PETALING JAYA: UCSI 2015 Valedictorian David Soo Guo Cheong would not have been able to accomplish as much as he has without the full support of his mother.
The engineering graduate and his two brothers lost their father to cancer in 2009 and their mother has single-handedly raised them ever since.
“The support and sometimes just knowing that she’ll be there no matter what means the world to me,” he said at UCSI’s 28th convocation ceremony Saturday.
Soo is active in extra-curricular activities and has won several awards, including one for this year’s Institute of Engineering research competition.
“I aspire to be the best, and that means going further and achieving more than I did in the past,” he said.
Soo credited his success to his perseverance and advised his peers never to give up.
Chancellor’s Gold Medal Award recipient Emily Hon Kah Mun was also raised by her mother. Hon, whose parent’s divorced when she was one, was sent to live in an orphanage when she was six and was only reunited with her biological mother when she was 11.
At the orphanage, she met her foster parents who continued to support her even after they left Malaysia.
“I never thought I’d even graduate from a university. I used to want to be a cleaner because that was the only thing I knew how to do,” she said.
Things changed when Hon saw a movie on Liz Murray, a homeless woman featured in the made-for-TV film Homeless to Harvard.
She said she realised then that she could be anything she wanted if she tried hard enough.
“I feel blessed that I turned out well. If not for my foster family, I’m pretty sure I would have ended up on the wrong side of the tracks.
“Not many have this opportunity,” she said
Her foster father, Philip Kennington, 50, who flew from Australia for the convocation, said the family was proud of Hon.
“I knew she would do well. She’s special. She’s confident, hardworking and doesn’t give up,” he said.
Hon is now an editorial/commercial executive with The Star.
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