ITE graduate never gave up on nursing dream
She gets model student award after overcoming health, financial difficulties
When Miss Siti Nurhajah Haron was 14, she was hospitalised for a week after she suffered a case of bilateral ovarian dermoid cysts.
During her stay, Miss Siti was touched by the warmth of the nurses around her. It was then that she knew she wanted to become a nurse.
But when she was 18, her father became unfit to work, suffering from diabetes and hepatitis C. As the oldest among her three siblings, Miss Siti had to withdraw from her nursing course at the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) College East and start working to support her family.
But she didn't abandon her dream of becoming a nurse. When her younger sister graduated in 2016 and began working, Miss Siti was able to resume the nursing course she had left years ago.
She re-enrolled in the course in 2017 and graduated last year with a perfect GPA of 4.0. She is now pursuing a diploma in nursing at Nanyang Polytechnic.
Miss Siti, now 24, was one of the students honoured at the ITE Student Achievers' Awards Ceremony held at ITE headquarters yesterday.
The ceremony saw 430 students being honoured for holistic achievements and excellence in co-curricular activities (CCA) and technological innovations.
Fifty-one students received the prestigious Lee Kuan Yew (LKY) Award - namely the LKY Model Student Award, the LKY CCA Award and the LKY Technology Award.
Miss Siti was presented with the LKY Model Student Award.
"Nursing courses are demanding," she told The New Paper. "But I still love it. There is always a satisfaction nurses will feel when they see their patients doing well."
Mr Lau Jia Liang, 21, was awarded the LKY CCA Award for his contributions as president of the Green Ambassador Club.
Mr Lau, who was in the Higher Nitec in service management course, was involved in about 25 projects towards saving the earth, and marine and animal conservation.
One project involved his team coming up with an idea in a South West Community Development Council youth challenge for a designated feeding corner for community cats - an idea that received a $10,000 fund to actualise and has already been implemented in parts of the south-west region.
Mr Lau was awarded the Harvard Prize Book award in 2018 and was invited to represent Singapore as a delegate at the Asean Plus Three Youth Environment Forum, sharing Singapore's environmental efforts with youth from other countries.
He said: "I am so happy that I received this award. I feel that I have really sacrificed a lot to get to this point."
Miss Siti is also happy to have received the recognition and to have finally graduated from her dream course.
Said her father, Mr Haron Tahar: "I am so proud of her. I never would have expected that she would win this award and it makes me so happy."