Bukit Batok Secondary School principal Lysia Kee originally wanted to be a lawyer, but she pursued a career in teaching when her mother objected.
Now, after 38 years in the profession, she is calling it a day at the end of the year.
Mrs Kee and Mrs Chan Kwai Foong (above, right), principal of Yishun Primary School, were among the principals honoured at the Appointment and Appreciation Ceremony for Principals (AACP) on Friday.
Mrs Kee, 62, who is married with three children, aged 24 to 37, said: "(My mother) had this fear that lawyers would not be able to get married and that teachers would have enough time for their family."
Her teaching career started in Malaysia in 1975 after she graduated from the University of Malaya.
She moved to Singapore in 1977 and joined the teaching service.
She became a principal of Seletar Institute in 1995, and was posted to CHIJ Katong Convent in 1997.
Under her leadership, the school became an autonomous school.
She said: "We had to put a lot of processes in place, but I knew the fundamentals were there.
"I knew the teachers were extremely hardworking and that they knew how to get the best out of the girls."
Mrs Kee is now in her ninth year in Bukit Batok Secondary School.
In her years in the field, nothing much has changed when it comes to teaching or being a leader.
She said: "Students still have the zest for life.
"Sometimes, (young people) put up a front, but when you challenge their minds, there is a look in their eyes and that's when they will start flowering."
Mrs Kee plans to spend her retirement indulging in hobbies like reading and painting.
She would also like to dabble in pottery and do a bit of travelling.
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