SINGAPORE - He obtained poor grades for his diploma course and almost did not make it to the teaching degree programme at the National Institute of Education (NIE).
But today, Mr Jonathan Leo Ng graduated top of his cohort and will be making his valedictorian speech at the NIE Teachers' Investiture Ceremony.
The Bachelor of Science graduate also bagged four awards for his outstanding achievement.
Mr Ng described the rejection he suffered in 2007 as a tough time that made him “question everything”.
"I was determined to do everything I could to ensure that I could be accepted back to this institution to complete a degree.
"Speaking to my lecturers, many of them suggested keeping up-to-date in content knowledge and more importantly to perform well in school as a teacher. Eventually I was accepted back into NIE's degree programme in the second half of 2009."
A total of 1,961 teachers will be joining the teaching service this July.
They will be receiving their certificates and awards during the Teacher's Investiture Ceremony held at the National Institute of Education from today to Friday, July 8.
Minister for Education, Mr Heng Swee Keat and Mr Lawrence Wong, Minister of State for Defence and Education, presented the certificates to teachers at the ceremonies held today at 10am and 3pm.
Among the 34 newly-minted teachers who will be receiving their awards for exceptional achievement, six will be receiving a total of two awards each – they are, Ms Wang Yimei Amy, Mr Cai Zhiwen, Mr Lee Ke Hin, Ms Tham Xin-Yi Pamela, Mr Muhammad Herwanto Bin Johari, and Mr Tan Shih Eik.
Valedictorian Mr Ng, who will be graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Education, is the only recipient to receive four awards this year – they are, the Lee Kuan Yew Gold Medal, the Sng Yew Chong Award, the Singapore National Olympic Council Book Prize and the SPC Book Prize.
Mr Ng said in his valedictorian speech: "Looking back, it sometimes amazes me that I was able to accomplish so much in that short span. The reason why I'm telling my story is to encourage all of us to continue in our pursuit of lifelong learning and never to give up on our dreams!"