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Singapore Pools Scholars Go ‘Back To School’

U Care Back To School Fair 2013

Long-jumper Matthew Goh Yujie and bowler Jazreel Tan Shi Hua , two Sports School alumni who had received the SPSES, were invited to take to the stage to inspire and motivate visitors at the Back-To-School Fair.

Thirty-five student-athletes took part in NTUC’s Back-To-School Fair at National Library Atrium on 14 and 15 December 2013. Singapore Pools is a major donor of NTUC’s Care and Share programme and the student-athletes, all recipients of the Singapore Pools Sports Excellence Scholarship (SPSES), helped out at the Back-To-School Fair as SPSES Ambassadors.

Yearly, NTUC’s Care and Share Department organises the Back-To-School Fair for children of low-income workers to purchase school text books, story books, school shoes and school bags, etc, at special discounts and which they can pay using U Care Vouchers. Singapore Pool’s donation of $1 million goes into the value of these U Care Vouchers.

The SPSES Ambassadors organised two games on each day to engage visitors at the Back-To-School Fair. They were patient when explaining the games to the children and were enthusiastic when sharing their experience at Sports School. The SPSES Ambassadors also helped to distribute prizes, contributed by Singapore Pools and Singapore Sports School, to those who excelled in the games.

On 14 December, two Sports School alumni who had received the SPSES, were invited to take to the stage to inspire and motivate visitors at the Back-To-School Fair.

Long-jumper Matthew Goh Yujie said he had to convince his parents to let him study at Sports School, while bowler Jazreel Tan Shi Hua revealed that it was her parents’ idea to put her there; she was upset at being uprooted from Methodist Girls’ School, where she had enjoyed schooling. But, she also realised that MGS could not be flexible in its system to allow her to travel overseas for high-performance competitions, whereas Sports School can.

Matthew said Boarding School was like staying over at a friend’s home, except it happened 5 days and nights a week, 40 weeks in a year. He shared that he woke up at 5.30 am and was at the track for his morning training at 6 am. He said he was in bed again at 10.30 pm – after a day of learning at school, psychology session or physiology session, afternoon training and Supervised Self-Study.

“Every minute of the day was filled with activity, but it was tremendously fun.”

Matthew, who was President of the Students’ Council for the 2006 to 2007 term, said he learnt discipline and time management at Sports School, and he has carried these life skills with him to university.

“I know many undergraduates party till late at night and sleep in the next day. I prefer to wake up at 7 am and start my day fresh,” said Matthew.

It is little wonder that at Singapore Management University where he is pursuing the Bachelor of Business Management, Matthew was presented with the Standard Chartered Best First Year Business Student Award 2013 and the OCBC Outstanding Student Award 2013. Matthew, who holds the National Record for Men’s Long Jump continues to train and is looking forward to qualify for the Singapore 2015 Southeast Asian Games.

Jazreel, who was inducted into the Singapore Bowling Federation National Development Squad at 13 and promoted to the elite team at 14, said she had strength and conditioning training with her school mates at Sports School in the morning and lanes training with SBF in the afternoon.

“My daily time table at Sports School allowed me to study and train to the best of my ability. At Wichita State University, where I recently graduated from, I had to keep up with my studies too. If I didn’t score a certain Grade Point Average, I wouldn’t be allowed to bowl. That was the rule.”

Of course, Jazreel was never not allowed to bowl. In fact, she graduated magna cum laude, an accolade awarded to graduating students who scored a GPA of between 3.550 and 3.899. Jazreel recently received the Singapore Sports Council’s Sports Excellence Scholarship which will allow her to train full time. Among the many major tournaments she is preparing for is the Incheon 2014 Asian Games, where besides competing, she will be Singapore’s Goodwill Ambassador.

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