Transforming Culture & Instilling Resilience

“Bouncing back up from setbacks and seeing the good in every situation”

On a sunny Saturday morning, the 10th of March 2012, which was also the 70th day of the year, an entire school congregated together in anticipation of a record-setting event. The goal? To set a new record in the Singapore Book of Records for the “Largest Formation of a Human Slogan”.

The school – Northland Secondary School – rode the event on the theme of “Resilience” – to instill a sense of resilience, toughness and determination in its students and teachers, in commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the Fall of Singapore to the Japanese (1942). To conjure the slogan, 705 students and teachers adopted an abdominal planking position for 70 seconds to form the slogan, “SG BE RESILIENT!” while hundreds others cheered them on in their endeavors.

In retrospect, the event does sound like an ordinary occasion – its not a mean feat setting such a simple record isn’t it? Truth is, when you consider the personnel involved who helped shape the whole event and brought it to fruition, its no mediocre achievement at all! The boys who ran the show are part of a Co-Curricular Activity in Northland called the GEMs (General Events Managers). These are the rugged boys of Northland, who underwent training and mentoring  with Kingmaker trainers for over a period of 1 year. The GEMs faced countless difficulties and obstacles such as commitment to the project and the determination to see it through the execution phase.

Throughout the many training sessions and workshops with the GEMs, our trainers also overcame myriad challenges. The boys had to overcome the opinions people had of them, and also lack of trust or belief in their own abilities. It was a thoroughly challenging journey the trainers embarked on in encouraging and motivating the boys  to see through the project to its culmination in the event itself on the 10th of March.

Despite all the challenges and obstacles faced, the success of the record set was symbolic through a particular speech at the tail-end of the entire event. The president of the GEMs CCA himself expressed his appreciation to the school, the teachers who believed in the GEMs members, and others who helped them along the way. It was definitely a heartwarming moment to see the president representing his friends and buddies from his CCA, speaking to nearly 1000 people. The victory speech itself was standing proof that the GEMs could definitely achieve their aspirations through resilience and solid commitment!

“Previously, many of us used to scold vulgarities and misbehave in school. The trainers from Kingmaker have taught us well and we now know how to maintain our image as GEMs in our school, and as students when we wear our school uniform in public, so that others will not have a bad impression of us.” Chew Wei Jun, President of GEMs.

Many walked away from the event with a fresher perspective of the school and the students. With resilience in mind, the teachers and students certainly saw what it meant to persevere in hope of achieving their aspirations, and also empowering one another to do just that.

It was incredibly encouraging to see the GEMs come such a long way, take ownership of their project and prove something to the community: that they could achieve their goals if they set their minds and hearts to the task with the right attitude! They went home with the newfound belief in their abilities, to not be chained down by the burdensome opinions others have of them, and to work diligently together for a common, achievable purpose. It has definitely been a pleasure for the Kingmaker trainers in their journey with the boys from GEMs and we genuinely wish them the best in their future endeavors!

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