The day was like any other, yet the atmosphere in the school was tense – a sense of waiting hung over all of us. Today was the big day – the results were here.
The time had come for us, as a College, to crowd the upper gallery of the school hall to cheer on and support our seniors, who had come to collect their long-awaited GCSE A-Level results. After almost three months of waiting, the Class of 2014 was finally returning to the College with bated breath, anxious to receive the piece of paper that many felt would determine their future.
As early as 1pm, many of the J3 students were already sighted wandering around the premises, reliving their days as College students, while feeling somewhat disappointed that the treehouses were out of action. Some sported bald heads or crew cuts, in anticipation of their National Service (NS) enlistment. Others looked like they had made use of the break to transform themselves into the latest style icons. Nevertheless, all wore the same apprehensive expression on their faces as they trooped grimly into the hall.
By 2.15, the hall was starting to resemble the combined assembly strength of that very morning. It certainly felt uncanny seeing the hall occupied by neat rows of students, but wearing jeans and t-shirts instead of the College uniform. The hall was a sea of different colours, punctuated every now and then by the military uniforms of the poor souls who had had to enlist for NS early. And the tension in the air was certainly palpable— one could almost feel the whole cohort collectively holding their breath.
Ms Sharalee Yuen was the first teacher to take the stage. After announcing that she did not want to stand between the J3s and their results, she exhorted the students to read up on their university applications before yielding the stage to our principal, Ms Ek Soo Ben, who proceeded to deliver the news with gusto – and she had nothing but praise for our Victorians. The cohort managed to attain a mean of 84 rank points — a stellar achievement. Half the students had scored at least 3 H2 distinctions, with 192 of them scoring at least six distinctions, and 71 students scoring at least seven. As the name list was flashed on the screen, reactions of joy erupted in random places all across the hall. Ms Ek proceeded to thank the teachers (with a rather cute slide depicting ‘Professor Ek and her Eks-Men’) before officially commencing the release of the result slips.
Shortly after the results were released, we observed the first few Victorians slowly filing out of the hall, to the tune of Mr Tan’s repeated intonations: “Current students please stand back!”. Wearing a plethora of facial expressions, they slowly made their way to the canteen.
A J2 student who got his Chinese results back was visibly elated, even more so when he realised he was being interviewed. He had achieved a score “better than expected” for his Chinese grade, and when asked to describe his feelings, replied in Chinese “jin jin you wei” (with relish and enjoyment)!
Not everybody was relishing the experience as much as he did, though. Among the students still inside the hall, celebrations were more muted. A handful of J3s, while still satisfied with their results, lamented that they had gotten results slightly below expectations — “okay lah” — and while they did feel bad, they were determined not to give up. For one student, it just meant trying for a local university instead of foreign ones, while another student mentioned that “despite” his results, he would still go to the back of the hall to thank his teachers.
As the results were slowly released, one by one, yelps were heard from random points in the hall. Many people looked shaken by their results — but their feelings were quite hard to discern. We observed quite a few people sobbing profusely, but weren’t sure if they were crying tears of joy or sadness – perhaps there were both. Nevertheless, all was not lost for the J3s. Teachers were quick to point out that they didn’t want to put pressure on their students — Mr Matthew Chua, a CT, felt strongly that this was not about his expectations, and that “as long as they’re happy with it, I’m happy.” Meanwhile, teachers such as Mr Peter Wee were on standby to provide counselling and help to any students who were feeling too distraught; feeling very concerned for the students, he immediately rattled off a list of advice for anyone feeling down, including getting friends and teachers (and parents if possible) to look out for them, making sure they were okay.
Also working hard in the hall were our 33rd SC nominees. We caught up with one of them, who stated that he was “quite stressed” because of the very tense atmosphere in the hall — it had rubbed off on him! Like us, he had observed people crying and wasn’t sure whether they were happy or sad. In any case, he did say that being in the hall had another effect on him – it was a memento mori of sorts, given that he’d be receiving his results in two years’ time. If anything, he said it spurred him to study harder, so that he could afford to “err, don’t cry”.
Before we wrapped up our interviews for the day, we ran into a beaming Ms Ek. Initially, upon figuring out that we were from The Victorian Press, she was not very forthcoming with soundbites for us, bringing up some VJC mottos such as “work hard, play hard”! However, the smile on her face was a dead giveaway, and in the end she couldn’t resist: “I’m very happy for all my students, and I’d like to thank the teachers and parents who made this happen!”
The Victorian Press congratulates the class of 2014 on their excellent A-Level results and wishes them all the best in their future endeavours!
Ryan Ch’ng, 16S47
Samuel Chong, 15S43