In the face of disruptive changes, the new generation of leaders must hold on to what is evergreen - values, character and commitment.
It was through perseverance, determination and foresight that our pioneers built a nation based on meritocracy, integrity and impartiality, said President Halimah Yacob.
"We must never forget or abandon these values," she told the newest batch of President's Scholarship recipients at the award ceremony at the Istana yesterday.
"The challenges will be different, but our values will be what unite us and keep us strong. We must not let the tides of change divide us."
Also at the ceremony were Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, Minister for Trade and Industry and Minister-in-charge of the Public Service Chan Chun Sing, Education Minister Ong Ye Kung, Second Minister for Education and Finance Indranee Rajah and Public Service Commission (PSC) chairman Lee Tzu Yang.
Madam Halimah said the President's Scholars would have to lead Singaporeans to tackle challenges.
"As leaders of tomorrow, you will be responsible for rallying your fellow citizens to work together. To do this, you must remain closely connected to the ground, and serve with dedication and humility."
CONNECT WITH THE GROUND
As leaders of tomorrow, you will be responsible for rallying your fellow citizens to work together. To do this, you must remain closely connected to the ground, and serve with dedication and humility.
PRESIDENT HALIMAH YACOB, in her message to the newest batch of President's Scholars.
Securing the scholarship and achieving great heights in education or career are not ends in themselves, she said. "We must expect our best and brightest who have benefited from the system to also contribute more to our society."
Madam Halimah also paid tribute to Mr Eddie Teo, who retired as PSC chairman last month. Noting that he has been responsible for selecting President's Scholars for the past decade, she said: "His work has ensured that Singapore continues to attract and retain a fair share of talent in the public service."
This year's five scholarship recipients, all 19, are Mr Stefan Liew Jing Rui from River Valley High School, Mr Alden Tan Ming Yang and Ms Tan Xin Hwee from Raffles Institution, as well as Ms Sharmaine Koh Mingli and Ms Shi Peng Yi Penny from Hwa Chong Institution.
Ms Koh, also a recipient of the Singapore Armed Forces Scholarship, will read history and politics at Yale University. She said her decision to enlist in the army stemmed partly from her interest in history. "(National security) is something we should not take for granted today, as we continue to defend our independence and way of life," said Ms Koh.
Ms Shi, who will read urban studies at Stanford University, said her course incorporates elements of disciplines such as economics and anthropology which would put her in good stead to serve the public. She said: "I hope to have a chance to contribute in urban planning and make Singapore a more inclusive space."
Mr Tan will study economics, statistics and data science at Yale University, while Mr Liew will study liberal arts at Yale-NUS College. Both are also recipients of the Singapore Police Force Scholarship.
Ms Tan will read psychology and philosophy at Oxford University.
The most prestigious of all PSC undergraduate awards, the President's Scholarship has been given out since 1966. Four to six scholarships have been awarded each year for the past 10 years.