When Miss Felicia Yeoh, 26, was assigned to the EM3 stream in Primary 5, she cried.
So did her mother.
Her relatives looked down on her and made snide remarks about her grades.
Yesterday, Miss Yeoh was all smiles. The audit associate at Ardent Singapore graduated with a bachelor's degree with honours in accountancy from the Singapore Institute of Technology.
Of the 82 graduates in this pioneer cohort, 69 received priority job offers upon graduation at the end of last year.
She told The New Paper: "I was a blur and quiet student in primary school with few friends. So I didn't understand the importance of studying or feel the motivation to study until I entered secondary school.
"I was in the Normal (Technical) stream in secondary school. I woke up only when I was ranked 13 out of 30 students."
She became more conscientious and worked hard to improve her class ranking each year.
It paid off as she scored four distinctions and was top two in her stream in the N-level exams.
Maths is her favourite subject, so she pursued accountancy when she went to Higher Nitec at the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) College East. She went on to Ngee Ann Polytechnic, where she graduated with a diploma in accountancy.
Miss Yeoh, who spent eight years pursuing her tertiary education, said: "I felt really sad when I heard people say going to ITE means it's the end, and I worked even harder to prove them wrong."
Miss Yeoh, the youngest of four children, said:"I didn't come from a well-to-do family but my parents still enrolled me for tuition when they realised I was weaker than other kids back in primary school. They encourage me to study whenever I have the chance."
Her father is a deliveryman and her mother a housewife.
Her ITE lecturer, Mrs Sim Gim Hiah, saw her potential and kept encouraging her.
Ms Lynn Phang, a partner at Ardent Singapore, said: "Felicia has a positive attitude... she has also demonstrated emotional maturity and a questioning mind, which are essential attributes of a professional."
Miss Yeoh said: "I am glad to say that I finally feel accomplished after all these years."
This article was first published on Feb 25, 2017.
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