She graduates from ITE with perfect GPA despite struggles
Despite passing English only twice in secondary school, Miss Cheng Shi Hui, 19, graduated from the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) College West with a perfect grade point average (GPA) of 4.
She recently won the Lee Kuan Yew Model Student Award too, on top of the Lee Kuan Yew Technology Award she and three other members clinched for their project at the Energy Innovation Challenge last year.
During her two years studying for a Higher Nitec in mechanical engineering, she took up part-time waitressing jobs.
On weekends, she works from 7.30am to 5.30pm at a luxury hotel in the Marina Bay area.
Sometimes, she takes on another job at a restaurant from 6pm to 10pm.
She has been working part time since she was 14, when her father became jobless for about a year after an accident.
She became her family's sole breadwinner - her mother was ill and her older brother was preparing for his O levels.
Miss Cheng, now a first-year mechanical engineering student at Ngee Ann Polytechnic, said: "It was a stressful period, because I had to ensure that the bills were not stacking up."
Plus, her mum's health problems required plenty of attention, making it difficult for Miss Cheng to juggle everything.
She said: "I love my family. I believe they are proud of whatever I am doing, and it pushes me to do my best."
At ITE College West, Miss Cheng was president of three clubs - the Mechanical Engineering Club, ACE Club and Gavel Club.
The ACE Club is an additional platform for students with a GPA of 3.5 and above to showcase their projects and talents.
The Gavel Club is for students who want to hone their public speaking and communication skills.
Miss Cheng's responsibilities for these clubs included planning events for the juniors, taking part in competitions, conducting pitches and holding weekly meetings for students to improve their public speaking skills.
She initially wanted to join only the Gavel Club to improve her English, but her lecturers encouraged her to join the two other clubs too.
Dr Goh Mong Song, principal of ITE College West, said: "We are happy for Shi Hui. She has a positive attitude and the willingness to learn skills inside and outside class.
"With such a spirit, she has learnt to use her engineering skills to innovate and solve problems."