Cheryl Teo’s Path to Distinction
by: Leong Ren Kai Caleb (Sec 4A) and Joshua Ho (Sec 3B)
“I wasn’t expecting much, but when I saw my name on the screen, I was in a state of shock coupled with a tinge of relief.”
Cheryl was barely passing Mathematics when she was in Secondary 2 and Secondary 3. However, she emerged as one of the top O-Level students with an A1 in Mathematics. How did she accomplish this feat?
Cheryl shared that she was blessed with caring teachers and friends who supported her throughout her years in Fairfield Secondary. They would always encourage her whenever she was disheartened.
For example, Cheryl vividly recalled her close friend, Liesl, who supported her whilst she faced several obstacles. Her Mathematics teacher, Mr Kua Khuan Tiong, helped her to overcome her weaknesses in Mathematics through countless consultations. In addition, her Girls’ Brigade mentor, Ms Joanna Lim, went the extra mile to check in on her whenever she was emotionally and mentally overwhelmed from her preparation for the GCE O-Level examinations.
Besides the people who supported her in this journey, she also attributed her success to the decisions she made during the streaming exercise when she was in Secondary Two. She knew that she was creative and adept at making things. As such, she decided to take Design and Technology as an O-Level subject instead of Additional Mathematics at the Upper Secondary level. “I played on my strengths and interests! Just because everyone else was taking that subject didn’t mean that I had to as well.”
Through Design and Technology, Cheryl was able to hone her creativity which resulted in her coming out with many ingenious project designs during the course of her upper secondary years. It was also through doing a coursework subject like Design and Technology that she learned the invaluable lesson of time management and self-discipline. This was because she had to demonstrate consistency and perseverance in working on a graded portfolio for two years.
Also, while academic grades were of paramount importance, Cheryl remembered not to lose sight of her character education.
“I really appreciate the emphasis Fairfield places on character. My teachers not only pushed me to improve myself academically, but nurtured me to become a better leader and person. In moments of failures, it was my teachers who helped me to realise that it was the effort that mattered.”
Cheryl advised her juniors to clarify any doubts with her teachers as soon as possible. She also encouraged everyone to take ample breaks, have sufficient rest, and pace themselves so that they do not experience burnout. “It’s a four-year marathon, not a four-week sprint.”
Her advice is indeed helpful. Having a strong sense of personhood helped Cheryl to make good decisions, not give up when she faced challenges, and seek solutions to overcome her obstacles. In essence, these are Cheryl’s secret ingredients to her outstanding performance in Fairfield Secondary.