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Feature Stories

Feature Stories

Sanva Saephan 06S101
“From Stateless Refugee to School Builder”

Sanva is an exceptional Meridian who served as our Scholars’ Community Liaison in our 1st Alumni Exco, and has helped in bringing back Meridian Alumni on scholarships to share with our aspiring students in the Talent Management Programme their experiences in the past couple of years.

Now working with Credit Suisse as an operations analyst, Sanva never forgot the difficulties he had to overcome to get an education and achieve success today. He decided to write about his childhood in a refugee camp to raise funds to build a school in his hometown, Laos. The book caught the attention of the media and he raised more money than expected. With the US$45,000 raised, Sanva was able to build a school compound with five classrooms and a library, housing 250 students.

Inspired, Sanva is embarking on his second book so that he can continue to help other Laotian children in need. As he told the Straits Times in an interview published on 31 December 2013, Sanva wants “to be the bridge between Singapore and Laos.” By doing so, he hopes “to give Singaporeans chances to see the livelihood of the villagers in [his] home country, as this will help them appreciate how blessed they are.”

Sanva is an inspiration for all Meridians. Driven and purposeful, yet humble and compassionate, Sanva truly exemplifies that it means to be live with Courage, Purpose and Character.

book writer place



Jolene Tan Wen Li 13S103

Jolene pic

“Concert Band and The Meridian Council (TMC)?”

Upon hearing that Jolene is involved in two CCAs, many might stare in disbelief and wonder how this spirited young lady manages her time so efficiently.

Jolene is known by peers and teachers alike to be an extremely responsible student who displays exemplary attitude in both her studies and CCA. One teacher recalled that when Jolene was busy with TMC duties and unable to attend Concert Band duties, the proactive student would practise the piece on her own. Such commitment demonstrates her maturity, grit and determination to do well. Jolene is living proof that a Meridian can juggle a busy CCA schedule with the demands of the A level curriculum as she achieved stellar results for the A Levels, scoring straight As for her content subjects and a B for GP.

Jolene is indeed an inspiration and a role model for all Meridians, displaying the school’s motto Courage, Purpose and Character throughout her JC life.



Chelsea Ann Sim 12A201 “Pomsae Princess”


Chelsea has beat the odds to win the gold medal in the women’s individual poomsae final – Singapore’s first title at the SEA Games since 1995 when S. Sinnathurai won in the men’s kyorugi flyweight category. The 19-year-old beat off the likes of 2014 poomsae world champion Rinna Babanto of the Philippines at the Singapore Expo Hall 2 on Friday morning, to better her silver medal effort at the 2013 Games.

This is indeed a remarkable achievement for Chelsea who balanced her A Level studies with rigorous Taekwondo practices. Her diligence paid off and she achieved stellar results for both A Levels and at the SEA Games! Well done Chelsea!

Read more of Chelsea’s achievement which was featured on the Straits Times



Jet Ng Shang Fei 15A301 “Fencer who does Singapore proud”


Jet Ng is a very prolific professional fencer who has done Singapore proud by securing highest-ever finish for Singapore at the 2015 Cadet and Junior World Championship.

He finished fifth among over 90 other athletes from around the world in the FIE Cadet and Junior World Championships 2015 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. The result is a breakthrough for the sport as it is the highest-ever finish by a Singaporean fencer in the international tournament. The 17-year-old from the Z Fencing International Academy competed in the cadet men’s foil competition, emerging victorious in five five-point matches and four 15-point matches in the preliminaries.

“I did not expect to get that far at all. I was over the moon,” said the Meridian Junior College student. Indeed this stellar results.




Justin Ng 07S304 “NIE grad aims to emulate his teacher”


Meridian Junior College Valedictorian Justin Ng (07S304) graduated from NIE and was featured in Straits Times newspapers (7 July 2015). Justin was an ODAC quartermaster in MJC and has helped out as facilitator in our Leadership Training Camp before.

Shy and reserved as a child, former Dunman Secondary School student Justin Ng was often teased and called names by his classmates.

“I did not know what my identity was, felt I was rubbish at everything, and was that boy in class who refused to speak up,” he said. But his chemistry teacher, Mrs Vivien Low, encouraged him by providing opportunities to make presentations in front of the school and soon, he discovered a love for public speaking.

“I am grateful to those who have helped me throughout my journey,” said Mr Ng, who is teaching English and biology at Springfield Secondary School in Tampines. “I hope to guide students who are like me, in the past, to believe in themselves and discover their potential.”

Mr Ng graduated with a Bachelor of Science (Education) and is the only graduate since 2011 to receive five university awards.

Read more about his journey here “NIE grad aims to emulate his teacher”



Saza Faradilla 12A301 “Heart of Gold”


Saza , previously MJC’s Student of the Year for her cohort, was featured in Berita Harian (24 April 2015 )

Currently a Yale-NUS student (Class of 2018), Saza has shared her inspiring journey- how success came as a result of sheer hard work despite her simple family background. She also mentioned about her time in MJC, how she worked with her teacher to improve her essays in the lead up to A Levels and how Talent Management Programme helped hone her resume writing and interview skills.

A recipient among four students who have been awarded the Yale-NUS Global Leader Scholarship, Saza highlighted her ambition to become a defender of international human rights, especially women’s rights. She has also shared her thoughts and hopes for KidsAccomplish, a holistic enrichment programme she started, catered specifically for upper primary students. (Below are some excerpts translated from Malay):

“I realised that there are plenty of structured academic programmes in Singapore, but what is sorely lacking are holistic enrichment programmes” “During KidsAccomplish sessions, we discuss with the students issues that they usually do not get the chance to talk about. The students are able to voice out their perspectives and opinions in a safe space”


Saza was also featured again in The Straits Times “Tea and Harmony: Cultural Slips for kids” (12 Nov 2015) for her good work in KidsAccomplish. The programme promotes cultural exchanges to upper primary students. The co-founders of KidsAccomplish include Saza Faradilla (12A301), Yogesh Tulsi (12A301) and Lisabelle Tan (12A101). Ms Saza Faradilla, a student at Yale- NUS College and the group’s president, was inspired to start a children’s programme after four months as a volunteer tutor at a Tampines Family Service Centre after her A levels.

Read more about the worthy cause here “Tea and Harmony: Cultural Slips for kids ”



Nur Syafiqah 09S207 “Never- say- die attitude “


Syafiqah is an outstanding student who never gave up on her dreams despite of the various obstacles she faced.

She was one of the 19 Muslim polytechnic and university graduates who were recognised at the Mendaki Club Graduates’ Tea for succeeding despite the odds. She has a first class honours in Chemistry and is currently pursuing a PhD in the subject. The oldest of three children, her father works as a cook at an army camp, while her mother irons clothes for a small fee. Mendaki paid for her undergraduate studies fully and her PhD education is also fully paid for, thanks to an NUS scholarship.

Said the 23-year-old: “I think there are fewer than five Malay girls in the undergraduate cohort for chemistry.

Some people think that there isn’t really a future in science compared to banking or business. But if you like the subject, just follow your dream and I think you’ll do well.”

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