Welcome Address by Second Minister for Education, Ms Indranee Rajah, at the 19th NYAA Gold Award Ceremony Held at the Tay Eng Soon Convention Centre

Published Date: 04 October 2019 12:00 AM

News Speeches

Guest-of-Honour, Her Excellency Mdm Halimah Yacob,

President of the Republic of Singapore

Mr Teo Ser Luck, Member of Parliament for Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC and Chairman, NYAA Council

Members of the NYAA Advisory Board and Council,

Excellencies, distinguished guests, award recipients, family and friends,

1. Good afternoon! Thank you, Madam President, for gracing this afternoon’s ceremony to recognise and celebrate this year’s National Youth Achievement Award Gold Award (NYAA) recipients.

2. To our Gold Award recipients, congratulations on reaching the pinnacle of your NYAA journey.

3. This award is a testament to your perseverance, commitment and dedication throughout the programme. Today, we celebrate your journey of self-discovery, personal growth and the highs and lows that have shaped you into who you are today.

4. Let us also take a moment to thank your family, lecturers, teachers and mentors for their guidance and unceasing support throughout your NYAA journey. They are the people who have spurred you on to venture out of your comfort zone and to go beyond your limits.

5. I hope that you, as this year’s Gold Award recipients, will continue to bear the torch as community leaders and motivate other young people to contribute to the greater good.

THE NYAA PROGRAMME

6. Every year, we welcome a fresh batch of young achievers equipped with diverse skill sets and experiences. For that reason, the Gold Award Holders’ Alumni is bolstered with a large network of individuals who contribute to society in their own unique ways.

7. The NYAA has played a pivotal role in providing various platforms for youths in Singapore to develop life skills and nurture a sense of compassion for the community. Since its inception in 1992, the programme has proven to be vastly rewarding, and many participants have honed social and leadership skills through their experiences. These youths are cultivated into more confident individuals who are able to channel their skills and energies into devising community service projects, thereby uplifting the community.

8. Today’s definition of success is moving from the narrow one of pure academic prowess to broader and more holistic measures. To encourage this, we should strive to empower and guide our youths to be agents of change with an appetite for continual discovery and a sense of collective responsibility.

9. Holistic education is about educating the mind as much as educating the heart. It is important that our youths are equipped with critical thinking skills, effective enquiry and the ability to exercise empathy. They will be able to find their purpose in life through discovering their personal core values, as well as building connections with the community.

10. It is thus crucial to provide avenues for youths to explore their inner-self and relationship to the world. Through these experiences, they discover how to learn, to do, to live together and to contribute to society. Without a doubt, many young people have grown tremendously through their NYAA journey. These youths have grown to become exemplary role models for our fellow young Singaporeans.

INSPIRING STORIES

11. Let me share with you the inspiring stories of two NYAA Gold Award recipients, Livia Chng and Cheryl Cadeline Lee, and their services to the community through theNYAA Gold Award Holders’ Alumni’s Beyond Gold Initiative.

12. Livia, a Management Executive, CEO’s Office of EFG Bank AG and NYAA Gold Award holder (2006 cohort) is a prime example of how youths, regardless of skills and interests, are able to contribute meaningfully to society. Livia is the founder of ground-up social initiative Re/fresh Flowers. Having a penchant for flower arrangement and handcrafting, she tapped into these interests and embarked on a social initiative to repurpose flowers for patients undergoing palliative care.

13. Livia’s idea was prompted from observing floral waste generated at weddings. Not only does her initiative offer a solution for managing floral waste, it also brings joy to people who are in the last lap of life.

14. Today, Livia runs regular repurposing sessions with five Hospice Partners such as Assisi Hospice, HCA Hospice Care, St. Andrew’s Community Hospital and Tan Tock Seng Hospital with a core team of regular volunteers who participate in outreach efforts. Her team of motivated volunteers believes that if we take care of our people, everything else will follow.

15. Cheryl’s story is just as inspiring. Cheryl is a passionate young environmentalist who wears many hats for different ground-up initiatives such as Singapore Youth for Climate Change, Up2Degrees, Singapore Eco Film Festival, School of Something and CthyWorld. She was awarded the NYAA Gold Award by President Halimah Yacob in 2017 and initiated many environmental projects in mitigating climate change through the NYAA Gold Award Holders’ Alumni’s Service Beyond Gold Programme.

16. In the same year, Cheryl received an Academic Fellowship under the U.S Department of State’s Youth Southeast Asian Leadership Initiative Program for Environmental Issues and traveled across the United States to places like Hawaii, California, San Francisco and Washington D.C to learn and develop prototypes on environmental projects.

17. She also attended the United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change's COP in Bonn Germany, representing Singapore Youth for Climate Action. There, she addressed the United Nations Women Group, and her sharing was very well-received. In 2018, Cheryl represented Singapore in the ASEAN Youth Camp hosted by the Thailand Environmental Ministry and was also invited to deliver a TEDx talk to empower youths to take action for a better home. Just two weeks ago, Cheryl was again invited by TEDXYOUTH Singapore to share her work as an environmentalist and filmmaker. She was also invited by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to share her environmental experiences at the Urban Pollution Workshop hosted by MFA.

18. Livia and Cheryl’s stories highlight how every youth has the potential to contribute to the community in their own unique ways.

19. To the 2019 class of NYAA Gold Award Recipients, once again, our heartiest congratulations to all of you. I hope that you continue to be inspired to make positive contributions as movers and shakers of society. Your passion, hard work and perseverance are truly commendable. May you continue to soar and live true to the spirit of ‘Service beyond Gold’.

20. Let me once again thank our Guest-of-Honour, President Halimah Yacob, for gracing our 2019 Gold Award Presentation Ceremony.

21. Thank you. I wish everyone an enjoyable afternoon.

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