Singapore Poly graduate flying high but staying grounded
After selling erasers and knick-knacks for profit during his school days, pursuing a business administration course felt natural for Mr Gerwyn Teo.
Mr Teo, 20, is one of Singapore Polytechnic's top graduates in its Class of 2021, having attained a grade point average of 4.0.
On May 6, he earned a diploma in business administration and certificate in humanitarian affairs.
But his success in school did not come without challenges.
Mr Teo told The New Paper: "It was challenging to get used to the rigour (of polytechnic)... but I was fortunate enough to have patient and loving teachers who eased us through those transitions and friends who journeyed with me over the past three years."
During his time in poly, Mr Teo had the opportunity to go on a community service trip to Bintan, where his team built a scalable waste water management system for the locals.
He said: "It was eye-opening because these are things that we take for granted in Singapore.
"Although there was a communication barrier, I could feel the locals' sincerity."
His passion for community service stemmed from a young age when he served as a volunteer at his church.
He also joined the Woodgrove Youth Network in 2019 and served the community by organising various activities such as a food distribution drive and terrarium workshops.
After learning more about humanitarian affairs in Singapore Polytechnic, Mr Teo identified gaps in social services and volunteers.
"There is a difference between volunteering on an ad hoc and a regular basis. It (volunteering) has to be done with intrinsic motivation," he said.
Mr Teo, who plans to further his studies and obtain a business degree in one of the local universities, also hopes to create a social enterprise that can have an impact on communities.
He said: "Purpose is important, profits are secondary."
Despite his achievements, Mr Teo has it drilled in him that character comes before any results or achievements.
"Since young, my parents taught me to give back to society and have a strong set of values to ensure I stay rooted to the ground."