectations for me. I realised that I don’t necessarily need to let others’ expectations overwhelm me.”
A considerate student who respects the needs of others and renders her help selflessly, Richelle was the Head of Bonding Committee in Student Council as well as a Platoon Sergeant in NCC (Air). She exemplified humility and always honoured the tasks given to her. She provided a listening ear to her juniors and patiently guided those who faced challenges even as she was facing challenges of her own. Despite the various restrictions imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Richelle adapted well and led her team to successfully prepare the bonding sessions online.
With an all-round set of developments under her belt, Richelle shared that she has plans to study the sciences either in a junior college or a polytechnic.
“I believe that if you believe in yourself and have the motivation to work hard, you will be able to reach your goals because ‘If it wasn’t hard, anyone can do it!’ “
Sheik Daiyan Bin Shaik Ahmed Rifaei (5N1)
Sheik beamed with joy and satisfaction when he was asked about his thoughts and feelings after receiving 11 points for his L1R5 and 5 distinctions in the GCE O level examinations.
Jubilant, Sheik was overwhelmed with gratitude towards everyone who garnered around him with their support.
He reminisced, “Those around me supported me and gave me the help I needed whenever I needed it. Parents, friends and teachers helped me to answer my questions whenever I had them and they did not give up on trying to help me regardless of how many questions I had.”
He was known by many including his teachers as someone who was dependable, committed and respectful and he readily attributed his success to continuous effort that allowed him to do the best to his ability.
‘When I received my dismal Mother Tongue mid-year O level results, it really gave me a wake-up call and showed me that if I continued on this path, I would not be able to attain my desired scores. So, that was when I changed my mindset from one that was passive to one that became proactive.”
Sheik felt that as a student in a five-year course, he had the opportunity to pace his learning, and that was a huge benefit. It offers him the chance to take other routes – to the polytechnic or the junior college. It seemed ironic to him if he should waste the time and opportunity to simply end up going to a Higher Nitec course – which he could have pursued directly after his N levels instead.
“Definitely not if the reason is a lack of effort,” he explained, continuing, “That thought really motivated me and pushed me to work hard.”
A mature student who would do the right thing, even in the face of peer pressure, he often exhibited honour. He was committed to his CCA besides showing the resolve to pursue his academic goals. He always put in his best effort for all his assigned tasks, and also displayed humility through his amiable and respectful nature – which earned him many friends. He served as Staff Sergeant in National Cadet Corps (NCC) Air, and was also a Senior Student Councillor. For his many acts of service to the community that included being part of a team that went door-to-door to talk to residents about the challenges faced by the cleaners, Sheik received the Edusave Award for Achievement, Good Leadership and Service (EAGLES) Award.
He shared that he had big dreams to chase as he would like to study more about Aeronautial Engineering.
‘I would like to pursue my studies in Aeronautical engineering. After overcoming this challenging year in Secondary 5, I now have renewed confidence that I can take on any challenge that comes my way in the future. I urge all current graduating students to work hard and persevere. You can do it!’
Baskar Sruthi (4E3)
Sruthi was stunned when she saw her results as she felt that it was totally unexpected. Sruthi scored 15 points for her L1R5 and 3 distinctions in the 2021 GCE O level examinations.
‘I was really shocked that I had done well but at the same time, I feel satisfied and elated. I had worked hard continuously for 3 years and now, my efforts have paid off. My efforts and sleepless nights were worth it as I have received results that I am satisfied with!’
Sruthi credited to her family for their strong support, which she felt played a major part in her studies.
“It is something that I will always be grateful for,” she said with much sincerity.
She added that perseverance was a very important quality to have in order to achieve one’s best. She recalled how there were times when she had just felt like giving up, but she managed to pull through these moments. She would remind herself of her goals and dreams at times like that. Keeping her dreams in view always helped her stay positive and focused.
“Receiving the dismal preliminary examination results was an unforgettable moment. It was a wake-up call for me it really reflected where I was standing academically. I was not satisfied with my results. I had done poorly for a number of subjects and I also failed some other subjects.”
Her reflections made her realise that her efforts were inadequate and she decided to study smarter, instead of harder. She explained that she was laterally transferred from the Normal (Academic) stream to the more demanding Express stream in 2019 – at the start of Secondary 2. Having stellar results at Secondary 1, she was a student who was acutely aware of how hard she can work, and how much she would continue to need to work in a more challenging course. The standards and pace were vastly different in the two programmess, and so, she knew that had to calibrate her expectations. But even so, there were moments where she had felt that she could not catch up with the academic demands and rigour.
“There were times when I doubted myself. I wondered if I could do well,” she recalled, adding candidly, “but I am glad that my hard work overcame these doubts.”
The tenacious student shared that she would critically question her gaps and review her study and revision methods to achieve better results. Sruthi is not one to give up easily.
Sruthi did not confine her efforts to just the academic pursuits. She enjoyed a colourful school experience and garnered achievements elsewhere. She was described to be a resourceful and committed member of her CCA. She was the Vice-Head of Girl Guides where she exhibited honour and humility, by being a dependable individual who was truthful to her words and willing to serve others. Even with the challenges caused by the disruption of the activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she remained confident while brainstorming fresh and interesting virtual activities with her batch mates to engage the company. For her exemplary character, she attained the Edusave Character Award (ECHA) in both 2020 and 2021.
She shared her plans to pursue her studies in a Junior College. She encourages her juniors to “never” give up!
“There will be moments when you would feel like giving up but always remember your end goals and persevere on. But make sure not to get burnout and stay healthy!’
Rushil Srinath (4E5)
When one sees Rushil’s satisfied smile and self-assured demeanour, one would find it difficult to imagine that Rushil actually had doubts that he might not do as well as he had wanted to. The confident yet humble student shared some of his thoughts and feelings after scoring 6 points and 9 distinctions in the GCE O level examinations in 2021.
‘I feel really satisfied! I feel that my hard work has paid off. I really made sure that I managed my time well because time is of the essence!
His words could not be underestimated. Rushil’s time management played a significant part in helping him prioritise what he should be doing to optimize every moment that he had. And he had many commitments to juggle.
He was the Chairperson of Swiss Choir and also the Performing Arts (PA) Council Head. His responsibilities would have been significant in any season but with the COVID climate, there were more complexities to his leadership. And during the COVID-19 management measures, Rushil demonstrated his management skills by ensuring that the choir could still work in different settings. Rushil played a vital role in liaising with the committee, the teachers, and the choir members to ensure that the planning and implementation of various choir events were promptly and properly carried out via online platforms, which was a new arrangement for the entire CCA.
Another factor that was a factor for his success was his self-directedness.
He recalled how he Homebased-Learning became a double-edged platform for learning to be disciplined. I started taking the initiative to revise consistently, starting chapters earlier on my own accord. I found that really helped me to understand the materials much faster.’
In many aspects of his active school life, Rushil exhibited a deep sense of honour by showing drive and self-leadership, and by being committed and other-centred in his endeavours. Well-mannered, and exuding maturity with the attitude to explore education holistically, Rushil was a role model for his peers. He attained the MOE Edusave Character Award (ECHA) in 2020 and 2021, and was also the prestigious Rudy Mosbergen Scholarship (2021) recipient for All Round Excellence.
Despite the many accolades he has garnered, Rushil is humble, displaying a level-headedness and self-assuredness in the way he leads his peers with compassion.
These positive attitude towards learning and life are anchored by his outward mindset, that one should not be uncomfortable with discomfort. He explained how discomfort can transform us, citing the Covid situation as well as his own experience as examples.
“I was initially afraid of going into a Swiss because I would be a small fish in a big pond, but when I joined Swiss and was in an environment filled with very capable people, it propelled me to work harder,” he reminisced with a smile.
Rushil has noble aspirations to serve the society.
‘I really want to pursue my studies in medicine. It is a noble profession that will allow me to really contribute meaningfully to those who need help. Helping the sick and infirmed has always been a calling that I feel very strongly about, so I would like to do so.’
Rushil urges his juniors to persevere and manage their time well to make the best of their final year in Swiss.