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[email protected] NorthLight
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Teaching at NorthLight is a tall order. Many of the
students who join the school have low self-esteem, having
repeatedly failed their Primary School Leaving Examination.
Despite knowing the challenges, the teachers in the school
volunteered to join because they wanted to make a difference.
And they have. Thanks to these dedicated teachers, the students
are rediscovering the joy of learning. Like the true North of a
compass, these teachers help students find their direction in life.
The teachers are also like stars in the sky, giving their students
light and inspiration, even in dark and difficult times.
This book is a tribute to NorthLight’s passionate and
hard-working teachers. It has stories written by the grateful
parents and guardians of NorthLight students, messages from
the school’s principal and its vice-principals, and observations
from people who have worked closely with the school. The
warmth and sincerity of the various stories and messages in the
book are testament to the power of the NorthLight belief that
given the opportunity, every single student can shine.
ISBN 978-981-07-0048-5
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A tribute to the teachers
of NorthLight
How the dedicated teachers of
NorthLight are changing the lives of their
charges by believing that every single
student can shine.
NorthLight School
First published 2008
Copyright © NorthLight School
NorthLight School
2 Dunman Road
Singapore 439188
Cover illustration by Mohammed Faddly
Bin Mahari (3MS1) NorthLight School.
Book designed and produced by Ricejar.
ISBN 978-981-07-0048-5
Printed and bound in Singapore.
To the teachers of NorthLight
who never gave up
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The idea for this book came up during a meeting
of the NorthLight Parents’ Support Group some time
ago. We were trying to think of a suitable gift to show
our appreciation for NorthLight’s teachers on Teachers’
Day when someone suggested putting together a book
with messages from parents telling the teachers how
they have made a difference.
The result is [email protected] In this
book, the parents and guardians of 14 NorthLight
students recount how the school has transformed the
lives of their children and wards.
The passion and commitment of the staff and
teachers of NorthLight are plain to see. What may not
be so obvious is the gratitude of the parents.
Many of us have spent sleepless nights worrying
about the future of our children. As parents, we sleep
a lot easier now because our children, many of them
previously described as misfits, have finally found a
place where they fit in and thrive.
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This book also contains messages from the
school’s principal and vice-principals, as well as observations from people who have worked with NorthLight
and its teachers.
Every message is different, but all of them have
one thing in common, they all pay tribute to the
patience and dedication of NorthLight’s teachers.
We hope that the publication of this book will
spur NorthLight’s teachers on. We know that your
task is not an easy one, but we hope that seeing and
hearing from us the difference that you have made will
give you the strength to continue. Some people view
teaching as merely a job, but the teachers of NorthLight have shown that it is a true vocation.
Thank you for all that you have done.
Jimmy Yap
NorthLight Parents’ Support Group
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I am deeply touched by what the parent-contributors have done in putting this book together. Many
parents are very busy and may not be comfortable
writing, and yet they were willing to step out of their
comfort zone to do something meaningful for the
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because we have been listening to the students’ heart
beat and feeling their pulse in order to come up with
programmes that resonate with them.
Though many of them have repeatedly failed
their Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE),
they are talented in other ways.
We often tell the students that when they failed
their PSLE, they have failed in an exam, but this does
not mean that they have failed in life.
Many of our students are kinesthetic learners
and when we use methods that resonate with them,
we can see them shine.
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In NorthLight, we want to give hope and
purpose to these students because we know hope is a
powerful word for young people.
I must give credit to all the staff at the school,
both the teaching staff and the support staff.
The teachers have gone out of their way to show
the children the meaning of self-worth, to help them
see the importance of character development and
to redefine success for them. They often remind the
students that all of us have our fair share of problems
but we must not give up. Instead, we must learn to
overcome them and emerge stronger.
That is the idea behind our school colours of
purple and white. The purple represents the sky at
night while the white represents the stars. The darker
the night gets, the brighter the stars shine.
Our teachers have certainly played a vital role
in helping our students, the stars, to shine even in the
darkest of nights.
We have also been blessed with a community
that has been kind and supportive to us. We are very
grateful to them too. Some give in kind while others
give their expertise and time.
This is reassuring to us because we know that
though the journey is not easy, many people are running
this race with us.
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This year, our students initiated a project where
they helped senior citizens by installing energy-saving
light bulbs as well as thimbles on taps to reduce excessive water flow. Our students also volunteered to paint
the homes of these senior citizens.
It was heartening to see that our students have
moved from the receiving stage to the giving stage.
One of the senior citizens told our students,
“Today you light up my house, tomorrow, someone
will light up your life.” This remark moved our
students deeply.
I am happy to have been given this opportunity
to serve in NorthLight. The past one and a half years
have been a humbling and enriching experience for
All of us made a choice to serve in NorthLight
because we wanted to make a difference in the lives of
the students. What I’ve found is that in the course of
my work, the students have made a difference in my
life as well.
Mrs Chua Yen Ching
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Messages From NorthLight’s
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Seeing The Star In
Every Child
Those of you who know Mrs Chua know her as a
very powerful speaker. I once asked her where she got
her stories from.
“Look around you in NorthLight school”, she
said, “and you will find a story in every child.”
This book is filled with stories of kids who have
turned around, witnessed by the people who know
them the best – their parents.
They are stories of how our children have overcome some of the most challenging circumstances
imaginable, from complicated home environments,
bad peer influences, traumatic learning experiences to
poor financial situations, to emerge out of the darkness and shine brighter.
In NorthLight, we believe that every child is
special, has talents, aspirations and resilience. We
believe that everyone is teachable – that we can forgive
their past, work with their present, and hope for their
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Every single one of the stories in this book affirms
these beliefs. I hope that by reading through them, you
can get a small sense of how humbled I am to come to
work at NorthLight every day. It is not easy finding
the stars when it is dark. But a team of dedicated and
passionate teachers and staff working together with
committed parents can do amazing things.
When our children come into this world, we
believe that they are capable of the best. Somewhere
along the way, through heartbreak, hurt and disappointment, we might have forgotten this.
Let these stories, and the many more untold
ones, remind us that, no matter how difficult it may
be, we will always have the heart to see the star in
every child.
Chia Hai Siang
Vice-Principal (Instructional Programmes)
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Giving Students Hope
Since NorthLight School (NLS) was opened
in January 2007, the staff of the school have been
working hard to develop and implement meaningful
programmes to cater to the wide range of interests and
abilities of our students and to maximise their potential.
We have made significant progress on many
fronts. We have completed many successful projects
and new initiatives and we have received plenty of
positive feedback from visitors.
Our teachers have introduced many innovative
teaching methods to engage the students in the classrooms and workshops.
Thanks to the dedication and commitment of the
staff, the school has been able to achieve a lot within
a short period of time. The large number of Ministry
of Education teachers who participated in the NLS
Learning Journey is testimony to the excellence of our
teaching and training methods.
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At the beginning of the year, the Vocational
Education programme staff were very concerned
about whether our Year 3 students could cope with
the demanding ITE Skills Certificate (ISC) training
However, thanks to the good foundations laid
by the teachers last year, and because of the effort put
in by the teachers this year, the students have been able
to do well in this year’s ISC examination in June.
This demonstrates how important the continued
commitment and support of the teachers are in
ensuring the success of our training programmes.
This year, I have noticed that many difficult
students have made good progress in their training
and character development. These students tell me
that their teachers are special, that they are patient
and that they never give up on the students.
The staff of NLS go out of their way to give our
students hope. In addition, they are providing our
students with the skills that these students need to
create a better life for themselves and their families.
I would like to express my sincere thanks to the
dedicated staff of NLS, and to everyone who has made
a difference to the lives of our students.
Chor Cho Siang
Vice-Principal (Vocational Education)
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Transforming Lives
Over the past one and a half years, I have seen a
transformation in many of the students:
• From a lack of self-worth to a life that
is meaningful
• From failure to growing success
• From being wrong to doing right
• From an attitude of fear to a life of
• From being indifferent to all to having
a growing sense of commitment and
• From being neglected to caring for others
As the students stay all over the island, we
provide a shuttle bus that runs from Kallang MRT
station to school every morning. We also have two
buses that bring in students from Admiralty MRT
station. It is a joy to see the students willing to travel
so far to get to school on time.
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The quality of the teachers we have is
outstanding and they have had a big impact on the
children. Through their walk, their talk and their
lives, they have shown each child the importance of:
Belief and hope
Dedication and commitment
A nurturing spirit
Forgiveness and restoration
Serving in NorthLight has been a meaningful
vocation for me. Our journey is a marathon, but each
step that we make has been worth it.
Lau Khai Meng
Vice-Principal (Administration)
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Your smiles; like stars
Siti Nur Atiqah Mohd Salleh (3FP1)
NorthLight School
Your smiles; like stars
Emitting from the east horizon
Shining on native children
Uniting those of different race and religion
Though it’s still vague and far
We are newly budding children
Side-by-side we walk as one
Even with others looking through
the corner of their eyes
Thinking we are not able
And easily confused
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With the blessings of our teachers
We were taught to dance
Arranging our steps neatly
We were cherished continuously
Like one harmonious dream
Feels like counting those stars
That’s scattering the skies in the north
Thousands of rising dreams
Continuously illuminating our spirit
So it won’t dim
Thank you my teachers
For making the tremendous effort
That added the flavours
To my life
To stand tall
Weave with confidence and ability
To compete
Smile NorthLight students
We will together rise
To go through every tease and trial
Never will our spirit slack
For it will continue to prosper
Like the torch that’s lighting
A potential path
Laid with Enlightenment
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After my son Aaron passed his Primary School
Leaving Examination (PSLE), he was posted to a
secondary school.
Unfortunately, he lacked self-confidence and
had poor impulse control and this led to misunderstandings with teachers in the school. Because of this,
he lost interest in his studies and he started skipping
I was lost and did not know how to cope with
the situation. Around this time, I learned about
NorthLight, which was just taking in its first batch of
students in 2007.
Although Aaron was not among NorthLight’s
target group (students who have failed their PSLE
repeatedly), I pleaded with the principal, Mrs Chua,
to take Aaron in. After she heard Aaron’s story, she
Aaron’s behavior has improved significantly
since he has joined NorthLight.
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The teachers in the school are very caring and
patient, and they have allowed him to experience many
small successes. This has increased his self-confidence
Aaron is also beginning to know what he wants
to do in life as well.
Aaron was one of five boys who went to Laos to
do an overseas community involvement programme,
together with some students from ITE College East.
When he returned from the trip, he shared what
he learned with me, and with his friends during school
assembly. He said he has learned not to take things for
granted. He also said that he will persevere, no matter
how hard life becomes. I was very heartened to hear
him say this.
As his mother, I am overjoyed to see how my
son has grown from an impulsive child into a confident young man.
Though academic excellence is important, I feel
that character development is even more vital. NorthLight gave Aaron a second chance, and for that, I am
very grateful.
Irene Liew,
mother of Aaron (3FP1)
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Our daughter, Amaris, was very fond of the
teachers in her former school and she was sad and
apprehensive when we decided to take her out of that
school to enroll her in NorthLight.
We decided to put Amaris in NorthLight
because we liked the teaching approach that NorthLight was using.
In addition, we were impressed with the dedication, commitment and open-minded approach of Mrs
Chua, the principal. Mrs Chua was willing to give our
daughter an opportunity to grow and to help her to
develop to her full potential.
We put Amaris on a one-month trial basis on
Mrs Chua’s advice. By month-end, we were happy to
see that Amaris had settled in very comfortably.
Amaris likes NorthLight because she has
developed a good rapport with her form teachers Mr
Kamsani and Ms Anna, and her school counselor,
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The nurturing environment, and the encouragement and support from all the teaching and school
personnel has been wonderful for her.
We believe that the learning pace at NorthLight
and its creative approach to teaching have helped
Amaris understand mathematics better. She has
become more confident as a result. Socially, she has
learned to verbalise her feelings and speak out more.
We are constantly in communication with Mrs
Chua and the teachers to hear their concerns, observations and suggestions on how to improve our daughter’s learning abilities.
When we teach Amaris at home now, we
modify our approach, focus and emphasis to mirror
the school’s approach.
Amaris is now very happy to be in NorthLight.
The other day, she wanted to know whose idea it was
to enroll her in NorthLight. She was smiling when she
asked me this.
She even wants to go to school when she is sick.
This is testimony to how much Amaris now enjoys
Andrew and Janet Lam,
parents of Amaris (2A2)
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“Ayah, I’ve set the alarm.”
“K. Goodnite Azri.”
A typical scene you might say. But I beg to differ.
There was a time when Azri dreaded going to
school. He made all sorts of excuses when he was asked
to go to bed early. As his father, I had to give him a lot
of encouragement to get him to go to school.
You see, Azri is special. At the age of five, when most
boys his age would be outdoors running and shouting,
Azri would be in his room watching Disney cartoons.
He was a quiet child and kept mostly to himself.
He only started talking at six, and this caused the
family a lot of anxiety.
When he was in kindergarten, I sent him to
KK Hospital for speech therapy as the kindergarten
teacher said Azri was too quiet and had difficulty
interacting with the other children in his class.
Dr Tan, the speech therapist, said Azri was a
normal boy who was just taking his time in devel21
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oping his capabilities. I kept telling myself that Azri
was like any other child; he just needs time to develop
his capabilities.
Unfortunately, our society cannot wait; the
environment is very competitive and he cannot take
his time to develop.
Azri had difficulty fitting in into his primary
school. After school, I had to coax him to do his
homework or to revise his work. It took a lot of effort
to make him understand his lessons, and an even a
longer time to make him complete his homework.
Every year, his examination results were disastrous. Although he tried very hard, his marks were
always poor. It was painful for me to see how he
struggled. I knew Azri needed a lot of encouragement
and perhaps a different way of learning.
When he failed his Primary School Leaving
Examination (PSLE) for the second time, he was downcast. I comforted him and told him not to give up.
When NorthLight School opened in 2007, it was
a godsend. At last, a school for Azri and others like
him. What these children need is for people to believe
in them. They need many opportunities, and this is
exactly what NorthLight provides.
Because my job takes me away most of the time,
I could not be present during the school orientation.
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One of the teachers, Mr Jali Sawi, kindly showed me
around the school when I asked to look around on a
different day.
I was greatly impressed with the school’s facilities and the sincere effort shown by Mr Jali. At once, I
knew NorthLight School would be the school for Azri,
the normal boy who is taking his time to discover his
His enthusiasm in preparing for school every day
shows how the teachers have made Azri enjoy school
and how they have allowed him discover his potential.
It is a joy to see students learning and to see how
committed they are. I’ve also seen how they help one
another too.
I know Azri must do his part in the learning
process and I am doing my part to help him achieve
his dream. The journey has just begun and it will be
an interesting one.
My family would like to express our thanks to the
Ministry of Education for starting NorthLight School.
We would also like to express our deepest
gratitude to the dedicated teachers of the school for
helping students like Azri see the light at the end of
the tunnel.
Razali Ahmad,
father of Azri (2T1)
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Francis is my nephew. He is a Singapore citizen
now but he originally came from Malaysia. He moved
to Singapore when he was in Primary 3 to study in a
school here.
Francis comes from a single parent family and
he does not have strong home support.
When he first came to Singapore, he did not give
me any problems. However, about two years later, he
started mixing with bad company and he began to
lose interest in his studies.
He started to come home late and as a result,
he was unable to wake up early. We often had to write
letters to excuse him from school whenever he refused
to go.
When he was in Primary 5, he told us that he
did not want to go to school anymore. We were lost
and we did not know how to help him.
We tried different ways to encourage him to
go to school but it was in vain. We thought we would
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try putting him into a different primary school as we
thought a change in environment might help but other
primary schools did not want to take him.
After he dropped out of school, the situation
worsened and he started picking up more bad habits.
We were desperate and even went to our Member
of Parliament to ask for his help. About that time,
NorthLight School started admitting students and we
decided to enroll Francis there.
As Francis had never taken his Primary School
Leaving Examination (PSLE), he had to sit for an
entrance test. He passed and NorthLight admitted
him. We were very grateful that the school accepted
him and gave him a chance.
Even at NorthLight, things were not easy at
If he woke up late, he would find excuses for not
going to school. He eventually went back to his bad
habits again and stopped attending school.
His form teacher, Mr Chan, visited him every
week and kept asking Francis to go back to school. Mr
Chan knew that Francis just needed discipline and
guidance. I could see that Mr Chan was very sad when
he could not convince Francis to go back to school.
In July 2007, Francis committed a serious
offence. He went back to school and asked the prin-
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cipal to give him one more chance. Mr Chan and the
counselor, Jim, went to court with him and gave him
moral support. They stood by him all the way.
This incident has changed Francis. He now goes
to school every day and he worked very hard to catch
up on lessons he missed. I am amazed to see the transformation.
Francis is now in Year 3 and his form teacher,
Mr Chee, has given him lots of opportunities to shine.
The teachers who are teaching him Electrical Servicing
have also given him a lot of support and encouragement.
I was happy when he began doing well in school
and getting a high Grade Point Average.
Francis led a group of students in a service
learning project to install energy saving light bulbs in
the homes of senior citizens.
He was also one of the students who participated
in the Philips Singapore attachment programme. This
May, he topped his level in Electrical Servicing.
However, what made his father and me very
proud was the fact that he was given an “excellent”
rating for his conduct.
Thanks to all these successes, Francis is now a
confident young man.
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I would like to sincerely thank the principal,
vice-principals, teachers, the operation manager and
counsellors of NorthLight School for guiding him
and, above all, for believing in him.
Without your patience, encouragement and
guidance, Francis would not be what he is today.
Wendy Yew,
aunt of Francis (3ES1)
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Hamka did not have a good time in primary
school. He struggled with his schoolwork and as a
result, he suffered from low self-esteem. When he
joined NorthLight in January 2007, his self-confidence
was very low.
Over the last year and a half though, Hamka has
matured and he is now doing better in school.
However, more importantly, Hamka has
regained his self-confidence.
He is now a student leader and he is doing well
in the National Civil Defense Corps.
In 2007, he took part in SuperCamp, sponsored
by a well-wisher. SuperCamp is a residential camp
programme designed to help students become better
learners. The well-wisher later told us that she could
see Hamka’s potential at the camp.
Hamka is beginning to shine and we are impressed
with his progress. When Hamka received the Student of
the Year award last year, we were very happy and proud.
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I believe that the teachers of NorthLight are
the reason for this change. The teachers are patient
and kind, and they are able to use methods that help
students to understand. Hamka finds the lessons
interesting and finds learning meaningful.
He looks forward to going to school everyday,
even though we live in Jurong and the journey to
school is a long one.
As Teachers’ Day is approaching, we would
like to express our gratitude to all the teachers and
support staff for making the school experience such a
wonderful one for our son.
Mohd Jaafar and Zaliha,
parents of Hamka (3RO1)
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We adopted Helen when she was 11 years old.
She is ethnic Vietnamese but grew up in Cambodia.
She did not have a chance to go to school when she
was in Cambodia so when she first came to Singapore,
she faced enormous hurdles; she had to learn a third
language, English, and she had to learn to read and
write in that language.
To her great credit, she learned to read and
write in English within a few years. We enrolled her in
primary school hoping that this would help her.
However, the school would only let her join
the Primary 5 class. They would not let her join a less
advanced class because she was too old.
As a result, she joined an age appropriate class,
but one in which she was woefully unprepared for
In hindsight, the result was inevitable. Helen
struggled to understand her lessons, she failed her tests
and examinations, and she was constantly miserable.
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What was worse to see how hard she worked, to
no avail.
When my wife and I heard about NorthLight,
we figured we would give it a shot because we didn’t
have anything to lose. The current system was not
working for her, and there were few alternatives.
I am happy to report that we have never regretted
our decision to send Helen to NorthLight.
Within a few months, we could see the change
in her. She would come home tired, but happy. She was
getting higher grades than she ever did in primary
school. She was made a school counselor and she was
given responsibilities, which she undertook with great
The school even managed to uncover hidden
talents we did not know existed. We were bowled over
when her art teacher told us that Helen had a gift for
art as she had never displayed an interest in art and
painting at home.
In short, Helen has blossomed in NorthLight.
Some months ago, I was talking to her about her life
in school and she said thoughtfully to me, “My life has
I believe that NorthLight is a unique institution
and I am grateful that she is there now.
I believe that the school’s emphasis on building
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character and self-esteem is something that all schools
in Singapore should emulate.
As Singapore’s education moves away from a
one-size-fits-all approach, it has had a tendency to
focus on grooming elites. I believe there is a greater
utility in helping those at the other end of the spectrum.
Helping a child from a deprived background
get an education has a much greater impact on society
than helping a middle-class student get a distinction
on his Special paper at A-levels.
I am grateful to the staff, the teachers, the
vice-principals, and the principal of NorthLight for
turning Helen’s life around and giving her a real shot
at a better future.
I have seen firsthand how dedicated, passionate
and committed the teachers of NorthLight are and I
would like them to know that they are making a real
difference to the lives of their students.
Jimmy Yap,
father of Helen (3FP2)
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I believe that every child is an unpolished gem
just waiting to be discovered, cut and polished.
My son Jaren, is such a child. Jaren, my first
born, is special and unique.
Tests show that he is a late bloomer. He was
exempted from learning Mandarin because he had a
lot of problems learning the language.
To help him in his mathematics, we found a
tutor who specialized in teaching slow-learning kids.
Twice a week, my husband would drive Jaren from our
home in Pasir Ris to Westwood in Jurong, a 45-minute
journey, for half an hour of mathematics tuition.
On the day the PSLE results were released, I
couldn’t bring myself to accompany Jaren to school. I
was afraid of becoming emotional if Jaren didn’t pass.
I was waiting anxiously at home when my
husband called to tell me that Jaren had failed.
I felt as if my whole world had collapsed.
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I fell ill and was given three days of medical leave.
I found myself avoiding my friends and colleagues so
that they would not be able to ask me about Jaren’s
Jaren repeated Primary 6 the next year. He
continued getting tuition in mathematics and at the
end of the year, sat for his PSLE again.
When he failed the second time, I accepted
the fact that Jaren’s education would not be taking a
conventional route.
We learned about NorthLight school through
my brother-in-law. When NorthLight held its open
house, we went together with a good friend of ours,
and we were all introduced to the school’s curricula
and facilities.
We were impressed by what we saw and heard
at the open house. My husband and I discussed the
matter at length and we finally decided to register
Jaren at NorthLight.
Jaren has been attending NorthLight ever since
the school opened its doors in 2007.
Jaren is now a changed person. He is now doing
fine under the guidance of a team of patient and understanding teachers who strongly believe in kids like
Jaren. He is now much happier and more confident.
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In June, my husband went to meet Mr William
Tan, Jaren’s form teacher, to collect Jaren’s achievement book after the first term. My husband was very
surprised to see that for the first time ever, Jaren had
done well in school. He scored 89 marks for English
and 76 marks for Mathematics. My husband told Mr
Tan that this was the happiest moment in his life.
Jaren now wants to be a world-famous chef. He
is learning to cook and prepare food in school. I am
waiting for the day when Jaren makes his mark on the
world and makes all of us proud of him.
Jaren has been blessed to have the support of so
many caring teachers along the way.
Apart from his teachers now at NorthLight, Mrs
Wong and Mrs Han, the principal and vice principal
respectively of Elias Park Primary School, believed in
Jaren and encouraged him to keep trying.
I would like to wish Mrs Chua, Mr William
Tan, and all the teachers in NorthLight a very happy
Teacher’s Day. Without NorthLight, there wouldn’t be
a place for children like Jaren.
Happy Teacher’s Day!
Jean Chua,
mother of Jaren (3FP3)
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My daughter, Jiaqi, is a quiet and introverted girl
who has always had problems completing her schoolwork when she was in primary school.
She is so cautious that it takes her a long time to
finish her assignment. Although she is works hard, she
did not do well in school.
However, since she started studying in NorthLight, her self-confidence has increased.
She was initially worried about adjusting to the
new environment but very quickly though, she made
The teachers in the school are caring and they make
learning meaningful for the students. She likes to go to
school now and is beginning to do her work seriously.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank
the staff for all that they have done for my daughter.
Madam Fu,
mother of Jiaqi (3RO2)
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Muhd Raihan
Since joining NorthLight, Raihan has changed a
lot. He now has more self-confidence and he wants
to participate in most of the school’s activities. I was
surprised when he took part in all the sports and wellness activities, including the outdoor activities.
He is beginning to become more independent and
more optimistic. He has experienced small successes
and this has encouraged him. Both my husband and I
are beginning to see our son’s potential.
As Teachers’ Day is approaching, we would
like to take this opportunity to thank all the staff for
helping us to see our son in a different light.
You have given him hope and we are very happy
and impressed with the change. We know at the end
of the day, he will be a useful person to the family and
a useful citizen to society.
Abdul Rahim and Zainon,
Parents of Muhd Raihan (2R1)
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Shu Ren
There is a Chinese saying, “If there is a strong
general, there will be no weak soldiers”.
My family and I would like to pay tribute to
NorthLight School by first thanking its principal, Mrs
Chua Yen Ching.
When the Government announced the setting
up of NorthLight School, I was jumping with joy.
For the longest time, I have been waiting for
a school like this for my son. A school where the
emphasis would be on hands-on skills. I also liked
the school’s aim to help every student develop positive
values and good character.
I sought out Mrs Chua even before NorthLight
opened. She was then principal of another school and
I had heard of the many good things she had done for
her students such as turning would-be delinquents
into model students.
My son, Shu Ren, had dropped out of the local
school system and was slightly overaged, but I did not
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give up hope. I remain grateful to Mrs Chua for giving
him a chance to be in NorthLight.
Shu Ren was admittedly less enthusiastic about
moving on from home schooling. He was wary that he
would fail in his studies and was apprehensive about
fierce teachers.
I am glad to say that he has been a proud student
of NorthLight for the past one and a half years.
He has grown so much in confidence and for
this, I am grateful to his teachers. He has learnt to be
more disciplined and more focused in his goals. He
is even talking about trying his best to get into the
Institute of Technical Education because his teachers
believe he can make it.
This from a boy who, a few years ago, said that
he had to get a job as soon as possible as he couldn’t
study and he would always fail.
My husband and I are amazed to see how much
he has grown. Until coming to NorthLight, he had
never ever won anything in school. In 2007, he was
given the Model Student for May award. This year, he
won a book review award and has even qualified for
an Edusave merit bursary.
We are cheering our son on as he continues on
his learning journey.
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It is not just Shu Ren who has grown. My
husband and I have also learnt and grown as well.
We have learnt to respect Shu Ren’s privacy
more (he said his teachers had taught about the right
to privacy; good job!) and we treat him like an adult,
although it is still a struggle sometimes because we are
only human and we worry a little too much.
We also believe in being involved with the school
in whatever way we can.
Just the other day, Shu Ren was so proud that his
dad had joined him in his table tennis session and as a
doubles team, had (just) managed to beat his friends.
My husband is also teaching conversational
Japanese at the school once a week.
Recently, Shu Ren came to my room and out of
the blue, told me that he was very happy in school.
I asked him why and he said it was because
his principal was very encouraging and his teachers,
though firm, were fair to the students.
I cannot tell you how happy and comforted I
was to hear those words.
After years of feeling rejected in school, my son
has finally found a place he belongs to, and which will
allow him to grow to his full potential.
To all the teachers in NorthLight School, thank
you so much for your belief in our children and your
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sense of mission.
It speaks volumes that in a competitive society
like Singapore, where winning is everything, all of you
chose to come to NorthLight to make a difference.
A very happy Teachers’ Day to all!
Chang Wai Leng,
mother of Shu Ren (3RO1)
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Siti Nur Atiqah
Sekolah NorthLight adalah sebuah sekolah yang
berusaha terus untuk memupuk semangat pembelajaran dalam mengenali jati diri anak-anak yang tewas
di dalam peperiksaan PSLE mereka.
Di sini, setiap ibu bapa diperkenalkan kepada
sistem pembelajaran yand telah disusun begitu rupa.
Guru-guru yang ditugaskan di sini mempunyai
semangat dedikasi yang tinggi.
Bermula pada tahun 2007 sejak sekolah ini
dibuka, saya telah menjadi sukarelawan di sini. Ada
beberapa ibu bapa lain juga yang turut sama (PSG).
Kita ditugaskan sebagai pembantu guru-guru di
dalam aktiviti tertentu yang meliputi kegiatan luar
darjah. Selama penglibatan saya di situ, saya telah
diberikan anugerah sebagai mengiktiraf sumbangan
saya kepada sekolah tersebut.
“Partner Of NorthLight School” – itulah yang
tertulis di plaq sebagai tanda terima kasih dari pihak
sekolah kepada mereka yang dicalonkan. Itulah
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kenangan yang boleh saya jadikan contoh kepada
anak saya Siti Nur Atiqah Bte Mohamed Salleh yang
bersekolah di situ.
NorthLight School sememangnya menyediakan
guru-guru yang berpotensi dan mengambil berat
terhadap pelajar-pelajarnya. Mengapa saya katakan
begitu? Percampuran remaja pada hari ini sangat
menggusarkan ibu bapa, oleh itu kerjasama di antara
guru-guru di situ perlu kita hargai. Mereka menunjukkan rasa keprihatinan dan kasih sayang. Setiap
kritikan diterima secara positif oleh pihak sekolah
NorthLight. Mendengar dengan teliti segala persoalan
yang membabitkan masalah murid-murid diambil
kira supaya usaha memperbaiki kesilapan mereka
dilakukan dengan pantas agar tidak dipengaruh oleh
mereka yang berpandangan negatif terhadap sekolah
Saya berpuas hati dengan segala usaha yang
dilakukan untuk memperbaiki prestasi pelajar-pelajarnya. Sehingga ke mana pun jua usaha mengetengahkan kebolehan pelajar-pelajarnya sangat-sangatlah
diutamakan. Mereka ini boleh kita ibaratkan sebagai
Merekalah yang harus kita sokong dan
menjadi tulang belakang dalam kejayaan anak-anak
kita. Hidup bagaikan bintang adalah harapan yang
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membakar semangat juang guru-guru NorthLight
yang tiada hentinya.
Kerjasama guru-guru telah membantu saya
memperbaiki prestasi dan kelakonan anak saya di
sekolah. Perubahan sedikit demi sedikit mengurangi
segala rasa kebimbangan saya selama ini. Selain
mengharapkan pihak sekolah, sebagai ibu bapa,
usaha untuk menghadapi anak-anak kita tidak harus
terhenti sehingga mereka memasuki alam dewasa.
Ada 10 perkara yang saya lakukan ingin saya kongsi
bersama anda, iaitu:
1. Rendahkan rasa ego yang memudaratkan.
2. Berikan masa dan perhatian.
3. Menjadi pendengar yang baik and tempat
4. Memahami perkembangan remaja masa
5. Selalu mengatakan kasih sayang sehingga
dia merasa dilindungi
6. Sesuatu penerangan mesti jelas.
7. Membina keyakinan diri
8. Melibatkan diri dengan aktiviti sihat
9. Jangan putus asa
10. Doa
Diharapkan apa yang telah saya lakukan ini
sedikit sebanyak dapat membantu anda dalam meng-
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harungi kemelut anak anda. Akhir kata sebagai sukarelawan, saya berharap dapat memberi sumbangan
sama ada berupa tenaga atau pandangan yang
berterusan kepada sekolah ini. Selamat Hari Guru
saya ucapkan kepada semua guru-guru di NorthLight
School. Semoga usaha murni dan bakti yang anda
taburkan menjadi Keroja yang kekal bercahaya.
Kamaria Bte Buang,
ibu Siti Nur Atiqah (3FP1)
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Siti Nur Atiqah
I have been a volunteer with NorthLight School
since it opened in 2007. Together with the other parentvolunteers in the Parents’ Support Group, we help
teachers in activities outside the curriculum. I was given
the “Partner of NorthLight School” award last year and
I use this award to inspire my daughter, Siti Nur Atiqah
Bte Mohamed Salleh, who is a student of the school.
NorthLight encourages the spirit of learning
in students who have not done well in their Primary
School Leaving Examination (PSLE).
The school has a unique system of learning and
the teachers here are very dedicated. The teachers
are thoughtful and compassionate and they are very
concerned about the welfare of the students. They have
made improving student performance a priority and I
am impressed with all their efforts.
To me, NorthLight’s teachers are superstars. They
have played a crucial role in the success of our children.
Through working with the teachers, my daugh46
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ter’s performance and behaviour has improved. Over
time, my daughter has changed and my worries about
her have faded.
As parents, it is our duty to guide our children
until they become adults. I have put together a list of
10 things that have worked for me that I would like to
share as suggestions to other parents.
1. Lower your ego
2. Devote time and attention to your children
3. Be a good listener and a confidante to
your children
4. Try to understand how teenagers develop today
5. Give children a sense of security
6. Give children clear explanations
7. Build up their self-confidence
8. Take part in constructive activities
9. Be resilient and do not give up
10. Pray
I hope that these suggestions will help you.
I plan to continue contributing my time to the
school and to keep giving them my feedback.
I would like to wish all teachers of NorthLight
a Happy Teacher’s Day. May your sincerity and faith
continuously fuel the burning passion inside you.
Kamaria Bte Buang,
mother of Siti Nur Atiqah (3FP1)
[email protected]
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Soh Han
Soh Han has always been a quiet and timid
child. He has difficulty expressing himself and this
has affected his ability to make his friends. We were
worried that he would not learn to be independent and
as a result, we have been anxious about his future.
Two years ago, we read about NorthLight in the
newspapers and based on what we read, we decided to
enroll Soh Han there.
I still recall how apprehensive we were on the
first day of school. Soh Han has problems adjusting to
new situations and we wondered if NorthLight would
really be able to help him.
We needn’t have worried. Within a few days,
Soh Han got used to being in NorthLight.
Not only that, he has also made great strides in
developing his social skills. He has made close friends
in school and his language proficiency has picked up.
He is now more self-confident and he now takes
the initiative to start a conversation with us. He also
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looks forward to going to school.
The vast improvement he demonstrates is due
to the principal, the vice-principals and the teachers.
They are very patient and have given the children hope
and love.
We are very grateful to the staff of NorthLight
for teaching our son. We would sincerely like to wish
all the staff a Happy Teachers’ Day.
Ong Chye Oon and Toh Lay Khim,
parents of Soh Han (2A3)
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Wayne likes going to school so much now that
even when he is sick, he still wants to be in school. This
is very different from his primary school days.
Then, he would regularly claim to have a headache or a stomachache so that he would be allowed to
stay home.
As his mother, I am delighted to see that Wayne
has found an environment that caters to his needs.
Though he needs more time than most to understand his work and he may not excel academically, he
has been bringing home certificates like “Student of the
Month” and “Lifeskills and Shine award for Honesty”.
This is important to me as it tells me something about
his character.
Now that he is more confident and has a higher
self-esteem, he has begun to believe in himself and he
is motivated to do well in his studies.
He is also more adventurous and takes part in
the school outdoor programme which is a compulsory
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elective in the sports and wellness programme. I could
not previously imagine Wayne doing activities like the
rope course and water sports as he is very sheltered at
I never cease to be amazed by how the teachers
take every opportunity to equip my child with new
I was initially curious as to why the form
teacher, Mr Foo, would communicate with me by
passing messages through Wayne instead of talking to
me directly.
Later I found out that the form teacher was
teaching Wayne to be responsible and he was also
trying to help Wayne to develop his communication
In the past, Wayne relied on me to do most of
the work for him. Now, however, he is more independent. He knows how to be responsible and he is able to
run errands for the family.
He used to be afraid to try new things and did
not want to participate in any activities. Today, he is
more confident and willing take risks and this has
helped him to grow in the last year.
When NorthLight first started in 2007, the principal asked Wayne to share what he has learnt on television. Wayne was featured briefly on Channel News
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Asia and this helped boost his confidence.
As his mother, I was proud to see that my son
had the courage to speak up.
I would like to thank the teachers as well as the
support staff for the wonderful school experience they
have given to the children.
I am grateful to be given this opportunity to
thank the wonderful staff, the vice-principals and the
principal of NorthLight.
I would also like to thank Mr Foo, Wayne’s very
patient and caring form teacher. Mr Foo gives Wayne
a lot of encouragement and above all, believes that
Wayne can do the tasks assigned to him.
Having a teacher believe in you makes all the
Lillian Ho,
mother of Wayne (3RO3)
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Xue Ping
My son Xue Ping used to fail his examinations
in primary school all the time. He did not understand
what was being taught so even though he worked hard,
he kept failing. As his mother, I was very saddened by
Xue Ping failed his Primary School Leaving
Examination (PSLE) twice. After the second failure,
my husband and I decided that instead of making him
repeat primary school, he should move on.
In 2007, Xue Ping left his primary school and
joined NorthLight.
We were apprehensive when we first brought him
to the school. He was also anxious because everyone
was a stranger to him. The curriculum in NorthLight
was also new to us.
Very quickly though, Xue Ping made friends in
school. The teachers here are very reassuring and they
have given him a lot of encouragement and support.
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He says that he now understands what is being
taught in class. He finds the lessons interesting and
this has motivated him to work even harder.
I am happy to see that he looks forward to
school. Keep it up, Xue Ping!
I would like to end by expressing my thanks
to the staff of NorthLight for being so patient and
supportive in teaching these children and helping
them to find joy in learning again.
Mdm Goh,
mother of Xue Ping (3RO3)
[email protected]
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Helping Youth at Risk
This piece was contributed by Daniel, an Overseas Merit Scholar who was attached to NorthLight in
July 2008.
My first few steps into NorthLight School were
hesitant ones. I have enjoyed a relatively “elite” education; apart from the first few years of primary school,
most of my years were spent in the upper strata of the
education system.
It was thus a new experience seeing the way
NorthLight functioned and worked; a school very
different from the schools that I knew and was accustomed to. I had worked with autistic children in
Pathlight School for a number of months, and more
relevantly, Youth-At-Risk (YARs) in the past.
I had heard of NorthLight School then, but
never found out much about it. I knew of its noble
overarching vision, but I had merely brushed it aside,
thinking that like many other “noble” ideas and plans,
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there would be a huge disparity between what was on
paper and what happened in reality.
At the end of my four days at NorthLight, I have
to say that what I have seen is mind-blowing and I
struggle for words to describe it.
In these four days, I have seen children who
have been turned around; I have seen a school with
an infectious optimism that seems to radiate belief
in every student; and I have seen a school where high
YAR students are actually willing to come to school
every day.
In my opinion, this is because of three reasons:
the first is a work plan for a “dream school”, with the
programmes, facilities, and appropriate curriculum;
the second is an iron-willed determination to make
that “dream school” happen; and the third is a group
of dedicated, motivated teachers who essentially turn
that work plan into reality.
The work plan for this “dream school” astounds
me, especially the fact that the entire plan was done
up in less than nine months (along with setting up
the school), and revised again and again to meet the
exigencies of the time.
I’ve tried to take a picture of every clever idea
that has gone into this school and I’ve since lost count
of how many pictures I’ve taken. I returned home
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every day with one memory card full of pictures and
videos, of things like the co-op, the mopping diagram
on the floor (which is unbelievably cute!), and the
bread basket.
Moreover, the school has been given the resources
to “make it happen”: facilities such as the New Media
Room and the Black Box are investments that show
how there is an “iron-willed determination” to pour
resources and money to back up assertions that “the
education system wants to help the bottom few”.
But what truly astounds me (I don’t have a
better word) is the dedication of the teaching staff. The
teachers at NorthLight are truly remarkable.
There wasn’t a teacher in this entire school who
was “unenthusiastic” about teaching, and there wasn’t
a teacher who wasn’t putting the student’s best interests at heart.
I spoke at length to Mr. Bernard Chan (the
co-ordinator for Hospitality) about why he was a
teacher; I spoke to the English teacher of 1A2 and the
other teachers all around the place, and I got this sense
that education has a higher purpose.
I have never seen this sense of higher purpose in
a school before. My own teachers always seemed more
interested in finishing their bond and then leaving.
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The few days at NorthLight truly convinced me
of the higher purpose of education, and the immense
difference it makes.
There is this intangible sense of hope and optimism that radiates around the school; it underlies
everything else that is in this school.
There’s this sense of hope, of belief in the
students that NorthLight exhibits, from the Bread
Basket Principle of Trust to the many banners that are
around the school. There’s the notice posted on the
carom set, exhorting the students to take care of the
carom set because the teachers “love you and care for
you, and believe you will take care of it”.
From the art teacher who accepts all the kids’
creation as expressions of their inner thoughts, to the
encouraging passages printed on every canteen table,
NorthLight has a certain set of intangibles that undeniably affect its students for the better.
I cannot help but think that some of the YARs
that I have known could have been changed if they
had come here.
Many of them (though they had passed their
PSLE) had gone down the wrong path in secondary
school, and had dropped out of school thinking school
was a stifling, bitter place where they were constantly
told they were bad, useless troublemakers.
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I imagine what it would have been like if they
had come to NorthLight, and were given the trust and
belief that they would be good citizens.
Perhaps they too might have turned out differently.
I don’t quite know how to link this all back to
public policy, but let me try: many of the students of
NorthLight are a microcosm of the uglier parts of
Singaporean society.
In it, and through the lives of the students, I
see many things that reflect a larger problem: broken
families, single parents, broken healthcare systems, an
education system that perhaps streams its students too
early, and too quickly.
However, NorthLight is also a place where public
policy is attempting to address these issues.
In NorthLight, you see the people who are
striving to make it all work, from Mr. Bernard Chan
who insists that the kids carry themselves properly
with dignity, to the drama teacher, Ms Suzanah, who
believes everybody be brave enough to speak out well
on stage.
I wonder if this educational model can be
spread to the rest of the education system, not only
in the secondary school level, but perhaps even at the
primary school level.
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NorthLight is a showcase for what can be done
given adequate willpower to bring creativity and innovation to the educational curriculum, and when there
is a group of dedicated change makers who are willing
to make it all happen.
My experience at NorthLight has shown me
how we can get our act together to solve some of the
problems of society.
I was talking to John (not his real name), from
Year 3 over his canteen break. He spent his recess
eating, and then going to the gym to “work out for
His story was he got kicked out of a secondary
school in Secondary 2 after “closing all the doors and
windows and beating up a guy in a classroom”.
Today he’s in a Year 3 class. He is probably the
best in mathematics in his class, and in general, he is
enjoying school. You can see that he is on the right
track, and that he’ll probably become a useful member
of society.
The letters written by parents to Mrs. Chua, the
principal, also reflect a huge change in the children;
stories such as “he has changed and enjoys coming to
school now” and other versions that reflect the many
changes in character that NorthLight has brought
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I’m also thinking of what can be done to make
NorthLight a little better.
I was talking to Mr. Low’s drama class, and they
asked me when I was coming to teach them. No, I said,
I’m a policeman.
Immediately I had a million and one questions
about the police. They had seen brothers/cousins/
fathers/friends dragged off by the police, and naturally
had a million things to ask.
More scarily, they asked about jail, and some
of them even thought that brushes with the law were
inevitable, and that someday, I was going to run after
them to catch them.
This is particularly scary because unless this
mindset can be changed, it might well become a selffulfilling prophecy as they think that they will eventually get into trouble.
Perhaps uniformed groups can be made compulsory for all students (schools like ACSI have a compulsory uniform group as well as sports or club co-curricular activity). Something like the National Police Cadet
Corps or the National Cadet Corps will teach student
about the law, about discipline and other intangibles.
NorthLight could also extend school to
Saturdays, a proven time when most youth-at-risk
crime occurs.
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Also, there could be link ups between the nearby
police post and NorthLight’s most at-risk students.
In addition, tours and attachments could
broaden their horizons.
I am truly humbled by what NorthLight has
achieved. The school is at the forefront of addressing
some of society’s greatest ills, and in my four days, I
have learnt much.
Someday I think I’d like to teach, but I’m not quite
sure how. But to those in NorthLight who teach, and who
constantly inspire this group of students to be bigger and
better than what they are, and who are turning lives
around, I have just one word for you — Wow!
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The Culture of Trust
This piece was contributed by Jason Teo Zhiyuan
and Sim Kwang Xiong, two scholars who were attached
to NorthLight in July 2008.
We were first attached to NorthLight School
on 21 July. As with learning about anything new, the
initial school orientation was a little confusing and
somewhat daunting.
NorthLight School is not the traditional school
that we were used to, with the familiar Special, Express,
Normal Academic and Normal Technical streams that
are typical of secondary schools in Singapore.
Where other schools would have promoted a
culture of academic competition, this cutthroat ratrace feeling was notably missing from NorthLight
School, although this in no way compromised the
high quality of the education provided.
It was refreshing, but not surprising, to learn
that character development was emphasized over
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academic achievement in this school.
We learned that many of the students have
ended up here because of their background. Given the
right resources and guidance, they can do much better
and lead much happier lives.
When we spoke to Mr. Bernard Chan, the
Hospitality co-ordinator, the attribute that he repeatedly emphasized was ‘love’.
“If you do not love the children, you will pack
up and go in two weeks,” he said.
He went on to tell us about how he could tell
students to tuck in their shirt 10 times and they would
still run up to him and say “Hi!” with their shirts
hanging out.
He felt that there was no point in scolding the
students. Instead, he would just keep drilling them on
the importance of doing something until they realized
it for themselves.
He also said that the students would not learn
from teachers unless the teacher become their friend,
father or brother.
Because they have failed their exams so many
times, they probably have something against teachers.
It takes a lot for teachers here to walk into the
hearts of the students before they can teach, but with love
and genuine care for the students, they are getting there.
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Trust is a buzzword here.
As we walked into the school canteen and saw
the four dazzling video game guitars sitting on a
common bench, we could not help but wonder why no
one was keeping an eye on them.
The two Carom boards, table tennis tables and
PS2 sets lay in the canteen for free students to use, all
vulnerable to vandalism, theft and careless use.
The responsibility and mutual respect that
students display here put to shame students from
“better” schools.
Instead of using fear and punishment, the school
has built up a strong culture of trust. Students take
on responsibilities not only for themselves but also for
their environment and this sense of responsibility will
serve them well for life.
We were similarly impressed by the commitment and patience of the staff.
All of them know the limitations of their
students, and they never give up trying to educate the
students. In turn, the students feel the love and care
of their instructors, and that motivates them to give
their best.
We had the privilege to be in Mr Kassim
Ahmad’s mechanical engineering class on pneumatics on Wednesday. Mr Ahmad explained to us his
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philosophy of inspiring students to constantly push
the boundaries on their abilities.
With a combination of constant encouragement,
patience, light-hearted humour and instructional
competence, he was able to motivate his students to
perform tasks at skill levels much more advanced than
what was required by their syllabus.
The Nitec 3 certification tests typically require
an understanding of airflow circuits involving only
one piston. When the students first saw that Mr
Ahmad’s assignment called for two pistons, they
faltered initially. But Mr Ahmad was confident that the
assignment was not overly challenging, and nudged
them in the right direction. All the students managed
to complete the assignment.
We both feel that the school has a noble mission
and a great team of dedicated people to make things
work. Moreover, it is receiving strong support from
the Ministry of Education and the public alike.
We feel that the students have benefited a lot
from the founding of this school and it will be empowering for both the students and the staff to showcase
some of their successes to the public.
It is envisioned that NorthLight School should
be a continual experience as opposed to a forgettable
one-off stint.
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In line with this aspiration, it is conceivable that
NorthLight School would be able to provide support
and instruction to graduates by offering part-time
retraining courses and other enrichment programmes.
This is compatible with the government’s call for every
citizen to engage in lifelong learning.
We were also very impressed with the public
support that NorthLight has been receiving. We heard
about the friendly neighborhood doctor who regularly
volunteers his time to see the students free of charge.
We believe that if the website can better relate
the mission of the school and have a formalized information platform to match potential volunteers to areas
where the school needs contributions, more members
of the public will step up to help.
We thank NorthLight School for this wonderful
immersion opportunity. Despite the common attacks
on the purportedly elitist education system we have,
there are many people who are willing to help others
who are left behind.
And to you teachers at NorthLight, you are stars
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Fixing Lives
This piece was contributed by Erica Ong, Corporate Social Responsibility Manager, Home-Fix D.I.Y.
Pte Ltd. Home-Fix is one of NorthLight’s partners.
NorthLight and Home-Fix’s collaboration to
provide real-life hands-on retail experiences for the
school’s students started in April 2008.
While it is only four months into our ‘workstudy programme’ with the students and teachers of
NorthLight, I am personally very impressed by the
high level of commitment and the professionalism
shown by all the teachers and also the principal, Mrs.
Our team in Home-Fix, including Juliana
(Trainer), Alex (Marina Square Assistant Retail
Manager), Alvin (Marina Square Supervisor), Barry
(Consultant), Mr. Low (Managing Director) and
myself have also observed the positive impact that
the hands-on training and the on-the-job training
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have had on the students when they are in our Marina
Square outlet.
(Home-Fix provides retail training for NorthLight students. Once a week, a team of students work
at the Home-Fix outlet in Marina Square. Home-Fix
trainers mentor NorthLight students so that these
students have the chance to learn in a real-life, but
supportive environment.
This idea is the brainchild of Lie Hi Jam, the
Head of Department of NorthLight’s Retail Operations.)
In my conversations with Mr Lie, I was touched
to learn that although he is due to retire before the end
of the year, he has chosen to stay on in NorthLight
School as he feels such a strong sense of commitment
to the students and would like to complete what he has
Mr Lie who has been teaching Mechanical
subjects most of his life, now says that he has lots to
learn about the retail market.
He came up with his version of a ‘Mystery Shopping checklist’ which facilitated the students’ learning
in a way not available in a normal classroom environment.
The students had to go around the store searching
for the answers in their checklist. The students not
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only had fun while learning, this exercise helped to
reinforce what they had learnt in school. It proved to
be an engaging way for these students who learn better
in a non-traditional classroom setting.
Home-Fix also had the opportunity to work
with another very dedicated teacher, Mr Christopher Chee in NorthLight’s service learning project in
Dakota Crescent.
Spurred on by the efforts of the students to
help the elderly residents living around the school,
he helped the students with their presentations to the
Citibank judges and with his support, the students
gained confidence and spoke with such conviction
that they got a $2,000 funding for the project.
He helped boost the students’ self-esteem and
the students learnt that when they work as a team,
they can make a difference to their community. This
project also made the students realize that the school
cares about the education of their hearts as well as
their minds.
(NorthLight’s service learning project at Dakota
Crescent involves students installing energy-saving
bulbs and repainting the homes of senior citizens
living in Dakota Crescent, which is near the school.
Home-Fix sponsored the bulbs and paint and also
taught the students how to paint walls. This project is
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supported by Citibank, which provided some funding
under the Ideas in Action scheme. Christopher Chee,
the teacher-in-charge of National Education at NorthLight helped to make this project possible by tying up
with Home-Fix and Citibank.)
Home-Fix is proud to be able to play a part in
this partnership with NorthLight School in trying to
make a difference in the lives of these young people.
We are inspired by the work that NorthLight’s
leadership and teachers are doing, in providing an
engaging education for our youth, preparing them
for lifelong learning and employability and, at the
same time, making school more interesting and more
relevant to the lives of the students.
My experience with the teachers of NorthLight
makes me understand how influential and powerful
they are as teachers.
I am glad that with this partnership, we are
able to engage, educate and empower the students of