SINGAPORE - From July to August 2021, national squad golfer Sean Lee competed in the United States despite the International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma examinations being just three months away.
To make up for lost time, the Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) student finished his internal assessment project work a month before his peers.
His two-month stint in the US, where he hopes to read computer science on a scholarship, saw the 18-year-old focusing on his golf. He spent only 30 minutes to an hour daily on school work and caught up on studying on interstate flights.
After the fruitful trip that saw him compete in four tournaments, including the IMG Academy Junior World Championship, Lee returned home to prepare for his exams in November.
He was rewarded for his efforts on Tuesday (Jan 4) when the results were released, scoring 43 out of a maximum 45 points.
He said: "I'm very pleased with it considering the circumstances. Every single day, I was on the plane or competing, so I really couldn't attend any classes. When I came back, it was a blur for me and I had to work really hard."
Race driver Alex Brown, a student at St. Joseph's Institution International (SJII), also excelled at the IB exams, attaining a perfect score of 45 points.
The Singapore permanent resident has represented Singapore at overseas competitions, including the Formula V1 single-seater class in the Philippines in 2019.
While the Covid-19 pandemic has kept him in Singapore for most of the past two years, Brown continues to train two to three times during the week, with full-day sessions during the weekend.
Aside from racing, his interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (Stem) has led him to start projects such as Robotics Unbound, which provides free introductory robotics and programming workshops to young children.
He also co-founded XS News, a platform that condenses global affairs into palatable forms for young people, and he is the digital and innovations director for The BAUM Movement, another SJII alumni-led initiative educating the latter on sustainable investing.
Comparing the IB exams to the season finale of racing, Brown, who will enlist for national service on Wednesday, said: "It's a culmination of two years of quite hard work, from coursework to studying for the exams and trying to juggle projects. Seeing the results at the end was quite relieving."
Other national athletes who fared well at the IB exams were the Singapore Sports School's (SSP) Kimberly Ong and Chan Phu Xien, who both scored 44 points.
They were among the SSP's 23 student-athletes who took the examinations. One achieved a perfect score, while 78 per cent of the cohort scored at least 40 points.
Wushu exponent Ong transferred to the SSP when she was a Secondary 4 student at Anglican High School after hearing about their extended IB diploma programme that allows students to complete their studies in three years instead of two.
Ong, 19, who plans to read law at a local university, said: "I felt that in the mainstream school, I wasn't very well supported because the academic rigour is quite high. But in Sports School, most of us have national sporting commitments so I feel better understood here."
National fencer Chan was also pleased to see his efforts at juggling his studies and sport pay off. He said: "Even though it's tough, what keeps me going is my passion for fencing. I really love it and I want to do well in it in the future."