SINGAPORE - Singapore's first specialised school for Normal (Technical) students celebrated its official opening on Friday night, more than two years after it took in its first batch of students.
Its pioneer batch, which entered the school in 2013, is currently in Secondary 3 and the school now has about 590 students in total.
Students danced, sang, and played popular tunes to entertain guests at the event, who included Education Minister Heng Swee Keat.
In his address to the Jurong East school, Mr Heng said Crest took on a "whole-school specialised approach" to learning. "School leaders, teachers, resources, curriculum - everything comes together with the same focus to provide the best education possible for students eligible for the Normal (Technical) course."
Crest Secondary is one of four specialised schools here catering to less academically-inclined students.
The others are Spectra Secondary in Woodlands, which also takes in Normal (Technical) students, and Towner Road's NorthLight School and Upper Bukit Timah's Assumption Pathway School, which are for students who failed the Primary School Leaving Examination.
At Crest, students take up a four-year academic programme leading to the GCE N-level exams. They also learn vocational skills and will graduate with an Institute of Technical Education (ITE) Skills Certification in one of four areas - facility services, mechanical servicing, retail services or hospitality services.
Principal Frederick Yeo said it was rewarding "to see how we have touched lives".
He added: "When our students first came in, some didn't think they were good in anything, and some were not getting the right support at home. But we try to make a difference in their lives and pull them up."
One example was 15-year-old Taufiq Diman, one of the guitar players who performed on Friday night. He picked up the instrument when he was in Secondary 1.
"My friends were all good in something, such as soccer, skateboarding, and parkour," said the Secondary 3 student. "I felt a bit left out because although I tried all of that too, I was not good in any of them. But I started playing the guitar in school and I realised it was something I could do well in. I realised that it is true that everyone has talent."
His new hobby has given him opportunities to perform on stage and before crowds. At home, he plays the guitar with his father Mr Diman Salleh, who, like him, enjoys heavy metal and hard rock. It is also opportunity for father-son bonding.
"When I perform on stage, I feel like I am releasing my emotions. People also get to see a different side of me... It's a beautiful thing," said Taufiq.
Mr Diman, a 43-year-old property and facilities manager, added: "Every child can be good in something and I'm glad my son has found his talent."