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From humble beginnings to President's Scholar

19-year-old grew up with little, but now hopes to help people as a doctor

Published on Aug 14, 2014 5:51 AM

When he was in school three years ago, Mr Arturo Neo was called into his teacher's office. But he was not scolded for doing something wrong - instead, he was offered cash and kind words.

His Hwa Chong Institution teacher, Mr Joseph Sim, knew that the teen - the youngest of three children in a single-parent family - was struggling financially, and wanted to help with the expenses of an upcoming overseas school trip with his own money.

Mr Neo refused the gift of about US$300 (S$375) at first, but Mr Sim told him: "I'm helping you now, so you can come back and help us next time."

The incident touched Mr Neo, who was also an Education Ministry bursary recipient. It was just one of the many times he had been offered a helping hand, he said.

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Background story

The other recipients


HE WAS the president of the NUS High School students' council and valedictorian of his class of 2013.

He finished in first place at the National Public Speaking Competition last year.

Mr Dean will be reading biological sciences at Harvard University in the United States.


HE WAS vice-chairman of the Raffles Institution debate club and secretary of resources on the school's students' council.

Mr Koh also spearheaded a public speaking workshop for the elderly in 2012. Mr Koh, who holds a private pilot's licence with the Singapore Youth Flying Club, will be reading

either political science or psychology at Johns Hopkins University in the United States.


SHE received a Raffles diploma for character and leadership last year, and was also secretary of finance on the school's students' council.

Miss Lee, who is fluent in Malay and is a competitive table-tennis player, will be reading economics at the University of Pennsylvania in the United States.


HE WAS president of Raffles Institution's Interact Club, which organises community service projects. He has also headed several fund-raising drives for the Singapore Red Cross and the Unaccompanied Children's Association in Cambodia. In 2012, he volunteered weekly as a tutor for underprivileged children at the Henderson Care Centre.

Mr Lim will be reading global affairs at Yale University in the United States.