Class of 2021 Soaring
– Vol 2

Class of 2021
Soaring

VOLUME TWO

Eunoia’s Student Leaders have a significant impact on each student’s Eunoia experience. Their contributions make college life the rich, vibrant and unforgettable experience it is. In Volume Two, Andre, Bin Xin, Vanessa, Mayanee and Rowena share insights gleaned from their leadership of various projects.

PHOTOS BY AARUSHI SALUNKHE, TIFFANY LIM, ZOU YAN FANG, NIKITA PARMAR

Andre Koh

ALUMNUS OF CATHOLIC HIGH SCHOOL

Andre Koh (20-I5) led and was involved in a wide range of projects in EJC and displayed a spirit of excellence in all he did. He was a highly regarded House Captain, pursued H3 Economics and was a part of Beautiful Minds - truly an all-rounded student. Andre related to his peers with empathy and sensitivity and used his talents for the greater good: seeing his friends struggle with certain types of Physics practical questions, he created a guide that he shared with the whole cohort.

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT YOUR RESULTS AND WHY? WHAT ARE YOU GRATEFUL FOR?

The results release was indeed an emotional rollercoaster ride. Upon receiving my results, while there were mixed feelings initially, I must say that I am immensely grateful for the hard work that I have poured into my preparation that has paid off. I think deep down, everyone was aiming for the golden 90 rank points, myself included. Nonetheless, I am satisfied with my results as they serve as an important testament to the values I have chosen to hold close to my heart in these short yet significant two years in EJC. There are many things I am grateful for: my family, my friends, my tutors and my faith have all played a monumental role in helping me be the person I am today. They were all vital pillars of support for me in this gruelling and difficult journey. The road to the A-levels is not one meant to be travelled by alone, and I am deeply appreciative of the many individuals in my life who supported, encouraged and motivated me in this particular battle.

WHAT WAS A SPECIFIC CHALLENGE OR 'LOW POINT' YOU FACED IN 2020-2021? HOW DID YOU OVERCOME IT?

A challenge that proved to be a monumental task for myself was juggling different commitments during Orientation 2021, Helios. Along with my responsibilities as House Captain, leading planning, and executing the various House activities as part of the Orientation programme, I vividly recall squeezing as much time out of my schedule as I could to study for my H3 Game Theory course, execute both of my Glide Projects - EJ Beautiful Minds and EJ Loves Food - as well as my leadership commitments in my youth fellowship group. The challenge was not solely about time management, but about being able to give my best in each of these roles. I was very fortunate to have relentless support from my peers in different domains of my life, and this made it easier to tide through this period. Whenever I needed something, I could always count on my friends and family who always made an effort to support me. The idea of a community without walls, always making an effort to reach out to one another for sincere support and genuine help was what I experienced and what helped me overcome the obstacles I faced at the start of 2021.

WHAT WAS THE MOST MEANINGFUL PART OF YOUR JOURNEY IN EUNOIA?

I cherish the relationships I have formed over the past two years. It may be hard to stay close once we go our separate ways, but I certainly will work on building the friendships forged in EJC. It is my belief that these treasured friendships are what truly make Eunoia, Eunoia. Years down the road, it is unlikely we will mull over our results or recall the tutorials we rushed to complete in time. What I think will stand the test of time are the memories of the shared effort put into planning events, the hours spent studying, tears shed, and conversations shared.

WHAT IS YOUR SECRET TO A FULFILLING JC LIFE / BALANCING YOUR COMMITMENTS AND YOUR ACADEMIC PURSUITS? WHAT ADVICE / ENCOURAGEMENT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SHARE WITH YOUR JUNIORS IN JC2 AND JC1?

Try. You never know your limit until you’ve finally reached it. And so in pursuit of identifying your limits and boundaries, keep trying, again and again. Passionate people, in my experience, give their best in everything they do. That has been a principle that I hold close to my heart and continue to live by. To my juniors, your time in EJC is a blank canvas ready for you to paint your own story; the colours and materials have all been laid out for you. Treasure your time in EJC. The academic demands are high, but you will forge lasting friendships and memories of times shared with your friends.

Thoo Bin Xin

ALUMNA OF CHIJ ST NICHOLAS GIRLS' SCHOOL

Thoo Bin Xin (20-O1) was part of the MOE Humanities Scholarship Programme and she revelled in the interdisciplinary analysis that helped her harness what she learned in the classroom to serve others. She was also one of the five students who were selected to be part of the Community Engagement Scholarship Programme (CSP) and she truly exemplified the programme’s aim to develop community leaders, and to provide students with platforms to exercise their leadership and influence. She strongly believes that all children should have access to equal opportunities to learn, and is determined to make a difference to the lives of children who do not enjoy the same opportunities as her. This spurred her to find out more about the lives of children from low-income families, and later founded the initiative, Sense for Sense, in collaboration with a local volunteer group, 6th Sense. She was part of a small team that led 120 students in the college to pool together their knowledge, interests and talents to design thematic lesson plans and activity kits for the children living in the rental blocks in Kebun Baru.

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT YOUR RESULTS AND WHY? WHAT ARE YOU GRATEFUL FOR?

Initially, I felt a pang of disappointment that I did not do as well as I had hoped. But reflecting on where I was during the A-levels definitely allowed me to be content that I did my best with what I had. Beyond that, I too had an enriching experience over these two years; I was able to develop my passions and grow as an individual. I am grateful for all the friends and teachers that have supported me, especially at my lowest. I really could not have done this without them. I am truly pleased that we all made it through these two years and there is truly so much to be hopeful about for what lies before us.

WHAT WAS A SPECIFIC CHALLENGE OR ‘LOW POINT’ YOU FACED IN 2020-2021? HOW DID YOU OVERCOME IT?

In 2021, I began to seriously doubt my self-worth as a JC student. In addition to that, I had my own problems at home that weighed heavily on my shoulders. “I was never a straight A student, and never got onto the Dean’s List; how can I make it to A levels? If I cannot guarantee my grades in A levels what else do I have?” It was a difficult time trying to balance my responsibilities as a student and a daughter, facing what seemed like an ever-narrowing window of opportunity to make something of my JC journey. I spiralled and, at one point, considered dropping out of school. It was only until I reached out to my teachers that I gradually was able to pick myself up. The support system consisting of my teachers and friends grounded me in the last few months of 2021, and helped me see that there was a way to make it through the A-levels. It showed me that having a strong support system is so, so important. Though my time here was short, the growth and perspectives I got to see and experience was truly extraordinary. JC is no easy marathon, but with the right kind of support, we can all make it to the finish line.

WHAT WAS THE MOST MEANINGFUL PART OF YOUR JOURNEY IN EUNOIA?

The most meaningful part of my journey in Eunoia was certainly the opportunities to volunteer that I was presented with. With school being a safe and nurturing space to pursue our passions, I was able to create for myself a unique JC experience. I am truly grateful that I was given such a space to explore and develop my skill sets. Of course, I also cannot forget the times I have spent with my classmates; they made JC life rewarding even amidst the challenges the pandemic posed. The laughter we shared and memories we have made are things I will cherish.

AS THE PIONEERING BATCH OF COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT SCHOLARS, WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE YOUR JUNIORS TO ENCOURAGE THEM TO PRACTISE GOODWILL TO ALL?

I think regardless of what programme we are in and title we have, it is important to remember that we are fundamentally humans on our own journeys. Life has its ups and downs, and we all need a little bit of encouragement to carry on. We can never fully understand one another, but we can definitely help to light the way, even if only for a little while. Take some time to listen to the stories of others and see what you can do to support their journey! We really do not need to do grand things to show that we love and care for someone; sometimes even a short note makes all the difference. Jiayou Juniors!

Vanessa Law

ALUMNA OF CHIJ ST NICHOLAS GIRLS' SCHOOL

Vanessa Law (20-U1) was a Bicultural Studies Programme Scholar and a member of the Student Council. She was one of the Student Council OICs for the first Online Open House 2021, demonstrating creativity and foresight as she led her team through uncharted waters. She conceptualised videos to showcase the vibrant student culture and made plans to coordinate the contributions of different groups of student leaders to create a very successful open house.
As a recipient of the MOE Bicultural Studies Programme (BSP) Scholarship, Vanessa cultivated a deep intellectual curiosity and passion for engaging both Eastern and Western perspectives. She displayed a high capacity for independent and self-directed research, attaining an Achievement Award for her outstanding research that she presented at the National BSP Symposium in 2020.

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT YOUR RESULTS AND WHY? WHAT ARE YOU GRATEFUL FOR?

I did not expect much initially given that there were a few parts of the papers that felt like curveballs to me. However, I believe that the spotlight here should be on my teachers – their generosity in sharing their knowledge and wisdom has truly shaped my perspective of the world and I am immensely grateful for them. Being an (overly) independent person, I rarely take the initiative to seek help. Despite this, the sense of security that I gained from my teachers' effective lessons and feedback convinced me that I could not have asked for a safer learning environment than the one I had in EJC.

WHAT WAS A SPECIFIC CHALLENGE OR ‘LOW POINT’ YOU FACED IN 2020-2021? HOW DID YOU OVERCOME IT?

A ‘low point’ that I have reflected on a lot would be the period after promos, when I did very poorly for Maths for the first time in my life. To make things worse, the underperformance persisted till the mid-year exams of JC2. That was when I realised how I had to completely change my attitude towards studying for Maths and revamp my revision plans. The biggest lesson that I have learnt from this experience was humility. It takes a lot to look squarely at our inadequacies and take concrete steps to improve, even when the going gets tough. I hope for all of us to be able to understand fully how humility can be so important in every aspect of our lives.

AS ONE OF THE STUDENT COUNCIL OICS FOR OUR VERY FIRST ONLINE OPEN HOUSE,
WHAT DO YOU THINK BEST REPRESENTS THE VIBRANT STUDENT CULTURE IN EJC?

When we talk about the vibrant student culture in EJC, there is always one feature that is unmistakably true – the diversity of backgrounds from which Eunoians come. Each of us brings to the table different talents, knowledge and values, and as OIC, what was most memorable for me was how everyone had a story to tell and these stories intersect at the most interesting junctures. This then forms the connections of new identities, ideas and innovations that prove to be a valuable opportunity for a new college community.

WHAT ADVICE / WORDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SHARE WITH YOUR JUNIORS IN JC2 AND JC1?

The biggest lesson that EJC has taught me is to do everything with an open heart. This can be applied to everything that we do: learning from our own mistakes, learning from our friends and even acquaintances and treating others as we would ourselves like to be treated. I think it is important to recognise that there are many things that are bigger than ourselves, and to shift our focus from ourselves to the people around us so we can try to make their lives better. For me, this ought to be a key takeaway from an education.

Mayanee Chai

ALUMNA OF CHIJ ST THERESA'S CONVENT

Mayanee Chai (20-O2) was a highly respected Captain of EJC Hockey. She was empathetic, communicated effectively with her peers, coaches and teachers, and was committed to building a strong, cohesive team. Mayanee took great pride in her role as Captain and made it a point to focus on developing a safe environment and shared identity as a team. She initiated peer-coaching sessions outside of Co-Curricular Activity (CCA) time, further encouraging a positive, fun, and safe space for her teammates. Her teammates looked up to her as a role model, both for her proficiency in the sport as well as her ability to lead.

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT YOUR RESULTS AND WHY? WHAT ARE YOU GRATEFUL FOR?

‘WOW’ might best describe my feelings! I am so very grateful for my results, especially as I struggled with my sciences throughout my time in JC. I am filled with gratitude towards my peers who have struggled alongside me and for the way we were there for each other and pushed each other on. I am thankful for my teachers who took the time to attend to my questions during consults. I am also grateful for the low moments throughout my JC journey that have really humbled and shaped me.

WHAT WAS A SPECIFIC CHALLENGE OR ‘LOW POINT’ YOU FACED IN 2020-2021? HOW DID YOU OVERCOME IT?

There were many low points throughout my JC life, and most of them were due to my poor academic performance, primarily in Biology and Chemistry. As the prelims approached, I slowly lost interest in these subjects, and that made studying for them even more challenging. Frankly, the light that saw me through it was the knowledge that I would not have to do it again. I also had amazing classmates who shared their notes with the class. Though studying sometimes felt like a huge chore, it was never lonely. We even had a class Discord channel to encourage and keep each other company while studying. It was the small notes of encouragement from each of my classmates and teachers that pushed me to keep working hard. Knowing that I was not alone made the seemingly endless battle less overwhelming.

WHAT WAS THE MOST MEANINGFUL PART OF YOUR JOURNEY IN EUNOIA?

There were so many meaningful moments in my journey in EJC, but the most meaningful thing are the relationships forged in these 2 years. I was surrounded with beautiful and wholesome classmates that were always so caring and open to helping each other. Being a part of 20-O2 was my biggest blessing in EJC. They were an accepting bunch who were not fazed by any oddball moments. We were a whole lot of weird packed into one, but that is what I loved about it. It taught me to embrace and appreciate people on a whole new level.

WHAT ADVICE / WORDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SHARE WITH YOUR JUNIORS IN JC2 AND JC1?

To current Eunoians, I hope that you will appreciate the people around you, and capture the little moments that make you feel grateful. Truly, the people that you surround yourself with will shape and push you. Do not discount your efforts when you know you have tried, and do not let results and grades define your worth. Keep pushing, trying, failing, asking and picking yourself and others up again and again. A personal motto I live by and use to encourage myself is to “suffer now, suffer better later!” Wishing you guys the very best!

Rowena Chia

ALUMNA OF CHIJ ST NICHOLAS GIRLS' SCHOOL

Rowena Chia (20-A6) has contributed significantly to the raising of awareness of mental well-being in the college through her leadership of the GLIDE project, Beautiful Minds. She led her team to run effective campaigns to advocate for mental health and plan training sessions to equip her peers with skills to support one another. She also played a key role in co-creating CCE lessons on mental resilience with the teachers. The project gained a large traction within the student community in Eunoia Junior College, influencing her peers to be more open to each other and to seeking help, and helping them cope with the stress of life in junior college. In addition, Rowena was a dedicated Class Chairperson who did her best to strengthen the culture and lift the morale of her class in a very trying year. Her contributions to improving the well-being of her peers were commendable and deeply appreciated.

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT YOUR RESULTS AND WHY? WHAT ARE YOU GRATEFUL FOR?

It is a medley of yellow and blue. Realistically, I met and even exceeded my expectations. Idealistically, it could always be a little better. Nonetheless, I am proud. Not simply because I completed this marathon, but also because I grew, fought and never gave up. I am immensely grateful for all the teachers who never once gave up on me, all my friends who walked (and crawled) through, arguably, one of the hardest academic obstacles, and, of course, my family for trusting the path I decide to walk. These people deserve more than just a thank you!

WHAT WAS A SPECIFIC CHALLENGE OR ‘LOW POINT’ YOU FACED IN 2020-2021? HOW DID YOU OVERCOME IT?

My greatest challenge was not academic in nature but about personal growth. Perhaps surprisingly, my challenge was actually leading Beautiful Minds. Stepping up to tell my stories (to strangers) is never easy; advocating for such a sensitive and taboo topic is never easy; juggling passion and work is never easy. I could sit at my study table and rewatch lectures over and over again. Instead, I chose to step out of my comfort zone and I pushed myself to do all that each day.
I kept reminding myself that these were two years of academic rigour, but they were also two years of life. If tomorrow were my last day on Earth, I refuse to look back and see that all I have done is study and that I have done nothing for others, done nothing for my purpose and passion. Hence, I chose to be a voice for a worthy cause every day and strove to be better than yesterday.

WHAT WAS THE MOST MEANINGFUL PART OF YOUR JOURNEY IN EUNOIA?

It was definitely Beautiful Minds. There was so much thought , purpose, passion put into Beautiful Minds. The events, the late calls, the designing processes, the thoughtful considerations all led to this beautiful project that people hear, see and look out for. I cannot imagine my EJC journey without it. Beautiful Minds will always be a highlight, not just of my journey in Eunoia, but of my journey through life.

WHAT DOES ‘BEAUTIFUL THINKING’ MEAN TO YOU, AND WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO YOUR JUNIORS TO HELP THEM APPRECIATE BEAUTIFUL MINDS?

I see Beautiful Thinking as waves of kindness, compassion, sensitivity, in a sea of unstable currents. Beautiful Minds is not just a team of students coming together in a bottom-up way, but also involves collaboration with the school and teachers in the more top-down fashion we are used to. The fact that we are all involved shows how important mental health is to us as a Eunoia community. Like all the other projects, there is a lot of behind-the-scenes work that no one beyond BM would see: the thought behind each post, the sensitivity required to advocate, the mentality to think out of the box mentality so each batch of Beautiful Minders can own this project. I can’t ask you to support and agree with everything we do, I can only let you know that this project is never for ourselves, but for you and mental well-being in EJC and beyond.