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A-Level Special: A Hotbed Of Excellence

Tue, 03/19/2019 Shawn Tan
A-Level Special: A Hotbed Of Excellence

With a track record of consistently achieving sterling academic results, Hwa Chong Institution (HCI) continues to set the bar high with another strong showing by the Class of 2018 at this year’s GCE ‘A’ Levels results release. Six out of every 10 students (60 percent) scored three H2 Distinctions and above, while 13 subjects recorded improvements from past years.

Among the top performers are Ooi Ren An and Neo Xuan Ling, who are both awarded provisional Public Service Commission (PSC) Scholarships in Engineering and Foreign Service respectively. Driven by a spirit of excellence and self-improvement as espoused by the school’s value of self-improvement with tenacity, innovation, and passion, a bright future laden with opportunities for holistic development lies ahead for them. BrightSparks sits down with Ren An and Xuan Ling as they share how HCI has provided them with a springboard for success by laying the groundwork early on, along with how their scholarships would help empower them to make a difference.

Greasing The Wheels Of Passion

At HCI, a research-based curriculum is used where students are encouraged to employ a disciplined mind to explore possibilities, pursue and develop their areas of interests, and create platforms to forge breakthroughs in today’s knowledge-based economy. For Xuan Ling, who achieved six distinctions, plenty of room for growth and learning was found in the many programmes she took part throughout her schooling years, such as the Bicultural Studies Programme (Chinese) and her role as President of the Music & Dance Society. “Junior College was part of my teenage years, so it really shaped me in a different way,” shares Xuan Ling. “I am most grateful that the opportunities expanded my worldview, which led to me taking an interest in what’s happening in the world. It also shaped some of the principles and morals that I have right now.”

The school also affords autonomy for students to explore and develop themselves – something which enables Ren An to pursue his interest in Science and Math freely. “We are given ample space and time to conduct projects on our own accord,” he says. “Being on the Science Student Research Council, my team and I designed a booth at the Science Festival where we demonstrated and explained the concepts behind ferro fluid to the student body. Activities like these allow me to explore science with freedom while improving soft skills like communicating with an audience.”

Rooted In Responsibility

The duo’s choice of scholarship is also influenced by another of HCI’s enduring values: remembering one’s roots. Xuan Ling believes that a PSC Scholarship in Foreign Service not only aligns with her interests in current affairs and international relations, it also gives her a platform to contribute to society. “I’m thankful for the opportunities given since primary school, so it feels natural to give back through foreign service,” she explains.

Likewise, making a difference through leadership appeals greatly to Ren An. “For PSC, you’ll be placed on the Public Service Leadership Programme upon completion, which will hone your leadership skills along the way,” he shares. “I want to be able to give back to society in my largest capacity, and the experiences gained as a scholar would give me the best opportunities to do so.”

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