The LKY-ARE Award is a national level award for achievement in education that was presented since 2005. It recognises well-rounded students who have excelled in both academic and non-academic spheres, and who exemplify the qualities articulated in our desired outcomes of education. This year, Damien Kang Jun Heng has been awarded this prestigious accolade for his contributions to Catholic High Scout Group whilst attaining excellent results in his GCE O Level Examinations. He has demonstrated excellent leadership and interpersonal skills, whilst displaying exemplary conduct, being an inspiration for his fellow peers.
Below is Damien's reflection on attaining this award:
I am very honoured and humbled to have received the Lee Kuan Yew Award for All Round Excellence. It was a pleasant surprise when I got the news, and I had to think hard and reflect about my journey to where and who I am today, and I feel that a large part of this growth that I had was due to Scouting.
In my Sec 1 and 2 years, I was a much more reckless and ignorant student who felt that I was the top of the world, having Scouts and being part of Council. Of course, all of this fell apart when I got in trouble and I was removed from Council. This period of time was a really tough period of time for me, because I had felt really alone and it was difficult to find hope in this dark spot of my life. I had to spend time reflecting and my values and convictions were tested as I needed to be decisive: whether I wanted to just give up, or I could fight back and strive to improve myself, to win back the respect of my teachers and peers.
During this period, I feel that much of my time was invested into Scouts to distract me from all the problems that I had faced outside of Scouts. To me, Scouting was a respite from my usual problems, and I poured my heart and soul into the Troop, doing stuff such as preparing equipment for our November Camp or preparing for SLC 2017. Scouts was a place where I never felt discriminated against for my mistakes, and this gave me the opportunity to regain my confidence and grow myself as a person.
Getting in trouble was a turning point for me, and after that, in Sec 3 and Sec 4, I strived to be a better person everyday, trying my best to turn a new leaf. Being promoted to a Patrol Leader in Sec 3 also gave me the opportunity to lead and be a leader. I realised through this that I had an obligation to my juniors to be a good role model, and to stay out of trouble. I kept the troop values of 智仁勇 in my head and based all that I did from these 3 values, so as to give myself the time and space to grow as a person. Of course, the journey to repent has not been an easy one, and it can be really difficult, but I am glad to have people in Scouts that I can turn to when I face difficulty.
Looking back, Scouting was an avenue for me to escape and not face the problems of my life. Scouting gave me opportunities when nobody would, and I am eternally grateful to Catholic High Scout Group for this. This is partly why I am so attached to my Scout Group, because without Scouts, I have no idea where I would be. I have learnt so much in my time in Catholic High Scout Group, and I am still learning from the leaders and even my juniors when I go back to Scouts.
I am proud to have the opportunity to represent the Troop and the school in receiving this award. To have the opportunity to bring glory for the troop and give back to the troop is an opportunity that I really treasure, and I will continue to do my best in everything that I do.