The GM All-Round Excellence Award recognizes GEMS who have excelled in both the academic and non-academic spheres. These GEMS are exemplary in conduct, display moral integrity, show care and concern for others, are able to work in teams and contribute to school, community and society.
Akid Mikhail Bin Mohammad Fadil, P4-1, 2020
GM All-Round Excellence Award Citation
As a member of the football team, Akid displayed passion and dedication to the sport. He led his fellow teammates as the Vice-Captain with dignity and respect. As an Orientation Group Leader, he was responsible for the well-being of a group of Secondary 1 students, befriended them and shared with them his experiences in the school. In 2019, he volunteered to visit a school in Chiang Mai. Akid put in hours of training as well as planning in order to ensure that his team truly added value to the lives of children in the village. Out of all the qualities that Akid possesses, the most celebrated thing about him is his moral compass. In an age where doing what is popular is more important than what is right, Akid is not afraid of going against the norm as he values standing up for what is right, even if it makes him unpopular. His commendable character makes him a rare gem in today’s world.
Akid’s Personal Statement
In 2017, I faced the daunting challenge of being accustomed to a new school environment. Everything was different and I found the curriculum challenging. I grappled to keep up with my studies and I recalled not achieving stellar results for my assessments. I was only scraping a U for Mathematics and C, at best, for English. This challenge continued well into Secondary 2. I simply could not understand why I had such a tough time scoring in my studies when my classmates seemed to be cruising along fairly well. I almost wanted to give up after two years of sub-par results. But I knew I shouldn’t, because there were many people who had placed their hopes on me to excel. I could not disappoint my mother and brother. I also could not disappoint my teachers, who had painstakingly imparted their knowledge to me for two years.
So I didn’t give up. Instead, I devised a plan.
What I did was to reflect on my personal choices. Did I put in enough effort in class and pay attention to my teachers? Did I complete my assignments? Did I clarify my doubts? With a newfound confidence, I stepped into Secondary 3 with a game plan.
In my first year in upper secondary, I kept a goal in mind. It was a simple goal – I wanted to do well in everything that I set out to do. First, I sieved through my friends. It is said that you are the average of the seven people that you surround yourself with. I knew I had to be wise in choosing my social circle. If I wanted to do well, I needed to surround myself with people who would help me thrive. I also willed myself to pay attention in class and paid no mind to any distraction that came my way. Soon, I realized that if I listened, internalized and practised, I could actually complete the once-seemingly daunting Mathematics questions. So I kept on listening, internalizing and practising. Soon, I grew to enjoy the subject. To make matters more exciting, I would challenge my tablemate to see who would score a higher mark during tests. Even when he scored higher than I did, I did not sulk. Instead, I took the opportunity to learn from him.
It was also at this time that I began to grow hungry for more. I knew I could excel even beyond the walls of the classroom. I just needed to prove to my teachers that I could soar as a leader. But it was tough because as a student grappling with adapting to a new school environment, I admittedly got into some trouble. They weren’t severe, but enough to affect the impression that some teachers might have of me. I knew that posed a hurdle if I wanted to pursue a leadership role in my class and CCA.
Again, I refused to concede defeat. I just needed to prove that I am a changed person and I could handle the responsibilities of a leader.
To prove that I was committed to my CCA, I reported to soccer training sessions an hour early for every session. I would train on my own to hone my skills. I also took the liberty to ensure the discipline of my teammates and encouraged them to be on their best behaviour, both on and off the field. I was determined to lift the morale of the team whenever we were defeated, and I made sure to affirm the cooperation we displayed on the field whenever we won. It was indeed a challenge to manage my peers because we were of the same age. But I knew if I wanted to be a leader, I had to overcome my own apprehension and reservations.
And believe that I could do it.
Indeed, I could.
Receiving the GM All-Round Excellence Award at the 97th Founders’ Day
Akid and his Football CCA mates. He was the Vice-Captain of the team in 2019/ 20.
Akid, with his fellow OGLs, in 2020.
Coming together with like-minded schoolmates to form a Handball team, Akid and his friends represented the school in the NSG Handball Championships in 2018 and 2019.
Lau Tse En, P4-2, 2020
GM All-Round Excellence Award Citation
As the Student Council President, Tse En was passionate about nurturing and developing not only the student leaders under his charge but also the student body. He broke new ground when he took it upon himself to share with the entire student body what GM’s vision meant to him and encouraged the students to internalise the vision for themselves. Despite him having many roles and responsibilities in other areas of his school life, Tse En initiated and included President’s Time during his weekly meetings with the student leaders to share leadership strategies to broaden his fellow student leaders’ perspectives. This is on top of the one-on-one sessions with them. One of Tse En’s personal bests and achievements was representing Singapore in the F1 in Schools International Competition in Abu Dhabi. Tse En stands as an exemplar of moral integrity for his peers and is well regarded by both students and teachers in the school.
Tse En’s Personal Statement
Adversities are inevitable. To some, the problems might seem so daunting and unsurmountable that one is tempted to give up. This was how I dealt with setbacks in my childhood years as I had a pessimistic outlook then. It was only through overcoming one of my more difficult challenges, faced during my transition into secondary school, that I experienced a mental shift in how I look at challenges. I now believe that it is through managing and overcoming our problems that we build ourselves up and become a better version of ourselves. .
I hadn’t always been a very hardworking student, but I would go all out to achieve my goals. During my PSLE year, my school exam grades were unsatisfactory. Thus, my parents sent me to many, many tuition classes in the hope of improving my results. Although I had a hectic and stressful schedule, I still pressed on. .
When collecting my results, I was excited and hopeful as I wanted very badly to enter an “elite” school, namely Anglo-Chinese school (Independent) (ACSI). To my utter dismay, my PSLE score was very far from the ACSI’s cut-off point (COP) and definitely not what I was aiming for. I was devastated. Besides being disappointed and confused, I lost my confidence, to the point where I struggled to converse with people, even those whom I was comfortable with - my peers and family. I did not know what to do or what to expect. I chose schools with COP around my T-score. I was hoping to get into a school of my first few choices but for me, it was a case of ‘When it rains, it pours’. I wasn’t accepted into the school of my first, second or even third choice. I got into Geylang Methodist School Secondary GMS(S), my last choice. .
I was emotionally and spiritually down. I was lost. To make matters worse, none of my primary school friends were entering GMS(S) so I knew I would be all alone. My family and I went to many schools to make an appeal, without any success. It was with an extremely heavy heart that I decided to resign myself to fate. .
Little did I know, GMS(S) was a blessing in disguise. .
Although I felt left out initially and had difficulty adjusting to a completely new environment, Ms Lai, my form teacher then, came and supported me. Despite her busy schedule, she supported me both spiritually and emotionally. She gave me many opportunities to regain my confidence and self-esteem, including appointing me Class Chairman, as she saw the potential in me.
She also encouraged me to join the Student Council as she felt that they would further nurture my leadership capabilities and develop me holistically. True enough, she was right! I acquired many skills and learnt the essence of leadership and mentorship, which the Student Council emphasizes on, while I planned and executed events, together with my team of leaders. I also had the privilege of mentoring my juniors to bring out the best in them. I truly treasure my experience in the Student Council as not only did I grow but I also had the honour of seeing how my juniors grew under my mentorship.
From a boy who had a pessimistic outlook on life, I was transformed into a courageous leader who is ready to accept any challenges. To echo what my principal, Mr Wee, told me, “We stand on the shoulders of our teachers and mentors.” None of this would have happened, if not for a group of very supportive people who entered and played an integral part in my life. They are my very supportive family, encouraging peers and most importantly, the teachers and school leaders of GMS(S). “When a teacher believes, the student achieves.” Indeed, they believed that I could do it, they believed that I could be challenged, they believed that I could be more than who I already am, and thus I achieved.
When the going gets tough, the tough gets going. No rough situation lasts forever. .
I would like to share what I tell my peers and juniors who are going through their own tough times, success is a state of mind. We think we can, and we are halfway there. We should remain positive and appreciate the fact that we have people around us who will light up our world in times of darkness. Stay optimistic and anticipate changes. I have discovered for myself that all schools are great - whether we have a good experience or not, is dependent on us (students). It is important though, to understand that setbacks are really unavoidable and that we should adapt and cherish what we have to the fullest, because who knows, it might after all, be a blessing in disguise.
Tse En leading the Student Councillors under his charge.
Tse En and the Student Council
Tse En and the F1 Team, representing Singapore in the F1 in Schools International Competition in Abu Dhabi.
F1 in Schools International Competition in Abu Dhabi
Ong Jun Yang Benjamin, P4-7, 2020
GM All-Round Excellence Award Citation
As Captain of the of the Basketball school team, Benjamin demonstrated unrivalled capability in handling pressure when he led and inspired the team to clinch the 4th Team Placing at the National School Games Basketball Championships (East Zone). A true sportsperson, Benjamin possesses exceptional mental strength, tenacity and a spirit of excellence. As an Orientation Group Leader, he was a role model to the Secondary 1 juniors, leading, guiding and mentoring them as they settled into the school. During his Overseas Service Learning trip to Chiang Mai in 2019, he quickly built rapport with the local schoolchildren with his friendly easy-going and approachable disposition. A meticulous and focused individual, Benjamin exudes a modest, down-to-earth appeal, which belies his resolute determination to excel in whatever he does. With a fine sense of responsibility, he possesses the talent to succeed in his future endeavours.
Benjamin’s Personal Statement
Back in December 31, 2014, while everyone was happily celebrating New Year’s Eve and getting ready to welcome a brand-new year, my family and I were at my most beloved Mother’s wake. I lost my mother to a silent heart attack. .
It was around 5.15am on that fateful morning and she was just beside me. I was in tears, trying my very best to wake her up until the arrival of the ambulance.
She was sent to the hospital and my family and I were brought into a small room. I was anxious and afraid that I might lose her. The doctor then came in and told us that she had passed on. At that time, the 9-year-old me was trying to process and figure out what it meant when my dad broke down in tears. My sister then told me that my Mother had passed on. At that moment, I was devastated and I wondered if I was dreaming or my sister had been joking with me. I just could not accept the fact that she was gone. .
After the funeral, I felt hopeless and depressed because I did not know how to live my life without her as I relied a lot on her. I realized then that she would not be here to help me anymore. My father was the sole breadwinner of my family and both of my elder sisters were still studying. How am I going to survive alone? But I know life still goes on and I cannot be depressed forever. I need to start to learn how to be independent. .
I was a playful, rowdy and troublemaking student in school back then and most of all, I hated studying. I knew my mother did not like my attitude towards learning, so I decided to drop all those bad habits and rebuild my reputation in school and outside school. I set a target for myself to be one of the top students in my primary school and make my mother proud. It was the first time that I experienced the first day of school without her. I woke myself up very early to make breakfast for myself. I told myself that I would learn to be independent from then on and not to create any trouble and respect my peers and teachers. After the first day of school, I realized it was not easy to wash my own uniform, buy food and do homework all by myself. .
I also had a rough time when it came to studies as no matter how much effort I put in, I kept on failing or did badly for my exams. Ffor the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE), I achieved a T-score of “192” and I cried badly as I did not achieve the target that I had set for myself. I felt that I had made my mother disappointed once again. I suddenly recalled what my mother used to tell me when I did badly. She said, “It is all right to not do well as many people fail to accomplish what they had set out to do. But it is not all right to not try”. .
After a few months, I managed to change all my bad habits and became a teachable and respectful boy and I learnt to be independent because I received support from friends, teachers and family members. When I was down, they were there to support me, giving me all the love and attention I needed. When I did not understand any questions, my teachers and friends would be with me, patiently teaching me. They are the reasons for my transformation. I managed to change all my bad habits because of them. .
I moved on to secondary school in the Normal (Academic) stream but my targets had changed. First, it was to be a respectful and teachable student; and second, was to work hard and be one of the top students for my N-Level examination. I managed to achieve both of my targets as I was one of the top students for N-Levels in my school in 2020, having achieved a total of 4 distinctions.
In conclusion, I have learnt to be independent, respectful and accepting of what life has given me. I stay positive even though until today, I still miss my mother a lot. I always hope that she could be here to celebrate my success with me and guide me through all the stages in my life. But I know that she is in a better place now. I hope that I have made her proud of me for what I have achieved thus far. It does not stop here as there are many more things for me to accomplish in life. I am going to carry on with this attitude and have the right mind-set to make my life even better for others and for myself.
Receiving the GM All-Round Excellence Award at the 97th Founders’ Day
Ben, as an OGL, guiding the Sec 1 GEMS in 2020.
Ben leading the Basketball team in 2019.
Overseas Service Learning Trip to Chiang Mai in 2019