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Sunday June 24, 2012

Young and talented

IN 1895, Alfred Nobel founded the Nobel Prize to honour individuals with outstanding achievements in physics, chemistry, medicine, literature and efforts toward peace in his last will and testament.

More than a century later, another member of the Nobel family would become the founder of a different international organisation that celebrates achievers.

And it is this organisation that has invited a young Malaysian to join its ranks.

Dorothy Cheng, 17, from Petaling Jaya is a proud member of the National Society of High School Scholars (NSHSS) established by Claes Nobel in 2002 to highlight the accomplishments of high school students.

The organisation based in Atlanta, Georgia in the United States (US) aims to foster the continued success of students who demonstrate outstanding leadership, scholarship and community commitment globally.

“On behalf of the society, I am honoured to recognise the hard work, sacrifice and commitment that Dorothy has demonstrated to achieve this level of academic excellence,” said Nobel.

Victorious: Dorothy and her netball team celebrating their win in 2011.

He added that Dorothy is now a member of a unique community of scholars.

“It is a community that represents our very best hopes for the future,” said Nobel.

Society president James Lewis said the international organisation’s vision is to build a community that connects its members to meaningful content, resources and opportunities.

“Our goal is to help students like Dorothy capitalise on their academic success and enhance their skills. At the same time, we want them to attain their desires of having a positive impact on the global community,” he said.

Dorothy’s mother, Joanna Lim explained that her daughter sat for the US Alpha Omega Publications (AOP) programme at Cempaka AOG-AOP centre in Kelana Jaya and graduated in 2011.

“The society took note of my daughter’s academic excellence based on her score of 2130 out of 2400 in her SAT 1 examinations.

“She also scored 750 and 660 out of 800 for her SAT 2 English Literature and US History papers respectively,” she said.

Fun time: Dorothy playing the guitar at Desa Amal Jireh, an orphanage in Kajang, as part of an activity with the children.

Lim added that the school’s approach to teaching helped train Dorothy to be independent, charismatic and critical.

“Students study independently at their own pace and each of them is given a cubicle to provide privacy and maximise productivity.

“Basically, it’s a ‘homeschool centre’. I couldn’t afford to put Dorothy through a private or international school and I have to work so I can’t teach them at home. My only option was the centre,” she said.

Lim attributes her daughter’s success to her passion for reading.

“Dorothy is an avid reader. She loves books from genres which usually do not appeal to those in her age group such as those concerning morality and philosophy.

“I suspect that her rich vocabulary and deep appreciation for English helped her in the exams since they focus more on critical thinking and English proficiency than anything else,” she said.

She elaborated further that Dorothy is not the studious type and did not partake in any sort of tuition, apart from a few short prep classes organised by the centre.

“I am proud of her. She is a fast learner and a logical thinker,” said Lim proudly.

She added that Dorothy was the editor-in-chief for the centre’s 2010 yearbook, the first year the centre published a yearbook.

“She held the same post in 2011 and she now serves as a student advisor to the 2012 team. This is besides being president of the student camp committee and director of the school’s annual play in 2010,” she said.

Despite the many responsibilities, Dorothy still found time to play netball and contribute scripts to school plays, said Lim.

“The society looks for leadership ability as well as academic excellence. Being extremely active in school activities has helped my daughter earn her membership,” she added.

Society membership entitles qualified students to enjoy a wide variety of benefits including scholarship opportunities, academic competitions, members-only resources and publications, online forums, and participation in programmes conducted by the organisation’s educational partners.

The society has inducted over 700,000 members from 160 countries.

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