Ng's passion drives St Anthony's handball teams
Ng builds St Anthony's handball teams from scratch
Ng Shilin has a motley crew of students in her team, including a dancer, a concert band player and a debater.
They barely had any sports training when they first joined her handball team at St Anthony's Canossian Secondary School.
In fact, handball is only a second Co-Curricular Activity (CCA) there.
Despite the obstacles, the teacher-coach led both the B and C Division girls to victory at the Schools National handball championships this year.
The double feat was by no means a fluke. It all boiled down to Ng's passion and dedication.
The 31-year-old toyed with the idea of starting a team when handball was first introduced to the Schools National in 2011.
She started by training her netball team. The next year, they clinched the second place in the B Division.
"We managed to win something. It helped them to transfer some of their fighting spirit into netball as well," said Ng, who is a nominee for this year's The New Paper's S Soocelaraj Award, which honours the top teacher-coaches in Singapore.
Things were not always smooth-sailing as the team did not have a handball court to train on.
"We had a big carpark and we used chalk to draw the courts on our own before every training session," said Ng. "We took about 15 minutes to draw the court, but they had fun."
With help from her then-principal and the Handball Federation of Singapore, Ng acquired the equipment for her team to train.
She also roped in players from external handball clubs to play friendly games with her small team.
In 2013, Ng exposed more students to handball by introducing it as a module in physical education class.
"I could start to sieve out players from there, that was my grand plan," joked the Subject Head of PE.
As students became interested in the game, they started to stay back in school to play. One of them was Britney Khoo.
"Ms Ng explains really well and she helps us play better. The way she lets us play is really fun," said the 14-year-old debate student, who has taken up handball as a second CCA.
Ng also makes sure her players can cope with their studies by making them sign a contract.
Britney, a Secondary 2 student, added: "She really inspires us. One time, she stayed back with me and some other girls to help us with our studies.
"She isn't just a teacher, she's also like a friend."
To think that Ng almost lost a chance to teach - she was once rejected from the National Institute of Education (NIE). But she re-applied three years later and got in.
Ng first knew she wanted to teach when she returned to her alma mater, Methodist Girls' School, to coach netball. Then 19, she enjoyed building rapport with her students.
She then found her passion for handball after playing for the Kent Ridge Hall team in the National University of Singapore.
Ironically, Ng took netball off out of PE class to introduce handball.
"Netball is very restrictive because only certain people can shoot.
"Everyone can shoot in handball and I think no one can deny that shiok feeling when you put in a goal.
"I think that's what keeps everyone coming back."
Soilbuild Group is a leading integrated property group with a successful track record of constructing, developing and managing an award-winning portfolio of residential and business space properties.
Through its history spanning over close to four decades, Soilbuild believes firmly in integrating corporate citizenry principles into its business.
We are committed to supporting programmes and initiatives that benefit communities and environments in which we operate, with the Group's Corporate Social Responsibility efforts dedicated towards learning, developing sustainable environments and nurturing talents for the built environment. One of the key programmes which the Group has been supporting since 2012 is The New Paper's S Soocelaraj Award for teacher-coaches.
The award recognises the individuals behind the young sports stars, teacher-coaches who spare no effort in guiding their students to success in addition to their primary role as educators in the classroom.
Their dedication towards guiding these stars is second to none.
"During my days in school, every star sportsman had a teacher-coach behind him.
"The lessons on perseverance for success imparted by these mentors have continued to guide me in my business," said Lim Chap Huat, Executive Chairman of Soilbuild Group.