Sports School: Students can excel in both studies and sports
Average score of Sports School's IB cohort goes above national median
Can the Singapore Sports School (SSP) help its student-athletes excel in both sports and studies?
That is one question that parents and their children had been asking since the Woodlands-based school was formed in 2004.
With the results of its first batch of International Baccalaureate (IB) graduates released yesterday, principal Tan Teck Hock hopes to dispel any doubt that his school can help its students excel both in the classroom and in the sporting arena.
The 19 SSP IB graduates scored between 35 and 43, out of a maximum of 45 points, with the school's average score of 40 higher than the national median of 38.5.
Tan was quick to note, though, that the last statistic is obtained from a small cohort, as opposed to the likes of Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) and Hwa Chong International School, which have more IB students.
Tan said: "We have proven in the O levels that we can do it, but it wasn't enough; we had our first President's Scholar in Scott Ang, not enough; last year, we had Isabelle Li receive the Public Service Commission scholarship, still not enough.
"People are still asking us the question. I think that with the IB results, we have just nailed it and I think we should just end this, all the doubting Thomases should just go away.
"We can help people balance regular sports training together with academic studies. We can do it well and deliver the outcomes."
Graduates such as Deborah Wong (netball), Bernard Ong (badminton) and Daphne Oh (bowling) - all 18 - said factors such as living on campus, small classroom sizes and the customisation of their sports and classroom schedules helped in the Class of 2015 doing well.
Said Deborah, the school's top scorer with 43 points: "There were several times where I was nearly at my breaking point because of my studies and training, but staying in boarding helped because the teachers (who stayed in boarding) would hang around after supervised study time and just talk to us."
Bernard, who scored 42 points, said there were "eight to 10 teachers" for the class of 21 - two will take the IB exams in May - and their academic schedules are adjusted to fit into their competition and training commitments.
The former student councillor and 2014 Youth Olympian said: "If I were in a mainstream school, I think one of my three responsibilities (studies, training and student council) would have to suffer."
Tan added: "We are always ready to allow someone to compete locally or overseas without having to worry about missing classes... it's instinctive for us to say, 'You go first and we think of a way to do make-up classes'."
Former student council president Daphne has even received a conditional offer to study zoology at the University of Western Australia in Perth next month, based on her earlier exam results.
Daphne, who scored 41 points said: "Bowling will still be an important part of my life, even if I am more interested now in animals and environmental conservation."
"I will probably be in the collegiate team in Australia and still competing in tournaments over there," added the 2015 Australia National Youth Cup Finals champion.