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Top scorers succeed in school despite tough childhood

Published on Sep 23, 2012 6:00 AM
Mr Asyraf (left) and Mr Kamal Jauhari received the Special Achievement Award at the Anugerah Mendaki awards, which recognise Muslim students who are among the top 10 per cent of their academic cohorts. -- PHOTO: BERITA HARIAN

They were both raised by single mothers and had faced difficulties in school. But on Saturday, 18-year-old Muhammad Asyraf Chumino and 26-year-old Muhammad Kamal Jauhari Zaini were singled out from a group of 400 high achievers in the Muslim community for their resilience in the face of challenges.

They were the only recipients of the Special Achievement Award at this year's Anugerah Mendaki awards, organised by the Muslim self-help group. The awards ceremony to recognise Muslim students who are among the top 10 per cent of their academic cohorts was held yesterday at Nanyang Polytechnic.

Senior Minister of State for Education, and Information, Communications and the Arts Lawrence Wong, who was the guest of honour, gave out the awards to top scorers in the Primary School Leaving Examination, the N levels, the O levels, the A levels and the International Baccalaureate diploma. Students who topped madrasah, polytechnic, university or Institute of Technical Education courses were also honoured.

Mr Asyraf, who topped his cohort in Northlight School last year with a grade point average of 3.85 out of 4, had dropped out of school when he was 10 years old to take care of his mother after his father died. The soft-spoken young man said his mother had sunk into depression. "After observing how she acted for a while, I realised she couldn't cope on her own, so I decided to stay at home with her," he said.

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