If life was like a roller coaster, Alan Yeo Jun Xiong would have taken a lot more rides than most of us. To the SP lecturers who had taught him, he was an inspiring and disciplined student. Turn back the clock to ten years ago – a different Alan emerges – a rebellious and delinquent teenager who was so badly behaved that he had to drop out from Montfort Secondary School.
With nothing else to do and his parents not giving him any pocket money, he had no choice but to work. As fate would have it, it was through working that he realised hard work would pay off. At 17, he worked as a waiter and was promoted to banquet captain after just three months. A year later, he was to be promoted a second time but was rejected because of his lack of qualifications. Reluctantly, he took his ‘O’ levels as a private candidate but did not do well. At 19, he joined a telecommunications company and was promoted to project coordinator after about a year. He enrolled in ITE College Central for a Nitec course but again scored dismal results. Reality hit him upon graduation and he realised that his progression opportunities were limited.
His wakeup call came during his national service with the Police Force. He applied to all the polytechnics after national service but none took him in. Desperate, he went back to ITE and appealed to be enrolled into any course. He was offered a place for Higher Nitec in Electronics Engineering in ITE College Central Tampines and he grabbed it.
Alan would not allow any more failures to come his way. At ITE, he led a regimented lifestyle fuelled by a strong desire to succeed. He continued working as a sales consultant and private tutor but that did not take away his attention from studies. Through perseverance and will power, he graduated not just top of the class but as the top graduate of ITE College Central in 2010 with a perfect GPA of 4.0. He applied to join SP as his first choice and was awarded the LKY-STEP Award.
With his outstanding results, he went straight into the second year of his Diploma in Electrical and Electronic course in SP. Besides studying hard, he also participated in sports activities, self-management workshops and volunteered in community services. He continued working throughout his SP days in order not to burden his parents and to save up for his undergraduate studies. Alan graduated from SP with a perfect GPA.
Alan was able to gain direct entry to second year at both Nanyang Technological University and the National University of Singapore (NUS) to study Electrical and Electronic Engineering. He was determined then to push himself to become the top graduate.
Impossible, when broken up, means I’m possible. Alan was testimony to this.
Tay Eng Soon Gold Medal