We are pleased to announce that Ms Estelle Chia Sock Ying, a School Counsellor of Jurong Pioneer Junior College (JPJC), has been conferred the prestigious Efficiency Medal (Pingat Berkebolehan) as part of the National Day Awards (NDA) conferred by the Prime Minister’s Office in 2020. Instituted in 1969, the Medal may be awarded to individuals for exceptional efficiency or exceptional devotion to duty or for work of special significance. In the case of Ms Chia, her tireless dedication and great passion in supporting the well-being of both students and staff have allowed her to win the Medal.
As one of two School Counsellors in JPJC, Ms Chia is well-loved by staff and students alike for her warm, reassuring demeanour and kind, patient personality. Here are some interesting thoughts she has shared with us about her field of work, the secret to her dedication and passion and some of the challenges that the Covid-19 pandemic has posed in terms of her counselling practice.
What are some of the contributions you have, that you think have enabled you to win the NDA Efficiency Medal?
“First of all, a big thank you to the college for nominating me for the award. I think the school recognises my passion for supporting the students, and my going the extra mile for them. The award is an encouragement to me to continue to care for the students and to serve the college.”
What does it take to be a school counsellor?
“I think a school counsellor needs to have an interest in the lives of young people, and believe in their potential. As a school counsellor, I sit with and listen to the students – their concerns, their challenges and their feelings - and explore, together with them, the solutions and what the way forward might be. Because I care deeply about them, empathy follows, and so I want to be the best and most skilful school counsellor I can be (that would mean having a growth mindset) for the students. Personally, I remember going to a counsellor as a young adult after a breakup, and the hour with her helped me so much, that I was inspired to also serve as a counsellor. A big shout-out to Madam Tan Eng Lian!”
What keeps you doing what you do?
“I think the resilience of the students keeps me going. There are chapters of life that can be very challenging, and I see these young people reach out for help, in order to help themselves – because they know they matter, and that a future awaits them. I see overcomers and conquerors, and I think to myself - what a privilege it is to journey alongside them.”
What are some of the challenges you faced during the Circuit Breaker period, and how did you continue to care for students who needed you?
“I think nothing beats speaking in person – our body language and facial expressions are important communicators of our thoughts and emotions. During the Circuit Breaker, I largely spoke with students over the phone. I think that limited what could be conveyed on both ends. Even now in the counselling room, we still wear masks. But we make the best out of the situation, like everyone else.”
Congratulations Ms Chia, on your National Day Award, and we thank you for the hard work and dedication in caring for JPJC students!