LKY Model Student Award recipients from ITE persevere despite setbacks
Mr Muhammad Zaliq Husri was one of 10 presented with the Lee Kuan Yew Model Student Award this year, an annual honour that recognises Institute of Technical Education (ITE) students for all-round excellence and good character.
But his road to success was a bumpy one filled with setbacks.
After his father's sudden death from a heart attack a month before Mr Zaliq's N-level examinations, the devastated teen lost all motivation and ended up scoring 21 points.
He struggled to find purpose while at ITE College Central, and completed his Nitec in space design (architecture) in 2015 with a grade point average (GPA) of 1.75.
Mr Zaliq, 24, told The New Paper: "I chose the course on impulse, without any consideration on what I wanted to do for a career."
It was only during his national service that he was convinced by his supervisor about the importance of education.
That inspired Mr Zaliq to restart his studies at ITE. He pursued a Nitec in electrical technology (lighting and sound) at ITE College West and graduated with a GPA of 4.0.
He said: "I told myself that it was a 'make it or break it' period and I could not afford to repeat my past mistakes. I took it as a second chance and did it for myself and for a better future."
On being a Lee Kuan Yew Model Student Award recipient, Mr Zaliq - who is studying for a diploma in electrical engineering at Ngee Ann Polytechnic - said: "I have learnt that change has to come from yourself..."
Fellow recipient Derrick Neo, 20, also had to take detours in his education journey.
After being one point shy of the Polytechnic Foundation Programme's requirement to pursue a diploma in cyber security and digital forensics at Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP), he enrolled in ITE College East and took up the IT systems and networks course.
Mr Neo, 20, said: "I felt disappointed that my efforts had gone to waste."
When he didn't make the cut for his desired diploma course despite graduating from ITE with a GPA score of 3.8, he enrolled in NYP's common infocomm technology programme, which would allow him to study cyber security and digital forensics in his second year.
Mr Neo hopes third time's the charm.
Ms Low Khah Gek, chief executive of ITE, said: "We continue to be inspired by the transformation journeys of our students at ITE... We are very proud of their achievements, and hope their stories can inspire the success of many more students."