SPEECH BY KESAVAN KRISNAN AT SINDA YOUTH AWARDS 2017 ON SATURDAY, 18 NOVEMBER 2017, AT THE UMAR PULAVAR TAMIL LANGUAGE CENTRE
Guest of Honour, Mr Vikram Nair, Advisor, SINDA Board;
Mr K Barathan, CEO, SINDA;
Parents and fellow youth peers
- My name is Kesavan Krisnan and I am proud to be standing here as the Valedictorian at the SINDA Youth Awards 2017.
- I would like to first begin by congratulating my fellow peers and award recipients. All of us are proud of what we have achieved and this award will encourage us to progress further.
- Tonight, I would like to share with you on my journey with SINDA. When I was fourteen, I was reluctant to join SINDA STEP tuition because since kindergarten, I’ve had more non-Indian friends than Indian friends. Even in secondary school I was the only Indian student. However, my mother enrolled me in STEP tuition as an alternative to private tuition, which was generally more costly.
- Through STEP, I got to know about the very first Camp Arise organised by SINDA in 2012, which again, I was reluctant to go for at first. I used to be a shy boy who preferred to keep to myself and what’s more, I was afraid of heights – the last thing I wanted to do was to attempt the high rope course at the camp! But after some motivation from my parents, I participated in it and overcame some of my fears.
- That was also where my interest in SINDA’s programmes started. Since then, I have participated in SINDA’s Guidance And Mentorship (GAME) programmes such as GAME football, GAME Dance and the subsequent Camp Arise each year. I started to actively show leadership capabilities during GAME programmes and it felt good, so I carried on with it. At one point, I was selected as a peer leader, along with a few others. We were the first batch of peer leaders.
- Over time, I was identified to become an Advanced Peer Leader. The Advanced Peer Leadership programme gave my fellow peers and me a stronger understanding of leadership and maturity. We even got the opportunity to organise one of the Camp Arise camps by ourselves. It challenged us, but we learnt a lot and the camp was well-received by the participants. The peer leadership programme was a great opportunity for us to better understand the qualities of a leader as it helped us develop our character, learn values and acquire valuable skills that will help us achieve our goals further in life.
- I begin to enjoy my journey and the learning that came with it, as I continued being exposed to SINDA’s programmes. However, I didn’t perform well for my Secondary 3 exams as it was then that my father suffered his second heart attack and my family faced financial difficulties. There was a lot of stress placed on me as I was the eldest son and needed to remain strong for my family.
- Despite these issues, my school teachers and SINDA remained supportive throughout and I was the only Indian student from my cohort to be one of the top students in my school for the GCE ‘N’ Level examinations. It was a proud moment for me and my family – and it validated my efforts in improving myself.
- Standing up here today, I take this opportunity to thank my parents for all that they have done. Both my parents supported and motivated me throughout my challenging times – they were the pillars of support who gave me the strength to endure. I would also like to thank SINDA for guiding me to success since I was 14 years old – each programme that I went through made me a better and stronger person. Last but not least, my fellow peers, who are now my friends. Thank you for being by my side through all the programmes and being a part of the many experiences I’ve had.
- I’d like to end my speech by saying something to my younger peers here – when we are young, some of us may wonder why our parents nag at us about being disciplined, respectful, having perseverance and so on. It is because we have not experienced life yet. Gaining experience is the most incredible thing that will happen to all of us. In order to gain experience, we must first have the opportunity to do something and thankfully, organisations like SINDA provide such platforms for us.
- As I look back, I am thankful that I grabbed the chances that were offered to me. So, all you have to do is to take these opportunities you get and trust me, that will take you to greater heights. Work hard, and one day you will be sharing your journey to success with everyone, just like me today.
Thank you everyone and have a great night.