Saturday, January 15, 2011

Overcoming his failures

Melvil Seah's hard work and dedication to self-improvement helped him move from N(T) to Express stream.

HE SCORED a mere 127 for his Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) and could qualify only for the Normal (Technical) stream.

That was a wake-up call for Melvil Seah.

He told himself that hehad to buck up. And he did.

At the end of Secondary 2, he was promoted to the Normal(Academic) stream.

Later, he went one step further and made it to the Express stream.

Yesterday, the student from Yusof Ishak Secondary School was praised in front of the whole school by his English teacher, Ms Clarisse Ng, 44, for scoring 14 points for his L1R5 in the O levels.

The 17-year-old had already been accepted by Ngee Ann Polytechnic through the Direct Admissions Exercise.

He will be studying sustainable urban design because his favourite subject in secondary school was Design & Technology (D&T). He scored an A1 for that subject. Melvil's road to redemption started when he fared poorly in his PSLE. He was just not interested in studying then.

"I liked to play a lot," he said.

Realised he had potential

But when he did well in his first semester in Secondary 1, he realised he had the potential to do better.

At the end of Secondary 2, he was promoted to the N(A) stream. But he had to repeat Secondary 2 in the N(A) stream to gain a basic foundation before hecould go onto Secondary 3 N(A).

This was a condition stipulated by the Ministry of Education.

Melvil did even better during his repeat year andwas promoted to the Express stream in Secondary 3.

He said his friend shad helped him with his studies.

"Studying alone was boring, so a group of us would go to a friend's house for revision," he added.

"We challenged one another to see who achieved better results. This motivated meto study harder."

Melvil also had his teachers to thank. He had always struggled to pass English, his weakest subject.

But Ms Ng, who is also the school's head of department of English Language, held extra lessons three or four times a week for students who were weak in the subject.

Sometimes, Ms Ng and Melvil would return to school on Saturdays so the teen could practise his essay writing.

Melvil failed his English in the prelims but managed to get a C6 in the O levels - his best result for the subject so far.

"I was very relieved because I was worried I wouldn't pass it," he said.

He is also grateful to his Secondary 2 N(T) form teacher, Miss Mageswari Rajah, 28, who suggested that he should be promoted to the N(A) stream.

"Miss Rajah always helped me out with school work like social studies and D&T in Sec 3 and 4," he said.

Melvil said he would like to study engineering at a local university.

Jennifer Dhanaraj | The New Paper | Wed Jan 12 2011

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