DAS celebrates talent, excellence and resilience of students with dyslexia at 2019 Student Graduation & Achievement Awards Ceremony  

Three special achievers with dyslexia awarded for rising above challenges to score national-level success in skating, silat and scouting

SINGAPORE, 26 NOVEMBER 2019 – The Dyslexia Association of Singapore (DAS) held its 17th Student Graduation & Achievement Awards Ceremony today at the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD). The event celebrated 357 DAS students from across 14 DAS Learning Centres and their achievements in both academic and non-academic pursuits.

The main group of recipients was the 203 graduands of the DAS Main Literacy Programme (MLP) aided by the Ministry of Education (MOE) who have attained literacy competency to support their future learning journey. They were joined by 93 non-graduands from MLP who received achievement awards for making remarkable progress in literacy development. The ceremony also recognised 61 students who received the DAS Specialised Educational Services (SES) Awards, for making outstanding progress while on SES programmes including Chinese, Maths, Preschool and Speech and Language Therapy.

The enrolment for MLP reached a historical high of 3,157 primary and secondary school students in October 2019; while SES, together with Specialist Tutoring, also saw the highest enrolment to-date in Term 4, 2019 at 1,289 students. The growing enrolment at DAS reflects rising demand for intervention support not just in literacy development but for different languages and school subjects for children with dyslexia across different age groups.

2019 Award Winners

The ceremony also honoured students with dyslexia who have displayed distinctive excellence across different fields.

14-year-old DAS alumni Amelia Rae-Lene Chua was presented with the 2019 Young Achiever Award for being an inspirational role model for DAS students through her stellar achievements in speed skating. Since young, Amelia has struggled with reading, spelling and writing due to dyslexia, leading her down a frustrating learning journey. After enrolling into DAS classes, besides showing notable improvement in school, she actually developed a love for writing and was chosen for her school’s Young Authors Scheme.

Dyslexia has also instilled in Amelia a determined attitude towards life that has played a key role in her success in skating. In 2017, Amelia became the youngest skater to be selected for the Singapore Short Track National Team. She then went on to set many national records and clinched four podium positions in international competitions this year.

“I used to be easily frustrated with reading, writing and spelling. The journey with DAS for six years has helped me so much. More than just schoolwork, my DAS teachers have taught me to love myself even though I have learning needs that are different from my peers. And I now know that my weaknesses can become my strengths if I allow them to. I am grateful to be receiving this award, as it shows that I am on my way to overcoming my early struggles. I am also thankful for the opportunity to share my DAS story and hope that it will help children facing similar challenges,” said Amelia.

DAS also presented the 2019 Special Achievement Awards to two students for demonstrating exceptionally high levels of commitment and determination in their pursuit of sports. The first recipient is 13-year-old Mohammed Raziq Bin Mohammad Razali, a national silat athlete who has attained excellence at the international level, including a gold medal in a recent competition held in Indonesia.

The other recipient is 13-year-old Nicholas Chu Young-Han, who has clinched the Akela Award, the highest honour for a Cub Scout in Singapore. Nicholas has also been awarded the Edusave Character Award (ECHA), a distinguished award presented to the top two per cent of students who have displayed exemplary character and commendable personal qualities and values through consistent behaviour and actions.

During the ceremony, DAS also bestowed the 2019 MLP Educational Therapist of the Year Awards on Muzdalifah Hamzah and Soofrina Mubarak. Driven by a strong passion to help students with dyslexia achieve their potential, these two DAS Senior Educational Therapists have both served students with dyslexia for even years and have made a huge impact on the learning journeys and lives of their students.

“Today, it is not about who is receiving the award, but it is about celebrating all Educational Therapists at DAS - recognising the important role they play in helping children with dyslexia to succeed, by providing support, encouragement and planting seeds of hope so that our children will dream bigger. In my 7 years in DAS, I’m truly blessed to be around inspiring and supportive mentors and colleagues. With the support I have had, I am paying it forward whenever I can, to others around me. Little did I know, it had led me to the MLP Educational Therapist of the Year Award. My heartfelt thanks to the many who had voted for me,” said Ms Hamzah

“I am honoured to receive such a distinguished award but let me tell you that I did not get here by myself. Many colleagues have helped me in my journey as an Educational Therapist to polish my skills to provide quality and professional educational services to our clients. I’m humbled because there are simply many outstanding, passionate, creative Educational Therapists in DAS who challenge, inspire, and support their students every day.   

Teachers affect eternity. I believe that with all my heart. And so, from the bottom of my heart, I thank the DAS for the platform to better myself and the many more great Educational Therapist colleagues who quietly devote their lives to inspiring our dyslexic students,” said Ms Mubarak

“I would like to applaud all graduates and award winners for achieving a key milestone in their learning journey. Rather than giving up, they have chosen to embrace dyslexia in a positive way and to discover and harness their individual strengths. Together, these students have proven that by addressing underlying learning issues, making available a positive and emotionally sound learning environment in line with strong teaching principles, DAS is able to help students with dyslexia go much further in both academic and non-academic endeavours,” said Mr Lee Siang, CEO of DAS.

“While celebrating their successes, it is important to know that these students only represent a fraction of school-age students with dyslexia. DAS would like to encourage the community to step forward to provide greater funding support to students from low-income families so that they too can fly high both in school and in life,” added Mr Lee.

Another highlight of the ceremony was a performance adapted from Shakespeare’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ by students from the DAS Speech and Drama Arts (SDA) programme. Aged 11 to 15, these students have persevered in enhancing their literacy, communication and presentation skills through drama - demonstrating the talent and resilience of children with dyslexia.