By Nicole Chan (19S05A), Kwee Qiao Ying (19S03K), Kuang Shane Qi (19A13A), Emily Ni (20S03C), Valerie Tan (20S07B), and Benjamin Liew (20A03A)
Photographs courtesy of Melvin Liam (19S05B) of Raffles Photographic Society and Alyssa Marie Loo (19A13A)
The atmosphere in the Multi-Purpose Hall was noticeably tense as the Batch of 2018 streamed in, anticipating the release of their A Level results. Conversations between friends were punctuated with nervous laughter, and parents anxiously crowded at the edge of the gallery. Eventually, the buzzing died down, as Mr Jeremy Ng prompted everyone to rise for the Institution Anthem. This was swiftly followed by Mr Frederick Yeo’s welcome speech to the Year 7s and their parents.
“The A Levels is a millstone, but also a milestone. Continue to be open to learning, continue to be open to setbacks, and keep a growth mindset with you.” This was the crux of Mr Yeo’s message to the Year 7s, as they sat in the MPH anxiously awaiting their results. As the screen flashed with statistics detailing how the batch performed, cheers resounded through the hall as students reacted to their (sometimes unexpectedly) good grades. Most notable was the batch’s response to their outstanding Literature distinction rate:
The release of results commenced immediately after the speech concluded. Many students were seen sobbing in joy, and in the midst of the chaos, there were pockets of quiet where some students offered their disappointed friends a shoulder to cry on. Some more passionate ones took to more extreme expressions of their sentiments. One student took off his cap and knelt before his results slip in elation, while another went up on stage to dab furiously.
There were plenty of inspiring stories of leaps in grades that might seem unbelievable, most of all to the candidates themselves. One such candidate was Franklin Yoong (18S03P), who, upon receiving his results, promptly fell to his knees before his results slip. He expressed considerable surprise and happiness, revealing that he’d scored S’s and U’s for his Y5 CTs.
“Look at the [positive] gradient for my ELL grades,” another student exclaimed to her friend, both of whom chose to remain anonymous. “S to E to D to C to B.” The relief, especially from those who had felt their papers were difficult, was palpable. “It was very unexpected. My friends and I take KI and we thought the paper was very difficult and that we were gonna get a C. But we all got A,” Xu Jing (18S03C) said.
But the results are definitely not the only focus of Rafflesian life. When asked what she would miss most about JC, Sun Jia Ying (18A01D) said, “I would definitely miss friends and familiar faces. Even if you don’t know them well, just seeing them around [school] is great. The student-initiated activities in RI are great too.” Fabien Tan (18S03L) added that “meeting people from different backgrounds and circles was also very enjoyable.” Soh Ying Qi (18A01C) reflected that the most surprising thing about the event was how anticlimactic it was — it was “not a grand shrieking affair, but really about [the] personal journey that you took to get here”.
When talking about A Level results, one often focuses on the students’ reactions. But what of those who toil behind the scenes, making sure that every student reaches their full potential? GP teacher Mr Winston Cheong remarked, “I was privileged to watch [my class of 18A13A] grow from awkward 16-year-olds to the ladies and gentlemen that you see today.” (With regard to his hopes for their futures, he only said that “the most important thing is for them to visit and buy [him] gifts”.)
Another GP teacher, Mr Larry Lee, also stated, “The students have done well and shouldn’t be disappointed.” He went on to share that students should have the courage to “explore other areas” and not stick to the “usual well-trodden path for RI”. He cautioned students against “chasing after someone else’s dream”, and to stay true to themselves.
The event was especially significant for history teacher Mr Gavin Swee, who celebrated his first batch of A Level candidates. He had contacted his class before the results release, reminding them that “what’s truly important about a student’s education is who they become”. He feels that the grades often obscure what this event is about: “a celebration of the student in every aspect of them”.
And how could we forget the people who have been there from the very beginning? Parents were seen taking proud wefies with their children and embracing them after they had gotten their certificates. Whatever results their children had received, it seemed that they were proud nonetheless. One parent had advice for future batches of students: “Enjoy the moment; enjoy the whole school process. [A-Levels] are just a necessary, but not sufficient, step.”
With their exceptional performance, the Batch of 2018 has truly made the school proud. But one must not forget that life is so much more than grades. As Literature teacher Mrs Nicola Perry aptly put, “enjoy the journey; there’s always going to be a path for you”.