Friday, July 17

How To Reward The Brightest PT3 Students & (Hopefully) Uplift A Community

The iconic photograph of this programme.

Last weekend, I brought 5 top-performing PT3 students from my remote school on a trip to Sibu as a reward for their diligence in the exam. At the same time, my hidden agenda is to influence them to think bigger for themselves & also for their rural Iban community. A trip to Sibu might not be much to many of you reading this but to my students from extremely humble backgrounds in ulu Song, it is likely the equivalent of a trip to Singapore for someone from KL.

When I first started running this programme in 2011, it seemed to me like just a simple reward for students who achieved As for English PMR. But, it inspired them & the subsequent cohorts to work hard for an A in PMR English so much so that I decided to do it again in 2012, 2013, & 2014. The As just kept coming! Also, we were soon getting our first PMR 8A students so I decided to up the ante with a trip to Kuching for them in 2013 & 2014.

Soon, I recognised the potential of this programme to influence the future leaders of the rural community & turned it into a leadership programme where they could gain valuable insights from notable individuals.

Check out the pictures of the trip!

Stuff we take for granted :: Their first meal at McD.

Stuff we take for granted :: Their first Ramadhan bazaar.

Stuff we take for granted :: Their first movie at a cinema.

You'll be surprised how many of the things that we take for granted in city life are totally new experiences for them. It's a really humbling experience because city folk tend to complain about trivial first-world-problems like a slow Wifi connection. With my teacher's salary, I am able to bless my students with novel experiences, inspire them to work harder than anybody else in their lives, be successful, & return to their rural community to bless others.

You see, the children that I am taking for these trips are not daft. They are the cream of their community & they will one day be leaders within their community should they choose to. I've seen too many of the brightest ones lose their way or fall into vice. I hope that this trip will directly impact their directions in life & also inspire the lives of those they talk to about this experience.

Took them to a book store so that they could enjoy my teacher discount.

I've also found that this community lacks good role models. Those who are capable usually leave for greener pastures & rarely come back because there are very few employment/economic opportunities. Those who do stay behind are not exactly portraying the diligence & wisdom necessary for success. Children usually imitate the people they grow up with & I didn't want them to get stuck in a vicious cycle of poverty.

So, after finding out their ambitions, I've roped in a humble doctor, an awesome teacher & a performing principal to share their lives & experiences with my students. Hopefully, this has given them insights into the fields they are interested in & ideas on how to get there. Also, I hope that they will think about their community & how they can contribute to its development instead of just leaving & never looking back.

They spoke with Dr Jonathan Wong & Mr Wong Siong Ning.
Dr Jonathan is a humble doctor at Sibu Hospital who was very open with his many insights & stories.

Mr Wong is an English teacher at SMK Tinggi Sarikei, who has led many of his students to academic excellence.
He will be speaking at an event for students by STU in Dewan Suarah Kapit on 8 August.
If you're a student in Kapit, be sure to ask your English teacher about the event & tell your friends about it!


They spoke with Mr Clement Chieng of SMK St Elizabeth.
His school's 2014 SPM performance is #4 out of 186 
secondary schools in Sarawak. Only losing to elite schools which only enrol straight A students.He spoke about what it took to achieve excellent results & the challenges faced by the Iban community.

For a mere RM1000, I was able to cover the transportation + budget accommodation + food + entertainment of 5 students for 3D2N. The cost of such a trip pales in comparison to the valuable experience & inspiration gained from it. The changes in the students & the deep understanding of why they need to push themselves academically make this small investment in their lives totally worthwhile.

For far too long, I stood helplessly by as I witnessed this community being exploited & pushed around because they didn't have power, money or education. I might not be able to help the current generation but I will be able to plant seeds in the future generation & inspire them to end all vicious cycles within their community. It's time for them as a people to rise up, break all crutches, & surprise us with their achievements.

There is much that needs to be done. Do you want to help?
If so, contact me & we'll discuss how you can make a difference in the lives of these children as well.
 
Check out all the pictures here:

Last weekend, I was in Sibu with the top PT3 students from last year!It was an unbelievable weekend with many firsts...
Posted by Mr Yong (Jarod Yong) on Thursday, 16 July 2015

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