Thinking of taking your O levels as a private candidate? What happens when you just cant adapt to the normal teaching environment at school? If you are asking yourself these questions, City College might just be the school for you.
In my everyday life, I work with lots of young people. Growing up is never easy, and everyone deserves a second chance. I have known the staff at City College for quite some time, and their constant ability to inspire young people, is something that I am inspired to write about. If you are wondering who and what they do, do keep on reading.
(This is Part One of a 2 part series, as we look at special schools with a heart! )
Created to offer youths a second chance and help them fulfill their potential, City College is a private school that offers preparatory courses, which lead students to their GCE O Level Examinations. With a strong focus on motivating and inspiring youth people, City College students has the track record of consistently outperforming the national average for Private candidates taking the GCE O Level examinations.
Besides academics, City College teachers have also touched the lives of their students, regularly producing holistic students who impact society in their own special way.
Recently, I had the privilege to sit down with some City College students and and conduct a face to face interview with their top student in 2015.
Tell me more about yourself and your family?
Hi! My name is Wong Yoke Cheng. This year, I am 18 years old, and I come from a family of 4, consisting of Dad, Mum, an older brother and myself.
Give us a brief summary of your life, before enrolling into City College?
I am from a normal neighborhood school. I was active in secondary school and on the exco committee of my school’s student leader board, top for my cohort for English, and playing major roles in my CCA (Drama Club).
I am a high achiever and I am used to see myself performing above average in my school results. However, things changed, when I was promoted to my Upper Secondary school year.
When I got back my results during the first semester, I was shocked to receive an F9 for my Maths and B’s and C’s in my other subjects. I was devastated by my sudden drop in results, and I began to feel very stressed about school. My failure to achieve made me depressed, and I lost all motivation to go to school. My parents brought me to see numerous doctors, but none of them seemed to be able to help me.
Due to the swing in my emotions, the relationships that I had with my school friends deteriorated and I decided to take a 2 year break from school.
How did you find out about City College?
One day, my parents said that they wanted to bring me out for lunch. However, lunch was not that simple, as they brought me to the City College premises to meet the student affairs officer in the month of April 2014. I was definitely not keen about the whole idea about school, and as my mum was talking to the officer, I was more interested in my hand phone.
I did not even want to consider the option, and my parents left me at that.
However in the month of December, I felt well enough to consider going back to a normal school life. I enrolled myself into City College and started school in Jan 2015. I did not know what to expect. My parents just told me to go to school and get used to the routine.
How was life at City College?
The first day of school was terrifying! This was a totally new environment for me, and I had to cope with the new changes in my life. The school assigned a buddy to her and she was very helpful in trying to help me settle down. It took me some time to get used to the normal school routine at City College, as I had taken a 2 year break from school.
More importantly, the teachers at City College really helped me settle down into school. They were very different from the teachers, who I encountered in my secondary school. They were ready to be my friend, and very personal to each one of the students. They would regularly ask us out after class, and join us for meals at the local coffee shops.
The teacher also seemed to have an ability to conduct lessons in a very casual way. Besides their ability to make us laugh, they were able to make difficult concepts simple. Suddenly, school did not become so daunting, as I was now able to understand and grasp the concepts that I previously struggled with.
One of the innovative concepts employed in class was “Speed dating”. (Speed dating!!! my eyes widened…). No! Not what you think, we had to explain the math/science concepts that we have learnt to the person sitting outside us, within the time allocated to us.
Do you feel that you have changed since coming to City College?
I was quite reclusive and I kept very much to myself. Now I have friends and I enjoy school.
How did you do in your O levels?
I managed to get A1 for English, Geography, Combined Science, A2 for Maths and for Principles of Accounts.
I totally surprised myself and managed to get into my choice course of child psychology and early education in Ngee Ann Polytechnic.
Is there anything that you would want to say to the staff at City College?
Thank you very much for doing what you do, and putting in 120% into all your teaching.
(Yoke Cheng pictured here on the right, with City College teacher Selena See)
In a separate email interview, we managed to hear from Yoke Cheng’s Dad, and this is what he had to say:
Why did you feel about Yoke Cheng’s results?
My wife and myself did not expect Yoke Cheng to excel when she went back to school. We knew that she had it in her, but she needed time to find herself. She has always been a good girl, and we believe that with love and patience, she will be able to do it when she ready.
More importantly, we looked into our daughter’s well being in every decision that we made. As a family, we have come to the decision, that we just want to see her everyday when we come home. We love her just the way that she is.
Personally I was very touched with Mr Wong’s heartfelt responses and delighted to be able to witness Yoke Cheng’s joy for myself. Stay tuned for Part 2 on our coverage of City College.
Click to find out more about City College for yourself.