Five named finalists in Singapore's first National Young Leader Award

(From left) Ms Chia Yee Shin, 18, from Hwa Chong Institution; Ms Shermaine Ng Xue Min, 16, from Raffles Girls' School; Mr Audric Ping Wei Xiang, 18, and Mr Lye Zheng Bin, also 18, both from ITE College Central, and Mr Nathaniel Loh, 18, from St Andre
(From left) Ms Chia Yee Shin, 18, from Hwa Chong Institution; Ms Shermaine Ng Xue Min, 16, from Raffles Girls' School; Mr Audric Ping Wei Xiang, 18, and Mr Lye Zheng Bin, also 18, both from ITE College Central, and Mr Nathaniel Loh, 18, from St Andrew's Junior College. From conducting camps to karate classes, the community project ideas of these five students placed them ahead of 49 applicants for the inaugural National Young Leader Award.  -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

From conducting camps to karate classes, the community project ideas of five students placed them ahead of 49 applicants for the inaugural National Young Leader Award.

Finalists for the award, their work exemplified character, resilience, drive and leadership, and commitment to making a difference in their communities.

They were announced on Thursday at the 10th Anniversary Edition National Young Leaders' Day event held at the Kallang Theatre, where guest-of-honour Education Minister Heng Swee Keat said: "My hope is that you see school as a place where you excel not just in academics ... but also where you learn to develop a heart that feels for others and burns with a fire to want to make a difference."

In the running for the top spot are Chia Yee Shin, 18, from Hwa Chong Institution; Nathaniel Loh, 18, from Saint Andrew's Junior College; Shermaine Ng, 16, from Raffles Girls' School; and Lye Zheng Bin, 18, and Audric Ping, 18, both from ITE College Central.

ITE students Mr Ping, a member of Singapore's national karate team, and Mr Lye, president of his school's Black Knights Air Scouts, conducted free karate lessons and youth camps respectively to make the cut.

Meanwhile, Shermaine led a team of seven students in the international creative problem-solving competition Odyssey of the Mind in 2011 and 2013.

Second-year junior college student Miss Chia, had raised $3,500 selling yoghurt to benefit victims of the earthquake that struck China's Sichuan province in April. Mr Loh, also a second-year junior college student, is planning to transform void decks into study spaces.

Unlike the National Youth Council's Stars of SHINE Award and the Singapore Youth Award, which recognise achievers aged 35 and below, the National Young Leader Award is targeted specifically at those between 15 and 19.

The winner will be announced on Oct 29.