SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD DESY KRISTIANTI never thought that she would have the chance to pursue a higher education, never mind at the prestigious University of Oxford, Oriel College.
“It was easy for my classmates to say that they would go to university, but for me, it was different. The costs of higher education would be unbearable for my parents,” she said.
Desy’s father has been unemployed since she was in Grade 6. When Desy was in middle school, she set a goal for herself to attend Sekolah Menengah Kejuruan, which is a school that enables its graduates to work immediately without a university degree. But as it turned out, she later discovered Sekolah Tiara Bangsa-Anglo-Chinese School (International) Jakarta or STB-ACS and successfully applied for a full scholarship.
Even so, Desy was still uncertain if she could further her undergraduate studies after completing high school at STB-ACS.
“It was slightly discouraging to find so many scholarships for graduate studies, yet only a few funding undergraduate studies. However, I never gave up: I tried to search harder and ask around. Finally, in early July 2011, I found out about the Jardine Scholarship, which was a full scholarship for an undergraduate programme.”
From October 2011 to January 2012, Desy went through a rigorous application process which consisted of a 4,000-word personal statement, reference letters, aptitude tests, submission of predicted grades, and various interviews with both the Jardine Foundation and Oxford. She described the waiting process as “nail-biting”, and burst out crying upon hearing that she had been shortlisted for one of the online interviews.
“The wait was worrying at times, but I gave everything up to God and believed that He would give me whatever was best for me. On Dec 20, 2011, the Jardine Foundation invited me to the final panel interview in Hong Kong on Jan 4, 2012.
“The next day, I obtained an offer from Oriel College Oxford for Mathematics on condition of obtaining 39 points (out of 45) on the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme, with a 7 (out of 7) in Mathematics Higher Level. As my birthday was on Jan 23, this news was the best birthday present ever.”
Desy obtained her IB results on July 6, 2012. With a score of 41 points, Oxford confirmed her placement a week later, and she received her Jardine Scholarship Award certificate on Aug 2, 2012. “It was hard to believe, but I was extremely grateful for the blessings,” she said. “All this time, I kept praying and asking God for guidance and company.”
“Even though everyone in my family is Christian on oﬃcial documents, we don’t really practise it. Mom was originally a ‘Kong Hu Zu’ (Confucian); my sister and I did go to Sunday School, but as kids, we didn’t really understand what it means to be a Christian. Only after obtaining a scholarship at STB-ACS did I realise that God is really there to help my family.”
Desy said that she was inspired by Mr Ng Eng Chin (Principal) and Ms Anggy Tanjaya (former Head of Operations) during her stay at STB-ACS. “They are very compassionate towards others and have great faith in God. I’m amazed at how much they care about people in need and are willing to help.”
Desy hopes that she’ll also be able to contribute to society by starting her own orphanage and school, to help people who cannot afford it.
Ellince Sutopo is the School Counsellor of Sekolah Tiara Bangsa-Anglo-Chinese School (International) Jakarta.
A gathering of ‘steadfast shepherds’
THE METHODIST SCHOOLS’ STAFF GET-TOGETHER 2012 was held on Aug 24 with Bishop Dr Robert Solomon as the Guest-of-Honour and speaker at the Thanksgiving Service.
The theme was “Steadfast Shepherding” and the Scripture verse chosen was Acts 20:28a – “Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers.” At 2.30 pm, teaching and non-teaching staff of Methodist schools began streaming into Anglo-Chinese School (Junior) or CS (J) premises at 16 Winstedt Road for a tea reception. In a relaxed atmosphere, 650 staff from the 16 Methodist schools rekindled old ties with one another and made new friends.
When the service began at 4 pm, presentations by the ACS (J) String Ensemble and the ACS (J) Choir Ensemble captivated the congregation and prepared their hearts to worship and listen to God’s Word.
The Bishop’s exhortation on being steadfast shepherds as he shared from Acts 20:17-31 was an apt and timely reminder for staff to be true to their calling and mission to serve for the glory of God.
He presented a total of 53 awards to honour staff and board members who have given their steadfast service to the Methodist schools. Long service awards and awards to retirees and outgoing board members were given with much applause from all present.
Representatives from the various Methodist schools led the congregation in reciting the Teacher’s Pledge. The service ended with the congregation singing a hymn of unity, “One Voice”, before the Bishop gave the benediction.
The Methodist Schools’ Staff Get-Together 2012 was a testament of God’s faithfulness and goodness.
Morgan Zhou is the Head of Department of English Language in Anglo-Chinese School (Junior).