Students of Institute of Technical Education (ITE) College Central at their Graduation Ceremony on 11 June 2013.
"To me, ITE represents a new beginning," said Victor Tan Wei Ming, 18 who used to have a weight problem.
"I often had negative thoughts about myself, but ITE helped me to overcome this problem," said Muhammad Asri B Yacob, 19.
Both Victor and Asri overcame their personal setbacks and difficult circumstances and graduated from the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) this year with the Sng Yew Chong Gold Medal and Tay Eng Soon Gold Medal respectively, for their outstanding performance.
"ITE offers opportunities for its students to explore their varied interests and to stretch their potential. More than just our joy and pride, ITE students have served as role models for everyone," said Senior Minister of State for Law and Education, Ms Indranee Rajah, at the ITE Graduation Ceremony on 11 June 2013.
A Nurturing Environment
"My teachers and friends did not make fun of my weight. Instead, they encouraged me to lose weight," said Victor, who decided to take charge of his life in the midst of his two years at ITE. His weight eventually went down from 140kg to 90kg.
It was the encouraging and supportive environment of ITE that motivated Victor Tan, 18, to persevere in overcoming his weight problem.
Previously, Victor suffered from low self esteem when he did not do well in his studies. Things went further downhill when he found escape from his troubles in the form of food and gaming. He also became a target of bullying. It was only when he noticed the state of his poor health that he decided to take action.
At ITE, Victor made friends who advised him on diet and exercise plans. But more importantly, they motivated him to persevere even when he felt like giving up. His lecturers were also aware of his situation and would encourage him by noticing even the smallest improvements he had made.
"The ITE lecturers are like our family. They actually care whether we do well or not and they are supportive of us all the way," said Victor.
Victor was also given opportunities to volunteer for community involvement projects with the elderly, disabled and poor, which gave him a new perspective to his situation.
"They were going through so much more and they never gave up. Here I was, just trying to lose weight!" said Victor, who hopes to continue to inspire and help others with weight problems.
Muhammad Asri B Yacob, 19, credited his success to his lecturers at ITE, who helped him to build confidence and self-esteem.
For Asri, it was the support of ITE lecturers that made a huge difference.
Failing the 'O' level English Language examination led to Asri losing faith in himself. When he entered ITE, it was with a sense of resignation and discouragement. However, he gradually began to appreciate the care and concern from the lecturers, who would take time to counsel him almost every day.
"My lecturers trusted me and gave me leadership opportunities, even when I never thought well of myself," said Asri.
Having experienced care and concern during his ITE days, Asri was inspired to do the same for others whom he encountered during community involvement projects. Tapping on what he had learnt through the Higher Nitec course in Electrical Engineering, he led a group of fellow students to install home safety and energy-saving amenities for needy families.
"I felt a great sense of satisfaction at being able to help others by using my skills learnt at ITE," said Asri, who now knows that performing badly at the 'O' levels did not mean he cannot go on to achieve other things.
"The main thing is to gain as much as I can in ITE and move on in life," said Asri.