“Quit school to look after my grandpa. But after his death, I had to better myself.”
Teenage years can be fun and somewhat challenging—you’re eager to grow up, make new friends and learn new things in school. Mark however, grew up sooner than he would have liked, and missed out on the joy of being a teen.
When life gives you lemons…
At the age of 14, Mark had to take on the roles and responsibilities of adulthood. Due to his family’s difficult situation, he had take on the role of caregiver for his aunt who is mentally challenged and grandfather who is visually impaired and bedridden. His aunts and uncles abandoned his mentally challenged aunt and blind, bedridden grandfather. Adding to that, his mother was also saddled with health problems.
Looking after oneself can be hard work, can you imagine having three adults under your care? Mark took it upon himself. He quit school so that he could look after his family.
It was only after the passing of his grandfather that Mark decided to give his education another shot for a better future.
Fall seven times, stand up eight
He enrolled at Geylang Serai Vocational Training Centre, now known as Northlight. Mark knew that he had to step up his game in order to move forward. With the support from his lecturers and strong determination, Mark did extremely well and passed his ITE Skills Certificate course in Food Preparation & Service.
A winner never stops improving
People who are passionate about what they do achieve far greater success in life. Mark discovered what he loved to do and went on to complete courses in Nitec in Service Skills (Tourism) and Higher Nitec in Business Studies (Administration) at ITE College West—he scored a perfect GPA score of 4.0 for both, and even secured a place at Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s Business Studies!
Taking his life experiences and the opportunities that ITE has given him, Mark headed the Entrepreneurship Club and led his team to victory in the 2008 Shell LIVEWire-ITE Social Entrepreneurship Business Plan Challenge.
Having to juggle between schoolwork and heavy co-curricular commitments was no mean feat, but Mark believes in prioritising what’s important over what’s urgent.
Though Mark has gone through many obstacles with his family and in school, he kept his fighting spirit and determination to move on strong, better and improved.
“In the face of adversity, face it head on with no fear and say: JUST BRING IT!”