SINGAPORE - Twin sisters Lee Ting Yi and Lee Ting Hui, 22, have been through thick and thin together. The duo experienced a low point in their studies when both did not do well for their exams in their first year at Millennia Institute (MI). Faced with defeat, the sisters decided they should give up and submitted their forms for withdrawal from the school.
A teacher who heard about their decision retrieved the forms and persuaded them to give their A-Level education another shot. Thanks to this teacher, Ting Yi and Ting Hui got to taste the fruits of their labour when they collected their A-Level exam results on Monday.
Ting Yi received 'A's for the H2 Economics and Mathematics papers and a 'B' for Principles of Accounting. Ting Hui got an 'A' for Management of Business, a 'B' for Principles of Accounting and a 'C' for Geography. Now the twins are planning their future together, hoping to study economics and social sciences at the National University of Singapore.
After coming a long way, Ting Yi and Ting Hui said they owe their achievements to teachers who encouraged and supported them along the way. Among them is PE teacher Mr Ser, who was instrumental in convincing the girls not to give up on their studies.
Another PE teacher, Mr Roslan Taib, also made a difference in the girls' lives. "Our favourite subject is PE because the teachers made our school days very fun," Ting Hui said. "Mr Roslan would always remind us to read more, especially since he knows we were not very good with the General Paper," she added.
The sisters were also especially grateful to Ms Hong Xiao Hui, who was their form teacher when they were retained. Ms Hong later also taught them H1 China Studies in English, and was Ting Hui's H2 Geography teacher throughout her time at MI.
The encouragement the sisters received made a huge difference in their academics. With hard work, both Ting Yi and Ting Hui made it to the school's top performers' list in their repeat year. They were also among the top 8 students in their second and third years at the school.
Their resilience and drive deeply impressed teachers at MI. Not only were they keen on learning from others, the twins also showed great discipline and took initiative in their studies and co-curricular activities, Ms Hong told AsiaOne.
"Both of them were frequently observed studying in the library and they always took the initiative to read up on academic and self-motivation books to help them stay focused on their goals," Ms Hong said.
On one occasion, Ting Hui was even asked to share her revision strategies with the whole school. In an email interview, Ms Hong said the sisters were motivated to not only better themselves, but also for the betterment of others. "Both of them are always very helpful in terms of encouraging and improving their classmates' studies. They will also offer their notes to their classmates," she said.
That was not all - both sisters also proved to be excellent athletes. They were both members of the school's basketball team and had led as captain and assistant coach in different years. Ting Yi also represented the school in the 'A' Division Cross Country Run and came in 13th in 2013. Ting Hui also took part in the run and came in 24th in 2013.
The twins said that they had initially found it difficult to settle down when they started school at MI. "We did not know if we should stay or leave," they said. "But when we were given a chance to repeat the first year, we wanted to take the chance."
Now that the sisters are done with their A-Levels, they are starting to dream big. "We want to make lots of money so that we can help out our family," they said.
As the twins move on to the next phase in life and pursue their dreams, their former teacher has high hopes for them. "I hope that they will continue to stay positive and resilient and excel in whatever they do. (I also) hope that they will continue to spread their spirit of selflessness to the people around them," Ms Hong said.