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Courage to Soar: Class of 2014

Tay Jin Howe Caleb (2T24)

Q: Who is your inspiration?
A: My parents do care a lot about my education and I do not want to disappoint them, and I want to work as hard as I can. I try to make them happy, and they also remind me that God is with me and help me keep high spirits when I’m feeling down. 

Q: What are some of the toughest challenges you faced in JC?
A: The long hours of school. I get tired really often when the school hours get really long. A lot of the teachers will arrange consultation sessions with me so I can catch up with my classmates. That really helped me a lot. Another problem was with my Math, because I couldn’t see my own handwriting and I couldn’t check my work thus I made a lot of careless mistakes, so that was a problem I tried to overcome.

Q: How have these challenges shaped you to become who you are today?
A: The challenges managed to help me instead of hurt me. It depends a lot on the people around me as they encouraged me and always reminded me that this was just a phase in life and they also encouraged me when I didn’t succeed. This really helped me push forward and give me the motivation to overcome the challenges I faced.

Q: Do you have any words of advice for juniors going through the same challenges as you?
A: I think it is very important to have hope and never give up because as long as you don’t give up and not lose hope, no matter what happens, [never discount yourself] and never give in to obstacles. If they are Christians, trust in God and no matter how bad things seem, God won’t leave you alone and He will help all of us.

Ong Ching Hui (2T01), 39th Student Council

Q: What was your motivation?
A: I was very lucky in CJ to have met people who motivated me. One of my best friends is also a top scorer. It was my peers who helped me. The thing about CJ is that we have a close teacher-student relationship. As I am in Student Council, I work very closely with the teachers and they encouraged and motivated me. They are very concerned, caring and they gave me a lot of helpful advice.

Ong Ching Hui.jpg
Q: What was your study routine like?
A: It’s quite simple, actually. What enabled me to do consistently well in JC was being consistent in my work. I studied regularly. I did the work assigned by my teachers and finished all my homework. I submitted work on time, read through the readings my teachers told me to and put aside an extra 3 hours on Sunday to catch up any work from the week before, including projects.

Q: What are your thoughts on last minute studying?
A: It’s very stressful. Throughout my 'A’ levels, I was actually not very stressed out and it was quite relaxing. I had consistently revised throughout the year and had sort of like a ‘back-up’ or foundation.

Q: What advice do you have for your juniors?
A: I think the best advice someone could have given me was to be consistent. It starts the moment you step into JC. As long as you do your work consistently and surround yourself with like-minded people who share the same, common goal with you. Surround yourself with people who want to succeed. It will really help you be motivated and bring you to your goal.

Q: How do you balance your studies with family commitments and leisure?
A: This applies to my idea of consistent work. As long as you keep yourself consistent and focused, you can finish your work relatively quickly. Pace yourself, set a routine and a timetable and that will really help you. JC would not be that stressful as long as you can space out time and manage your time properly. 

Uma Sharma (2T02), Political Science Society President

Q: How do you feel about receiving your results?
A: I feel quite happy actually, it’s a bit overwhelming, but I think it really helps when your teachers and parents and friends are supporting you.

Q: What advice do you have for doing well in Arts?
A: It’s a lot about understanding the content and applying it. A lot of the time people think that you can just memorise stuff, but I think it’s really about going the extra mile to find out why certain things happen. Basically it’s about understanding and not really memorising. And also I think you should enjoy your subjects because I really enjoyed the subjects I took, so I didn’t mind going the extra mile to learn stuff, outside my syllabus, so I think that really helped a lot, because if you like your subjects, studying won’t seem a chore.

Q: How do you think CJ has provided you with the opportunities to succeed?
A: I think CJ provides opportunities to a lot of people, especially those who know what they want to do, so if you want to do something, and you’re willing to work hard, CJ will provide the opportunity to you. Some of the opportunities that were provided for me were REACH Cambridge which I went for at J1, and the principals also approved PSS’s proposal to go to Hong Kong for Model UN, so it’s a lot about diversifying your experience in CJ and these experiences really make your experience more holistic and not just academic based.

Q: What was your best experience in CJ?
A: I think my best experience would probably be leading the PSS, because I think I really had a lot of fun coming up with initiatives and trying to push the society to contribute to the school in more ways, and all that. The second one would be REACH Cambridge, because it was a really interesting experience in how you view the the world and how you interact with other people around the world.

Q: Given that CJ has provided you with so many opportunities, how do you plan to give back to the school?
A: I hope to come back and help my society in terms of training sessions and I also hope to get in touch with the alumni group and help out with school events and come back as and when I can be of help to the school.

Sulaiman Azim B Mohamad Daud (2T02), HTC / Guitar Ensemble Vice-President

Q: Which CCA were you from and did you have any leadership positions in CJ?
A: I was the Vice President of Guitar Ensemble and was the Home Tutorial Councillor of my class.

Q: With quite a lot on your plate, how did you deal with your leadership responsibilities and your academics at the same time?
A: It was quite difficult, as I had a lot to do. Even after June holidays, we had CJ Celebrates, so there were times when I could only go back at 10pm after rehearsals. I think time management is the most important, with so much on my plate, we have to know our priorities very well. And what I did was I studied very hard during the week, but during the weekend I did stuff I enjoy. So thats what I did for a balanced lifestyle. But essentially what helped me get through was my family and peers that helped and motivated me. Towards the end of A levels, I had some anxiety issues when it comes to exams. What really got me through was my teachers and fellow peers.

Q: So your teachers and you peers were your pillars of support. How did they support you?
A: I talked to my CCA teacher, Mr Yu, about my anxiety issues. I was very jittery due to my exams. Mr Yu was very friendly and encouraging, and my source of inspiration was my teachers. My teachers who taught me, were very motivational and that really helped me.

Q: Do you have any advice for the J2s this year taking their A levels?
A: In terms of academics, you just have to be consistent. The drive will eventually get to you. Always believe in yourself, especially towards the start of A levels. 

Jiang Haolie (2T05), Speakers' Ink President

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Q: What motivates you?
A: Motivation serves an important role of carrying you through the entire A-Level period as well as being an arch-nemesis to procrastination. Motivation for me is the dopamine rush of ticking things off my to-do list haha. A very strong source of motivation is also finding meaning in what you’re studying and linking its relevance to your dreams.

Q: What are your future plans?
A: I’m looking into a degree in Political Science, Philosophy and Economics, either in Yale-NUS college or in the UK. For now, I will be serving the nation first.

Q: Any advice for your juniors?
A: You can’t do the A Levels on your own. Your teachers and your friends provide perhaps the closest and most readily available support net, both emotionally and academically. When the mugging season begins, never ever exile yourself from the CJ community. Always keep consulting teachers to ensure you’re on track and also form study groups.

Additionally, try to keep a balance between work, play and exercise. Play and exercise provide essential stress relief and this is instrumental in preventing you from burning out across the few months of madness. On a side-note, find a convenient and conducive place to study daily. A small change in your immediate environment can do wonders to productivity. The A-Levels are undoubtedly daunting, but not insurmountable.

Sean Wong Hong Shen (2T08), Dance Captain

Sean Wong.jpgQ: What was your motivation?
A: My class is very hardworking. Words of encouragement aside, seeing them put in effort makes me want to put in effort too. My teachers are also very encouraging and they expect a lot from us, so we push ourselves to succeed.

Q: What are your studying methods?
A: I try to sit down for a whole 3 hours to study intensively without distraction. I pay more attention during class and sleep early so I can focus better during lessons .

Q: Who are your role models? Who inspires you?
A: My classmate. She works really hard and stays up late to do her work. When i see her putting in so much effort, it motivated me to put in more effort. Another role model would be Trevor, the president of Dance (2012/3) and my close senior. He juggled many responsibilities and was also very positive, which influenced me.

Q: What are the qualities that these role models have rubbed off on you?
A: Effort, perseverance and positivity. We should study hard and play hard.

Q: What are your future plans?
A: To go to University. I want to take Sales and Business, a course that allows me to interact with people. I also want to come back and serve the school by tutoring my juniors.

Q: What are some advice you can give your juniors?
A: Know your optimum study periods. You should give your all during this time.

Yogen Thever (2T14), Patrick House Vice-Captain

Yogen Thever.jpgQ: How have the opportunities offered in CJC allowed you to develop as a leader?
A: The school has allowed us to take up a lot of leadership positions, in terms of CCA and House Leadership. Personally for me I took up leadership position in terms of being a House Vice-Captain (for Patrick) and this has allowed me to improve my leadership skills in many areas such as public speaking or simple things such as planning for events. Through these positions in CCA, and these opportunities, we get to meet a lot of people, and from there we also get to develop even further.

Q: How about your experience being an Orientation Group Leader?
A: It’s one of the most fun times I had in CJ, because we get to enjoy a lot and plan for events, and helped me a lot in terms of facilitation and allowed me to be more confident in terms of speaking and in terms of other leadership opportunities I actually went for Himalayas Outward Bound and this has allowed me to interact with other leaders and learn more about the different types of leadership, leadership styles that are out there

Q: Based on your experience in CJC,what are your plans for the future?
A: I intend to study Medicine whether local or overseas as the opportunities I have have developed me into someone who is able to work as a team, which is important in the medical field. I mean, as a doctor you have to be a leader in a way, and in CJ we also have many leadership opportunities. CJ has given us a lot of information for us to make informed decisions of what we want to be in the near future, so I believe this has helped a lot of students like myself in different areas.

Q: How would you encourage your juniors to follow in your footsteps to explore these avenues?
A: In terms of JC life I think you should get as many opportunities as you can and just go all out, just be consistent with your academics and just by being consistent you can juggle a lot of these things well. A lot of times people ask me how I juggle these kind of stuff, like CCAs and positions, it’s just being consistent all the way. By doing well on a day-to-day basis, it all adds up together and the final outcome is just the outcome that pays off. You’ll have this sense of accomplishment once everything is finished.

Q: If you could summarise your experience in CJC in a word or short phrase, what would it be?
A: “People.” It’s the people that I really like here, that I really enjoy spending time with.

Joelle Lam Yiting (2T18), Ignite, Student Council

Lucas Tang An Sheng (2T19), Ignite, Scout, St. Vincent de Paul, Music Ministry

Lucas Tang.jpgQ: How did you balance your CCA and academic life?
A: My CCA schedule was good - most of my CCA stuff was in the first quarter of the year, so once it was over I could just focus on my studies. I took an external CCA, which was Scouts, but internally in CJC I was in St Vincent de Paul and Music Ministry.

Q: What was your best memory in CJC?
A: Studying with my friends, having a group of friends to study with. It was not one memory but a consistent thing. If it was night study, I would study with my study group.

Q:What opportunities did CJC provide that helped you develop as a person?
A: The main one was to become an OGL. I managed to learn quite a bit about myself, and also at the end of J1 I went for an OBS camp trip, we really learnt a lot about each other. From being an OGL, I learnt confidence, and from OBS I just learnt more about myself. 

Q: What are your future plans?
A: I want to become a teacher and teach Chemistry, because that’s where my interest lies. 

Q: Would you return to CJC?
A: It depends on where I get posted to, but if the opportunity arises I will definitely come back here. 

Yeo Shaojie (2T24), Film Sound Video President

Amanda Ng Ren Hui (2T28), Environmental Science Society President

Amanda Ng.jpgQ: Did you hold any leadership positions in the school?
A: I was the President of Environmental Science Club and the class treasurer.

Q: How did you balance between your CCA activities and academics?
A: I’m quite thankful for my ESS teacher in charge, as they didn’t really chase me to get all my CCA proposals out at once. They provided a lot of guidance as well. I also had the help of my classmates, while juggling both my CCA and class position. During my breaks, when I finally have the chance to collect class funds, I might have some CCA activities to handle as well. My classmates would help me collect some of the funds and help me with other tasks.

Q: In what other ways did your classmates show support?
A: My class is very supportive. If we have any problems we can just share them and bring them up in class. People will be willing (and will volunteer) to give you an answer, and vice-versa. We work together well, and have team spirit.

Q: Other than your classmates, did your parents play a big role in your journey?
A: Yes, leading up to my A levels, I was actually losing motivation. My parents were trying to get me to realise that the “Runway is really short” and were trying to get me to focus. And even though scholarship opportunities are not so difficult to attain now, so she was trying to encourage me to get a scholarship. 

Q: Do you have any advice for the next batch of J2s who will be taking their A levels this year?
A: My general advice would be to do the homework assigned by the teachers. Even if you don’t do extra work, following the work the teachers assigned to you really helps. In CJ, even though I didn't do much extra work, the teachers know how to pace their students' academic life. They assign just enough homework for you to do well.

Darren Lai (2T30), Choir

Darren Lai.jpgQ: What are some of the challenges you’ve faced along the way?
A: I faced academic rigour. I studied day and night after prelims and the worst thing about life after prelims is basically you don’t have time for yourself. It gets to the point where you start valuing your worth based on the hours you have spent studying. My goal is to hit 10 hours a day and if I fail to do that, I’ll be extremely frustrated but on the bright side, I am still working hard and there’s some form of satisfaction in working towards the goal I have in mind.

Q: Who would you like to thank?
A: I would like to thank all my teachers in general but I would especially like to thank my home tutors, Mr Poon and Ms Amanda Ong. They were there for me when i needed them most. They didn’t give up on me and allowed for a lot of consultations.

Q: Who are your role models?
A: My friends. My classmates were always there for me and were very supportive. They had faith in me when i had none myself. Monty Oum, the famous animator, spoke constantly about hard work and efficiency, no matter what happens just go and do something creative. Even when i was studying, i was doing something creative like playing music or working on my animation.

Q: What are some of the qualities of your role models that you want to incorporate into your own life?
A: Resilience and perseverance. I find these qualities very necessary. Also, I wish that i was more sociable because  when i am studying, I am enclosed in one room and basically don’t interact. It becomes detrimental to my health and relations.

Q: Are there any advice you would like to give to your juniors?
A: Don’t give up. My senior used to say to me, hard work beats talent if talent doesn’t work hard. That was one of my driving forces that helped in my studies. 

Jeremiah Sng (2T35), Home Tutorial Councillor

Q: With such exceptional results, what is your motivation? How did you do it?
A: My main motivation is that I’m actually interested in the subjects that I’m studying, something that a lot of people don’t have. I think that studying things I am actually interested in gives me the drive and motivation in doing my best and also the possibility of pursuing it in the future, which is what drives me to try my best and master it as well as you can.

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Q: This interest that you speak about, which subjects are you interested in?
A: Literature and ELL, because I actually want to be a teacher and I want to teach either of these two subjects or General Paper in the future. So I feel that trying my best and doing as well as I can now will be good for my future pursuits at a higher level.

Q: What are your thoughts on last minute studying?
A: It does have its merits but it shouldn’t be relied on as an emergency plan. Even though last minute studying may help in terms of memorising certain important points or some tips that may allow you to do well but you need a good basic mastery of the subject to do well because if you don’t have the basic foundation of the subject, any last minute study won’t do much.

Q: What is one word that summarise your experience in CJ?
A: “Fulfilling”. Coming to CJ is not just about academic results, but so much more, because of the culture and the people and many events and opportunities you have to enjoy your school life and its more than a place that you study, it's a place that you can have friends who you can be comfortable around, and be as silly as you want around. Also, CJ is a place where you can push your limits and explore, it’s something more than just normal classrooms and lecture halls, but it’s really the whole atmosphere and culture that makes the whole journey a fulfilling one. To me, mere academics is not a fulfilling journey without all the other bonuses that CJ gives.

Interviews by CJC Editorial: Ang Si Jia, Wendy Gao, Grace Chen, Cindy Ho, 
Ashrita, Huang Guo Hua, 
Charles Mak, Lorraine Tan, Ryan Siew, Melissa Khoo, Boo Wen Si, Glen Tan, Simran Kaur

Photos by CJC Film Sound Video: Yip Feng, Chiew Jia Hui, Ng Zi Xuan, Pamela Ngui.