She had no formal training in animation.
But that did not stop her from taking part in a national animation competition for four consecutive years.
After failing to reach the finals the first three times, she is finally in and her qualification is a first for her as well as for her school.
Chua Hui Min, 16, formerly of Beatty Secondary School, first took part in N.E.mation! when she was in Secondary 1.
The N.E.mation! competition is one of the activities organised to mark Total Defence Day, which is on Feb 15 (see report above) and it is now into its 10th year.
For the digital animation competition, participants create a 60-second animation clip with the year's Total Defence theme.
Hui Min said: "I first joined the competition because of the top prize, which was a trip to the US.
"Then I realised I really liked animation and wanted to do better in the following years. It's amazing to see my still drawings come to life through animation."
Her team, NEtitanxII, is one of the top 10 finalists for N.E.mation!10. Her teammates are schoolmates Ang Jia Shing Adeline, Evan Tan Jia Ho and Muhd Zulfazlin Zainal.
They used a spinning, reflective surface to show images of Singapore's achievements such as Changi Airport, NEWater and the Marina Bay skyline.
Their aim was to get Singaporeans to reflect on the past to strengthen the future,
The team made use of a praxinoscope, an animation device with an inner circle of mirrors, to project the images.
Hui Min's teacher recalled her crying when her team failed the first time she participated.
Mr Alexander Choy, 47, said: "That was when I knew she really put her heart and soul into the competition."
He added that he was extremely proud of the team's achievement this year.
"Most participants from other schools are from the Infocomm Club CCA," he said.
"But our team members are from the uniformed groups and performing arts CCAs. They had to learn many things from scratch to create the animation."
Hui Min said: "Over the years, I learnt what the judges are looking for - original, creative ideas.
"I hope our video will be able to instil national pride in Singaporeans."
Hui Min will be pursuing a Diploma in Animation at Nanyang Polytechnic. She had gained entry through the Direct School Admission scheme by using her N.E.mation! portfolio.
Director of Nexus, Colonel Tan Boon Kiat, said: "We are proud that N.E.mation! has reached this 10th-year milestone.
"The students never fail to impress us with their talent, creativity and passion.
"We hope Singaporeans, young and old, will enjoy these heartfelt clips."
No experience required
N.E.mation! is a digital animation competition for youth to express their thoughts on Total Defence through a one-minute animation clip.
It is organised by Nexus, a Ministry of Defence department responsible for Total Defence and National Education.
The competition is open to secondary school, junior college and centralised institution students who are Singaporeans or permanent residents.
For this 10th instalment of the competition, 795 entries were received and only 10 were picked to advance to the final round.
Participants created their animation clips over a three-week training programme during the year-end school holidays.
No prior experience in animation was required of the participants.
The top prize is a trip to a renowned animation studio in the US.
Public voting, which counts for 50 per cent of the teams' final scores, is open and will end on Feb 14.
For more details on N.E.mation! and how to vote, go to nemation.sg.
This article was first published on January 25, 2016. Get The New Paper for more stories.