Her physical diffi culties did not stop her from reaching the top

Jacqueline Woo obtains fi ve distinctions at GCE ‘O’ Level exam

IT WAS NOT EASY FOR JACQUELINE WOO to take her place among the achievers in Methodist Girls’ School (MGS). She did have some physical difficulties, but she overcame the odds to be among the 70.6 per cent of the cohort of MGS girls to obtain five distinctions at the GCE “O” Level examination last year.

Jacqueline counts herself among those privileged to have spent at least four years with the MGS family before she took on the challenge of the GCE “O” Level examination.

She was only a year old when her family moved to Singapore in 1994. Barely three years later she was diagnosed with generalized dystonia. She experienced involuntary muscle contractions, which caused much discomfort. Although she became wheelchair-bound, she went to school like any other child her age, did and completed her PSLE before enrolling as a student in Secondary 1 at MGS.

In secondary school, she was never discriminated from the other girls in her class. She was active in the InfoComm Club and happily contributed her fair share in the Community Involvement Programme (CIP).

By the end of 2009, Jacqueline had chalked up at least 100 hours of service to the community, far surpassing the hours required of each student. Adept in developing multi-media resources, she designed brochures for Lakeside Family Centre where she undertook Work Experience in the ROCs (Reality Outside the Classroom) programme 2008. She was also an active member of the Committee, InfoComm Club; with her team-mates she worked on a publicity video for the Singapore Heart Foundation.

One of the videos she produced on her own was short-listed on Channel News Asia’s Roving DV 2007.

The treatment of her ailment was (and still is) time-consuming and required intensive and extensive physical therapy which included regular swimming and relaxation exercises. Still, she soldiered on, encouraged by her teachers, classmates and friends and, of course, her mother who gave her all – time, energy, resources and prayers – to make life better for her.

She had to grapple with the dynamic learning environment at MGS where every girl, regardless of race, religion or social background, is rigorously groomed to make the difference in society.

Fortunately, she was never alone; she always had a classmate or two with her, and often one teacher or another.

Her mother, Mrs Lily Woo, herself a teacher before the family made their home in Singapore, understood how happy Jacqueline was at MGS and her desire was to see her daughter continue with her post-secondary education after MGS.

Jacqueline’s story is testament that the MGS curriculum is rigorous, relevant and responsive, and the teachers are committed, competent and caring in ensuring that every girl enjoys the enduring benefits of a Christ-centred education that is uniquely MGS.

In keeping with tradition, MGS did in fact excel in the GCE “O” Level Examination 2009. Four girls were ranked among the top Chinese students in Singapore – Jacqueline Ting (9A1s and 1A2), Low Wee Lynn, Nina Leong and Joey Huey (with 9A1s each). Jalla Anisha (8A1s and 1A2) was ranked among the top Indian students, and Sarah Rahaniah (7A1s and 1A2) among the top Malay students. By Tessie Cheng

Tessie Cheng is a teacher at Methodist Girls’ School.