My Life Journey
by Hui Xian
Yusof Ishak Secondary School – Class 2003 (Normal Technical Stream)
ITE College East – Class Apr 2007 (Higher NITEC in Accountancy)
Ngee Ann Polytechnic – Class 2010 (Diploma in Accountancy)
Nanyang Business School, Nanyang Technological University – expected graduation in 2013 (Bachelor in Accountancy)
Studying in a university is a dream for many Normal (Technical) students and many will not believe that one can make it that far. This was a dream which I nurtured since I was in secondary school. This dream came true for me after I graduated from Ngee Ann Polytechnic with a Diploma (Merit) in Accountancy and was awarded the Tay Eng Soon Gold Medal. I was also awarded the Lee Kuan Yew Scholarship to Encourage Upgrading (LKY-STEP) Award to pursue a degree in Accountancy at Nanyang Technological University (NTU).
It had always been a difficult and challenging learning journey as things were not going so smoothly for me during my primary school days due to a lack of sense of purpose and goal in mind. My class position for tests and examinations was often fourth or fifth – from the bottom and I went on to perform quite badly for my PSLE for an EM2 student, with only a score of 151. I was then posted to Yusof Ishak Secondary School (YI), channelled into the Normal (Technical) stream.
I thought that being posted to YI was the worst part of my life. To make matters worse, my dad nagged me for the longest time, for being just good enough for the NT stream. Of course, he meant well but I did become demoralise with how badly I was doing in school. However, I soon realised that YI was where I finally recognised and understood the importance of education. It was indeed the very place where I was first afforded with various opportunities and leadership roles to help me become the person I am today. Most importantly, I am most grateful to my teachers who had helped me with my studies without fail.
ITE College East and Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP) were the two places where I found my passion – both in academic and non-academic. I found my passion in accountancy, getting a lot of satisfaction from working with figures and preparing financial statements. I began to aspire to be an accountant one day. As a former student of ITE, I felt inferior when I was in NP because of the perceptions that people usually have about ITE students. I was also apprehensive as I thought that my course mates were smarter because they had an O-level certificate. Many times I felt frustrated for not being able to cope with the curriculum, let alone to be on par with them. I ever thought of giving up once, however, with the support and encouragement from my lecturers, I learnt to manage my shortcomings and overcame the fear to complete my diploma studies.
After overcoming this fear, I developed a realisation that giving back to the community was what I ought to do too. I found myself enjoying helping those around me and that I would help them whenever I could. This passion drove me, together with five other ITE friends to play a proactive role in NP by setting up an ITE Chapter to help new ITE students to better adjust to polytechnic life. Having been inspired by others, I wanted to inspire and encourage my juniors to do better in school. Ever since then, I was actively involved in community service with various organisations and grassroots.
This long journey has made me realise that support and encouragement will always be provided by the people around us no matter who you are. Yet, the single most important determining factor for any successful person will still depend on the person’s resolve to pursue their goal. Although my learning journey in the past 10 years was long and tough, and occasionally I do have regrets about it, I have nonetheless gained a lot from it.
We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things. As action and determination is the foundation and key to all success.
My Experience During My Time In YISS
by Dhiya’uddin Dah’alan
Class of 2007
Ngee Ann Polyteching Outstanding Graduate
-Biomedical Engineering Society (Engineering) Gold Medal and Prize
-Diploma with Merit
-Charles Wembley Prize
-CISCO Systems Prize
-Diploma plus Certificate in Biomedical Engineering
-Diploma plus Certificate in Industrial Electronics.
Hello Yusoffians! My name is Dhiya’uddin Dah’alan. For those who don’t know me, I used to be a student here. I graduated from YISS in 2007. Being a student here in YI was indeed a joyful and positive experience for me. However, I can’t come up with a single memory or event to share with you. Reminiscing about my time in Yusof Ishak certainly gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling every time. What stands out most in my memory is of my very supportive and encouraging teachers back then.
Those past few years at this school were special, because it has helped me become the person I am today. I am sure that without those precious years, my life now would be different. I would not be as determined, purposeful and committed. It is here that I finally understood the importance of education. Special thanks to the teachers and students here at YI who had guided and supported me. Their help and encouragement motivated me to complete my high school education and pursue a diploma, which I recently received, in Biomedical Engineering at Ngee Ann Polytechnic.
I have graduated despite all the ups and downs. Sometimes I had felt frustrated, because it was difficult enough to cope with all the subjects. Many times I had thought of giving up a particular subject, dropping that subject and concentrating on others. But those were just thoughts that might have been caused by fatigue and lack of sleep. I couldn’t imagine failing a subject for it would have haunted me every day. I’ve always believed that those subjects, previously unnecessary to me, would prove to be of importance in the future. I did my best by seeking as much assistance from the teachers I could. Often times, I was proud of myself because I was strong enough to overcome these negative thoughts and obstacles and push on.
So, what I am trying to convey to you, Yusoffians, is that, if I could do this, so could you. We are all created equally. Teachers, parents and peers are not the only factor determining a student’s success. Much depends on the student himself. Great desire and enthusiasm to strive for academic success have contributed to the student’s achievements. After all, excellence is not an act but a habit. And a habit is something that is done repeatedly. The teachers and the environment here are great; I will remember my days studying here as most valuable, most fruitful.
My Learning Journey in YI
by Khaw Zay Nyien
B4 in O Level English Language
5 O Level Distinctions
Valedictorian of 2010
YI was not my ‘choice’ school. It was my savior. Thanks to YI, today, I am able to live and study in Singapore. It was the school, who gave me the chance to be able to study in Singapore, develop my abilities and unleash my potential.
I came to Singapore in November 2006 to sit for a Placement Test. It was a test for international students who wanted to enrol into government schools. However, there was no guarantee that the students will be accepted by the school although he/she has sat for the test as it was organised by a private organisation. Most schools in Singapore used this test to decide whether or not the international students deserved a place in their school to study. At the same time, there was also another way of getting into the government schools which was to sit for an admission exam set by them.
I did not do well for my Placement Test. So, I had to find schools which conducted admission examination so that I could get a school in Singapore. After searching a school for about one month, I finally managed to find two schools which conducted admission examination for international students. They were Yusof Ishak Secondary School and Pioneer Secondary School. I sat for the admission examination of both schools. Both schools replied me via mail about my score for the exams. However, none confirmed whether I would be offered a place in the school. Instead, both schools asked me to wait for their calls for an interview. I waited for about a week but did not receive any calls. Finally, one day, just five days before my visa expired, my savior, Yusof Ishak Secondary School called me and asked me to come for an interview. I went for the interview and met the vice-principal. She briefed me about the school rules and regulations and accepted me. It was the beginning of my education journey in Singapore and little did I expect it would also be the start of an amazing school life journey.
In my first year at YI (also my first year in Singapore), I was unfamiliar with many things especially some matters like CCA, camps and projects. I had never done such activities back in my country. Fortunately, the teachers and my friends were there for me to answer my queries and helped me integrate into the Singapore education system. With their help, I quickly managed to settle in into the school life. I joined NPCC as my CCA.
The next year, 2008, was the most memorable year for me as many incredible things happened to me in the year. I was chosen to go for West Zone L.I.N.E camp although I was not a student leader (yet). The school sent about 15 to 20 students to the camp and all were student leaders except a few of us. Anyway, I really enjoyed the camp. I learnt so many valuable skills especially leadership skills through the camp’s activities. I must really thank the school for giving me such a great opportunity. This camp helped me to discover the hidden abilities in me and develop my leadership qualities.
After I came back from the camp, the teacher in-charge of ACSEL (it was called Academy of Student Leadership at the time) told me that I had been selected to become a student leader. It was a big surprise for me because I knew that the school had already chosen secondary one batch of student leaders in 2007 yet I was not chosen to be a student leader back then. At that time, I seriously did not know what being a student leader in YI entailed. However, as time went by, I came to understand what it meant to be a student leader and the role and responsibilities of being a leader.
Since I became a student leader, I joined the other student leaders in leadership training conducted by some external organisation like Trybe. The school sponsored these leadership trainings to train the student leaders of the school so that they will learn how to be a good role model/leader to the school population. Those trainings were really valuable and precious to me as they taught me many leadership skills and qualities, organisational skills and human and time management. I really appreciate the school for choosing me as a student leader and letting me attend these leadership trainings (at no cost) although I was a foreigner.
In the same year, I also participated in PLENS speaking which is a competition that judges the students’ public speaking abilities. I was chosen to represent my class in the lower secondary level. Although I was chosen to represent my class, I did not have much confidence to go up to the stage and give a speech in front of the school. I was not confident not because of my speaking abilities because of my pronunciation as I had difficulties pronouncing some words. Surprisingly, I came in first and won the competition.
Franking speaking, this competition taught me something – that Singapore is really a meritocratic society. Since I came over to Singapore, I had this feeling that I would not be treated equally since I am a foreigner. So, when I participated in this competition, I did not hope much. I thought the judges (the teachers) were definitely going to choose a Singaporean to be the winner of the competition. However, the teachers chose me over other Singaporeans based on my merits in public speaking. This competition was a memorable one for me. However, it was memorable not because of my winning but because it really changed my attitude. It truly made me believe that the teachers in YI are fair and do not discriminate against foreign students from local students.
In later part of the year, I was again chosen to go for a selection interview to be in ACSEL’s Executive Committee. I was interviewed by some school leaders. I passed the interview and became an EXCO member. I was also surprised to be nominated as an EXCO member as I thought becoming a student leader was already good enough for a foreign student like me. I did not think I would go further than that. However, the school again proved me wrong and showed me that they treat all the students equally regardless of nationalities. This really was a magnificent and precious opportunity for me as it provided a platform for me to show my abilities especially leadership abilities.
After becoming an EXCO member, I learnt how to lead and motivate people, plan and organise events and counter and resolve conflicts. I also became more outspoken and more aware of many things. I am really thankful to the school for giving me such a golden opportunity although I am a foreign student.
Not soon after, another surprise greeted me. I was offered Permanent Residency by the Singapore government. I believed that this had something to do with the school’s (recommendation) although the principal said he was not aware of this. Even if the school had nothing do with this directly, I still believe that it indirectly played a role. I said this because I believe that Singapore government offered me PR not only because of my academic results but also because of my involvements and achievements in school. However, these would not have been possible without the opportunities I received from the school. So, I am really grateful to the school for giving me such great opportunities.
Eventually, in Secondary 3, I was elected to be the President of the Student Council. I achieved this position not because of my abilities but because of my friends’ (fellow EXCO members), the teachers’ and the school leaders’ trust in me. They voted for me and believed that I could shoulder the great responsibilities of a leader. Without their support, the position would never have been possible for me. It was these groups of people that paved my way and gave me the chance to show my leadership qualities and unleash my potential. I am really grateful and thankful to them for providing me with such an opportunity and believing in me.
The four years I spent in YI taught me that every Yusoffian counts, whether he is a local or a foreigner. Every Yusoffian will be given equal opportunities to shine and make a name for himself provided he is willing to put in the hard work and persevere in all that he does. YI provided me with just that!
Why Yusof Ishak Secondary School Is My Choice
By: Chong Wei Jie / 1E1 (2011)
What helped me to make up my mind about making YISS as the school of MY choice was when I heard from my sister, who is currently an upper secondary student in the school, complimenting her peers for their strong display of team spirit and sportsmanship. Immediately, I felt that YISS was the best choice of school for me. After spending about a month in the school, I am more convinced that I had made the right move.
YI provides an all-rounded education for her students. There is a good balance between the academic and non-academic co-curriculum. There is time for me to pursue my interests and time to reflect on what I have learnt.
The school has a team of dedicated non-teaching staff, caring teachers and pleasant leaders who take good care of us. They are attentive to the needs of students. Their sincere attention to detail and efficient support helped the secondary ones transit with ease into a new environment and new school system. Many of us may think that YI is just a neighbourhood school, but the teachers pay close attention to the students and make sure that we do our best and strive for success in all that we do.
With the many international students in the school, I am enjoying the fellowship of the students from diverse cultural communities. I feel proud to be able to declare to my ex-classmates that I now have friends from China, Indonesia, Myanmar, and Thailand. I am beginning to learn many new things about their cultures. For me, this is a pivotal learning step in my life, as I would be better able to relate to people of different races in the near future.
I am proud to be connected with Singapore’s First President – Yusof bin Ishak – and be associated, though distantly, with our pioneers who shaped Singapore into a successful, first-world nation. Like what Mr. Chew, our Principal, once said, “If there is a RI, there is a YI.” It is not the school that makes you shine, but it is you that make the school shine.
I have faith in YI to nurture Curiosity, Creativity and Confidence in Yusoffians so that we will be Lifelong Learners who contribute to the Greater Good. I believe that guided by its core values, YI will deliver its mission of moulding Scholars, Sportsmen and Statesmen of all its students.