A class act both on and off the performance stage

Erika (far right) managed her time well by also trying to complete her homework during rehearsal breaks. The 16-year-old (with orange streamer, right) took part in a school musical in her final year.
Erika managed her time well by also trying to complete her homework during rehearsal breaks. PHOTO: ANGLICAN HIGH SCHOOL
Erika (far right) managed her time well by also trying to complete her homework during rehearsal breaks. The 16-year-old (with orange streamer, right) took part in a school musical in her final year.
The 16-year-old (with orange streamer, right) took part in a school musical in her final year.PHOTO: ANGLICAN HIGH SCHOOL

Anglican High School student juggles dance and theatre roles, a maths contest and a research project with SUTD

Like one of the stars in Disney's High School Musical, Maria Erika Glen Goh, 16, is a maths and science whiz who can also sing and dance.

The former Anglican High School student was one of her school's top performers in the O levels, with a raw L1R5 score of eight points for English and five relevant subjects.

Her score became six points after taking into account bonus points.

"I was very shocked but it was a good kind of shock. I knew this year's O levels were quite difficult and I didn't expect to get straight As," said Erika.

In her final year, the vice-president of the AHS Dance Society juggled leading roles in a ballet concert and school musical, on top of taking part in the Singapore Symphony Children's Choir, Singapore Dance Theatre and Singapore Repertory Theatre's The Young Company.

This may seem like a lot to handle but Erika was up for the challenge.

"I believe in being bold and taking risks," she said.

She was also responsible for student welfare as a senior member of the student council.

In her final year, she took part in a mathematics modelling competition and did a research project with the Singapore University of Technology and Design on the early detection of skin cancer.

Said Anglican High School principal Maureen Lee: "I am proud of Erika - not just for her very good academic performance and her achievements in performing arts and academic competitions, but also for her willingness to serve others; her courage and determination to pursue her passions."

Erika, who also plays the piano and guitar, said juggling co-curricular activities and school work involved a lot of discipline.

"It's a matter of being focused instead of procrastinating and leaving things to the last minute.

"I draft a timetable for myself and stick to it."

She tried to get some homework done during rehearsal breaks, and also took time every night to reflect on how the day went.

The only child of a logistics manager and enrolled nurse said her parents have been very supportive.

When she was three, she was mesmerised by the ballerinas she saw on television and asked her parents if she could take classes.

They obliged, signing her up for classes at Yamaha.

While she takes pride in what she does, she is not guilty of a misplaced striving for perfection, even though her teacher's advice was to "practise not until it's perfect but until it's never wrong".

Other than Chinese, she did not take private tuition for any other subject.

"I didn't want additional tuition to make me more stressed out.

"I'm the kind of person who just asks questions in class.

"Most of my doubts are clarified by the school teacher."

Selecting a school - Victoria Junior College (VJC), Anglo-Chinese Junior College (ACJC) or St Joseph's Institution - is now on her mind.

"What really interests me about VJC and ACJC are their theatre studies (programmes)," she said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 16, 2017, with the headline 'A class act both on and off the performance stage'. Print Edition | Subscribe