Yesterday, a girl had just been elected into one of her first major leadership positions as the President of the Gavel Club in NJC. She found that there was no one person who was the most important on the committee. Friends on her team took it upon themselves to take initiative and play their part, while the teachers-in-charge worked silently in the background to make things happen. Yesterday, this girl rallied her team in NJC Greenlink as the team ran up and down 16 flights of stairs in a residential estate. They did not complain, but she could sense their frustration. The task of helping residents reduce energy usage remained as daunting as ever. But a familiar voice rang, “Do things of value, and do it with purpose”, and that lifted their spirits.
In between preparing for the Singapore Youth Festival performance and working on environmental conservation projects, she packed off for various service-learning expeditions to Myanmar, Vietnam and the Maldives where she worked with other students and built tube wells for the villagers, constructed a school and taught the native children. What she saw abroad made her more sensitive to local issues and ignited her passion to make an impact on the community.
But this story is hardly about this girl. It is about the people around the girl. It is about her teachers, her parents and her fellow students. Her teachers allowed her to make mistakes and gave her space to grow, learn and develop into a better person. Her parents provided mentorship and opportunities for her to explore things beyond the school walls. Her fellow students laughed and cried with her, gave her their unwavering support, encouragement and most of all, their friendship. It is because of the people around her that today this girl has the strength to continue to strive, and to continue writing her story.
Today, at Stanford University, she not only continues to pursue academic excellence, but also combines her academic study with service through an honours thesis that seeks to evaluate the effectiveness of parentalintervention programmes for children from low income families and provide policy recommendations on how the situation might be improved. This girl is proud to be an NJCian, and is proud to work towards service with honour.