They crossed international boundaries to top ITE cohort
When Miss Chloe Wen Qian Michaud moved to Singapore from Switzerland at the age of seven, she knew little English.
Born to a Swiss father and a Singaporean mother, Miss Michaud, who has dyslexia, struggled through primary and secondary education.
At her mother's suggestion, she decided to pursue her post-secondary education at ITE College Central, and it proved to be a good move.
The learning environment suited the teenager and she started to excel in her studies.
Today, Miss Michaud, 19, is one of the 11 top ITE graduates of the Class of 2019, holding a Nitec in business service.
At the 2019 ITE Graduation Ceremony yesterday, Miss Michaud was also awarded the Lee Kuan Yew Gold Medal, given to those who have excelled in their studies, co-curricular activities and contributed to school life.
Miss Michaud, who is pursuing a Higher Nitec course in human resource and administration, said: "The teachers in ITE are very caring. I'm not afraid to ask them for help if I have any difficulties with schoolwork."
Perhaps the icing on the cake for her was when she returned to her secondary school to share her ITE experience with her juniors.
There were 14,781 graduates at the ceremony yesterday.
Encouraging the group to strive for more, Minister for Education Ong Ye Kung, the guest of honour, said: "No single grade point average is going to determine your life. The key is to make sure that beyond ITE, you continue to learn and improve your skills."
Another top graduate, Mr Nathaniel Neo Jun Siang, also spent much of his childhood overseas.
Born in New Mexico, in the United States, he often shuttled between America and Singapore because of his father's job as an engineer with the Singapore Armed Forces.
He attended public school in America and returned to Singapore for secondary school.
Mr Neo had trouble fitting in, and found it difficult to make friends. He even took medical leave to avoid going to school.
He said: "When you're constantly moving, you're always making and losing friends. You don't see the people whom you're close with or made an impact with anymore."
The turning point came when a teacher asked him to prove that Americans could study.
Mr Neo, now 19, said: "I was quite offended, because I have American friends who were honour students and studied really hard."
Deciding to prove the teacher wrong, Mr Neo worked hard in Secondary Four and emerged as the top Normal (Technical) student in his school.
He enjoyed his time in ITE where he did a Nitec in electronics, computer networking and communications. He also took part in many competitions and represented the school at the Singapore International Robo Expo last year.
"ITE pushed me out of my comfort zone and challenged me to be a better version of myself," said Mr Neo, who is pursuing a diploma in biomedical engineering at Temasek Polytechnic.