Thank you, Presbyterian High School, for giving my daughter a chance! (ZB) – By Zheng Xuefen

Translation of a letter to Zaobao.
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It is so true that an opportunity you give others may well change their entire lives. The following is a personal account of mine.

My daughter got her ‘O’ Level examination results last year and despite her hard work, she could not even make it to the Institute of Technical Education. Well, my daughter is a slow learner and she has always had to work twice as hard as others just to get a pass. I remember her asking me when she showed me her results: “Mom, what am I to do? I cannot get into any school but I really do not want to start working so soon. I still want to study.”

When I suggested that she repeat a year of studies at school, she said that her school had stopped taking in repeat students. At that moment, I really did not know what to do. Imagine how painful it must have been for a 17-year-old not to be able to continue studying when she badly wanted to do so.

Fortunately, my daughter did not give up just like that. She went to her school the very next day and tried to get teachers to write her recommendation letters so that she could repeat her studies for a year. As my daughter was always well-behaved and had a good attitude, the teachers were willing to help her. One History teacher was even willing to give her all the help she would need during the year. The following day, I received a call from the school’s vice-principal who said she wanted to see me. At the meeting, she told me that she was willing to make an exception for my daughter and let her repeat a year because so many teachers had spoken up for her. Her condition was that my daughter had to stay back after school till 7 pm every day to finish the work assigned to her.

I thought my daughter would be happy at school because the chance to repeat did not come by easily. However, she became the subject of her classmates’ gossip because she was two years older. She also felt inferior because she was the only repeat student at the school. As a result, she sank into mild depression and lost 5 kg in just one month. One day, I saw her crying as she did her homework. I felt that I simply had to tell the vice-principal about my daughter’s condition. After I gave her a call, she immediately made arrangements for my daughter to go home earlier and reduced the amount of work assigned to her as well as arranged counselling for her. Gradually, my daughter was able to face her problems.

Although her ‘O’ Level results were not great, I knew she did her best to pass four subjects. Her vice-principal and teachers cheered for her and she told me that in that year, she really felt the care and concern of her vice-principal, form teacher and History teacher who all encouraged her, and that made her realise that so long as she perseveres, she will be able to overcome problems she faces in her learning journey.

This year, she managed to enter the Singapore Institute of Management and scored As in four out of the five subjects she took recently. She told me that her results were a present to the principal, vice-principal and teachers of Presbyterian High School and that she would always remember that opportunity they gave her.

I would like to thank the principal, vice-principal and teachers of Presbyterian High School because my daughter would not be where she is today if not for them. I also hope that other schools could emulate Presbyterian High School and not give up on students who need help because every opportunity given to them could be a life-changing one.

The Forum Page Editor notes:

The letter by Madam Zheng tells of her daughter’s triumph over her difficulties in studies. Hers is a “success story” of a different kind, one that is much closer to the people’s hearts. One can sense the compassion the school showed the girl as its principal and teachers never gave up on her and were willing to break away from the rigidity of rules and regulations to give this child a second chance. Such education ethos is truly admirable.

Our society tends to assess schools based on the examination results, but rarely notices the efforts some of them have made to help individual students.

A second chance given out of compassion could well change a child’s destiny. Slow learners may not be the most popular students at school but they should not be neglected either.

We hope this story would provide inspiration to other schools and parents as they educate and nurture the young.

share by Mr Tan Chuan-Jin

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image source : ” English Quotes “

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