From gang member to honour roll valedictorian

From gang member to honour roll valedictorian
Ng Jia Wei.
PHOTO: The New Paper

An impulsive, reckless delinquent who is now a mature and composed young man.

That is how Mr Ng Jia Wei, 23, describes his transformation.

Mr Ng, who will graduate with a diploma in mobile software development, said he used to give his parents a lot of problems.

When he was 14, he joined a gang and would get into fights. It was only when he got caught for shoplifting and put on probation that he realised his mistakes.

He recalled how, on the drive home from the police station, his father refused to say a word to him.

Mr Ng said: "It made me feel very guilty because when I got caught, only my family members showed up. None of my friends came.

"That's when I realised the importance of family."

When he enrolled in Republic Polytechnic (RP), he was determined to put his delinquent past behind him.

"With RP's system of having to do presentations every day, I did not want to make a fool of myself in front of my classmates," he said.

In his first semester, he scored a GPA of 3.4 and it made him realise that he could be "good at something".

He went on to get a Tuas Scholarship and a Republic Award, which is given to students who demonstrate good character and values.

Mr Ng also topped his cohort for two years straight and has been inducted into the director's honour roll for five semesters.

He is graduating as the valedictorian of his batch. His future plans? He hopes to score a spot in the National University of Singapore to pursue a degree in Japanese studies.

This article was first published on May 2, 2016.
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