From bad boy to model student at Singapore Polytechnic
Once a rebellious child who resented authority, Mr Liew Zheng Jie, 21, never imagined that he would one day graduate from Singapore Polytechnic (SP) with a diploma in chemical engineering and win a Model Student Award to boot.
At 11, he was caned three strokes in front of his class for truant behaviour.
Little changed in Unity Secondary School, where he was often late for school, sleeping in class or arguing with his teachers. All that changed when his English teacher, Mrs Isabella Teo, made him a class representative in Secondary 4.
"It was a risky decision for her and I still don't know why she did it, but that responsibility made me a better student," he said.
"When I visited my alma mater recently, the teachers were equally shocked as I won the Model Student Award," Mr Liew, who graduates later this month, is one of 21 recipients of the Model Student Award.
He is among 837 students in the pioneer batch of the Polytechnic Foundation Programme across Singapore's five polytechnics, which helped him familiarise himself with the resources and environment of polytechnic life.
In his second year, he completed a six-week internship at New Zealand's University of Canterbury, where he worked with researchers on synthesising polymers.