O-level students with special needs succeed
He had only two friends when he was in primary school.
Ryan Lu, 16, from Hai Sing Catholic School, told The New Paper: "I found out the people who I thought were my friends were backstabbing me, spreading rumours behind my back, and they thought that I was inferior to them in terms of studies."
Ryan was diagnosed with profound hearing loss in both ears and had a cochlear implant procedure at the age of two.
He relies on a hearing aid and his ability to lip read.
He also has low muscle tone at his jaw area, which affects his articulation. He could not speak and read as well as his peers when he was younger and failed his Primary 1 examinations.
Struggling with the different pronunciations, he couldn't speak or understand Mandarin and was exempted from taking mother tongue as a subject.
Ryan said: "My jaw hurts sometimes when I pronounce certain words.
"One of my biggest disappointments is not being able to speak or understand Mandarin. If given the chance, I definitely want to learn the language."
But Ryan did not let his disabilities get the better of him and he continued to work hard and things got better when he entered secondary school.
Ryan was among the 26,750 O-level students who received their results yesterday and he intends to apply for a junior college after he got an L1B5 of 11 points.
The passing rates for this year's O-level exams have improved over the results in 2018 with 84.8 per cent of candidates achieving five or more passes, compared with 83.4 per cent last year and 84.3 in 2016, which was Singapore's best showing at the national exams in at least three decades.
O-level student Benecia Tang from Crescent Girls' School also did well. The 16-year-old was diagnosed with dyslexia in Primary 4.
"There were moments where I felt like giving up because I did not think that I was at the same level as everyone else," she said.
Benecia was given extra time for all her exam papers and like Ryan, she was exempted from mother tongue as she was unable to read Chinese characters.
She told TNP: "Sometimes, I would blame my disability when I experienced failure. But in the end, I told myself to work hard and not let anything overpower (me) because I can't change who I am so I have to embrace my disability."
Benecia secured a spot in Singapore Polytechnic's diploma in business administration when she applied through the Early Admissions Exercise (EAE) last year.
She continued to study hard for her O-level exams and achieved an L1B4 of 10 points.
"You have to keep pushing through because once you give up, you will never get the chance to experience success," she added.
Students who wish to apply for admission to JCs, Millennia Institute, polytechnics, and the Institute of Technical Education may do so via the Joint Admissions Exercise (JAE) using their O-level examination results.
The JAE registration is open from now till 4pm this Friday.