N-Level student passes thanks to teacher who paid for books, uniform
Spectra student almost did not make it into the school due to tight finances
Prithiba Kandasamy, 16, thought her journey "was over" when she did not have money to afford books and uniform for her Secondary 1 orientation at Spectra Secondary School.
Finances were tight for Prithiba's big family. Back then, her family of nine members across three generations had to rely on only two sets of income, and they were having trouble making ends meet.
But things changed when she received a call from her then form teacher, Miss Grace Ho, who, when informed of Prithiba's situation, offered to buy her books and uniform without hesitation.
Prithiba said: "She said come and I will help you. That was when I knew Spectra was the school for me."
Coming into Spectra as part of the pioneer batch in 2014, Prithiba had her doubts and was unsure of how the school and its teachers would be like. Disparaging comments from relatives did not help as well.
She said: "When people found out I was going to the technical stream, they told me it is no good already. You are useless, if you go ITE, it is over. That made me really scared."
However, four years at Spectra gave her confidence and hope and pushed her to do better.
Prithiba said: "When I was in foundational class in primary school, I thought I was stupid. I never received any awards.
"But here, I first received the Student of the Month and Miss Grace hugged me. I can still remember how that felt like."
Prithiba joined her school's hip-hop dance club and chose retail services as her ITE Skills Certificate subject. A stint at candy store Hershey's at Resorts World Sentosasealed her passion for customer service.
She said: "I love to talk and interact with people and finding out what they want or need.
"My supervisor at Hershey's taught me how to say buy one get one free in Mandarin to tourists and many of them were shocked when I could say it."
Miss Ho, 45, Prithiba's retail services teacher, the one who helped her in Sec 1, said: "Prithiba has a hunger for learning and is not afraid to ask questions or try new things."
At the release of her N-level results yesterday, Prithiba got an A for English and Tamil and a C for mathematics, which delighted her as she had received a U-grade for her mathematics throughout school.
Her mother Uma Kandasamy, 37, a customer service officer, said: "I am proud of her and so thankful to her principal and teachers who helped motivate her."
Prithiba hopes to pursue retail services when she heads to ITE next year.