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He worked part-time, even during exams

Brandon Lee, 16, Bendemeer Secondary School

Inspiration: "My own mind. There were many times that I wanted to give up, but I told myself to just keep going and not look back."

The second oldest in a family of five children, aged 10 to 19, Brandon Lee worked part-time at a Korean restaurant to earn pocket money - even during the N-level exam period.

After finishing his shift at 10pm, he would study at a 24-hour McDonald's outlet till midnight before returning home.

He lives in a three-room flat, which was not always conducive for studying.

"There were many distractions and my younger siblings would disturb me," Brandon said.

"I used to doze off in class because I had so little sleep."

Brandon, who is a member of the school's tchoukball team, trains up to five times a week.

His mother, a cashier, is the family's sole breadwinner. His father, a former crane operator, had to stop working after an accident when Brandon was in Secondary 1.

Brandon hopes to qualify for the Polytechnic Foundation Programme and enrol in a business or medical-related course.