She overcomes dad’s health problems to tackle O levels
The O levels results for 2017 were released on Friday with 83.4 per cent getting at least five passes, a drop from 84.3 per cent in 2016.
The Ministry of Education said around 29,100 school candidates sat for the examination.
Out of this number, 99.9 per cent were awarded certificates.
Another 1,570 private candidates sat for the examination and 90.8 per cent were awarded certificates.
Hillary Heng Jia Xin, 17, from Northbrooks Secondary School, went from the N levels to O levels while juggling family commitments.
She scored 23 points for five subjects.
About a decade ago, her father, now in his 60s, was diagnosed with a chronic illness that caused him to make frequent trips to the hospital.
Hillary visited him regularly at the hospital, cooked for him and did housework. Her mother, who is in her 50s, works as a cleaner.
Said Hillary: "I do the chores and keep the home clean. Sometimes, I do wonder why I have so many other things to do when my classmates are just studying."
While Hillary enjoys Science, she said she sometimes struggles with subjects like Chinese and Mathematics. That's why she would study for 10 hours during weekends with friends to keep up.
She is also a recipient of the Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund and receives support from the Singapore Children's Society (SCS).
Her monthly visits to the SCS centre to speak to her social worker has inspired her to be one too.
Said Hillary: "The social worker there is very understanding and patient when she listens to my problems. It made me want to help others as well, whether they are young people like me who have to juggle school and other issues or young people with illnesses."
Last year, Hillary applied for early admission and got into the social work course at Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP).
"I was really shocked to get in. I didn't expect it because I've heard it's quite a competitive course," she revealed.
Her ambitions to help others were also highlighted during her stint as a senior warrant officer in the Red Cross Youth. Hillary helped to plan activities and bring juniors to old folks' homes, where they sang and did arts and crafts with the elderly residents.
"We also volunteered as First-Aid personnel at the Para Games. I learnt then that it is so different from doing First-Aid duty in school. It was much more stressful and we couldn't make any mistakes."
And as for other students who might also be fighting their own battles, Hillary has this message for them: "Just don't give up. It doesn't mean that if a situation is bad, there's no way out.
"There's always another angle to look at a problem and a way to overcome it."