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Rising To The Top With A Second Chance

Towards the end of secondary four, Jonathan Peh could only take six subjects instead of the usual seven. He was weak in all subjects and only managed a decent grade in Physics. His G.C.E. ‘O’ Level results mirrored his school results. He eyed the Diploma in Civil Engineering with Business course, which is solely offered by Singapore Polytechnic (SP), as he was inspired by his Physics teacher who was a Civil Engineer. After getting detailed course counselling on the course during SP Open House, he knew SP was the best choice for him. He was eventually accepted into the course only after making an appeal. Life took a big turn for him thereafter.

From being an unmotivated student who indulged in video gaming, and was sometimes seen as a “burden” to his classmates at Zhenghua Secondary School, Jonathan rose to become a SP Model Student Award winner. For his academic achievements in SP, he was awarded the LTA Engineering Award.

Recognising that SP has given him a valuable opportunity to learn and excel, Jonathan wants to pay it forward. From someone who once needed help with his studies, he tutored his SP juniors under the Peer Tutoring Scheme and also returned to his alma mater to coach students who were weak in Physics.

Jonathan volunteered in overseas community projects in Indonesia and Vietnam. His passion and talent for civil engineering helped him effectively construct a wooden jetty in an Indonesian village and an in-situ courtyard for a primary school in rural Vietnam. He also volunteered with a senior citizens’ home locally.

His excellent time management enabled him to pursue his CCA with the SP Symphonic Band first as a trombonist, and he was eventually appointed to be the Concert Master. He conducted the band in its annual concert series and occasionally arranged pieces for the band. He also orchestrated a piece titled "Pokémon Suite" which premiered at the SP Arts Fiesta in 2014.

In his final year, Jonathan did a research internship with the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the National University of Singapore (NUS). His supervisor was full of praise for his high-quality reports.

Jonathan has been offered the prestigious Land Transport Authority Local/Overseas Scholarship which allows him to study engineering at any English-speaking university in the world. He has a particular interest in structural or geotechnical engineering, and looks forward to starting his career with LTA upon completing his degree programme. In his later part of his life, he sees himself returning to SP as a lecturer because, in his own words, "SP has made it possible for me, and I hope to make it possible for others who want a second chance too."


  • Lee Kuan Yew Award
  • Singapore Concrete Institute Gold Medal
  • OCBC Prize
  • Singapore Structural Steel Society Prize
  • The Institution of Engineers Gold Medal Award
  • Tiong Seng Contractors Prize