We met up with the National Science Challenge winners and chatted with them about their win, parents, de-stressing activities and future plans!
For eight grueling weeks, over 300 Secondary 3 students from 63 secondary schools battled over complex scientific theories and challenges on television.
The National Science Challenge, jointly organized by the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) and Science Centre Singapore (SCS), came to a close on 11th August with Raffles Institution (RI) beating the final 12 teams to win the coveted championship trophy.
TheAsianParent team met up with the five brilliant winners to have a chat.
The winners (from left to right): Daniel Mark Keat Kay, Ernest Ang Jin Guang, Neo Yuan Zhe Jax, Ashwin Venkidachalam, Daryl Pay Shieu Ming
It’s celebration time!
All five members of the winning RI team shyly agree that they are mini celebrities in school now. Team member, Daryl, timidly says, “More people in school recognize us now”. They laugh when we suggest that they have become mini-celebrities. The humility of these young teenagers humbles us.
Our parents are very understanding and helpful…
The brilliant youngsters say that they have their teachers, friends and parents to thank for the win. They also insist that their parents did not force them to study for hours at end to prepare for the competition.
“ We are all self-motivated individuals. We love Science and books on Science,” team member, Yuan Zhe, quips.
Team leader, Ashwin, enthused, “ When I want to buy books on Science for self-learning, my parents first investigate if I really need them. Once satisfied, they do not hesitate to provide me with the money for the books.”
All team members agree that their parents were very understanding of their busy time schedules and allowed them to go for meetings everyday of the week in preparation for the competition, even if it meant skipping co-curricular activities (CCA).
When asked if winning the National Science Challenge has upped expectations from family and teachers, the five soft-spoken individuals disagree. “It is for ourselves that we won and our parents and teachers think that way too,” adds Yuan Zhe. “They help and encourage, not pressure us into achieving and excelling”.
What do our very own future Isaac Newtons and Alexander Grahambells do to escape from the multiple stresses of schoolwork, CCAs and competitions?
Team member, Ernest, says, “I like reading Science Fiction novels during my free time”. You would be far from the truth if you think they are a bunch of bookworms. Apart from burying themselves in books, the bright youngsters also watch television and spend ample time with family and friends everyday to ease the various tensions of being a student.
The winners dislike…
As much as these boys love science, they feel that they do not have the same flair for their mother tongue. Ashwin’s mother tongue is Tamil while the four other team members take Mandarin as their second language. “We are just not exposed to our mother tongue very much,” Daniel reflects.
(Oh oh. The AsianParent team feels that mother tongue is as important as your first language as it reflects your culture and identity. Being bilingual has economic and social advantages too! We wish the boys luck with excelling in their mother tongues!)
We definitely see the hope for a better age in these young winners.
While all four winners would love to pursue a career in the field of science, each of them is keen on exploring a different scientific area.
Daryl and Daniel are fans of the theoretical aspects of Science while Ashwin would like to apply scientific theories to solve real world problems. Yuan Zhe is certain the field of BioChemistry is for him. To top it off, Ernest expresses his love for people, “I would like to study Medicine one day, become a doctor and help people”.
We certainly were impressed with these bright, young stars. We wish them great luck and an awesome future! =)