Maths genius wins ‘top in the world’ award

Chai (right) receives the Harvard Prize Book Award from (from left) Mildred Voon from the Harvard Club of Malaysia and Brother Teoh.

KUCHING: The Cambridge Assessment International Education, the world’s largest provider of international education programmes and qualifications for five- to 19-year-olds, has recognised a student from St Joseph’s International School (SJIS), Kuching during the recent Outstanding Cambridge Learner Awards.

Emily Chai Pei Xuan, 17, received the ‘Top in the World’ Award for the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) examination in Mathematics.

She overtook close to one million candidates globally to earn this prestigious award.

Chai said last year was indeed a challenging year due to the pandemic. Not only did she and her classmates have to adjust to online classes and prepare for their IGCSE exams but they also had to adapt to a new lifestyle.

“Therefore, I am earnestly grateful to be presented with this award as it helps to strengthen my passion for Mathematics,” she said.

She thanked her parents, teachers and friends for their support and guidance throughout the years.

“Their encouragement has made me firmer in pursuing my dreams. I believe that dreams do come true when you put in effort and enjoy what you are doing,” said Chai.

Meanwhile, Mathematics teacher Gladys De Rozario said it had been a great pleasure for her to teach the first batch of IGCSE candidates from SJIS.

“I am proud to know that Emily has won the award. We have been through a lot together including teaching and learning in a new norm. I’m impressed at how quickly we could adapt to the situation, and eventually make teaching and learning effective,” she said.

She described Chai as a girl who stood out in the crowd as she would always be the first to complete any work assigned in class.

“She would also take extra initiative to learn Mathematics outside the lesson time. She is very inquisitive and diligent, and has proven that all her hard work pays off. Well done!” she said.

Besides excelling in her studies, Chai is also active in extra-curricular activities as well as volunteer works. These factors were commendable and contributed to her winning and receiving the highly esteemed Harvard Prize Book Award for the year 2020.

Meanwhile, SJIS principal Brother Robert Teoh said he was glad that SJIS was able to produce a top-in-the-world student from their first batch of IGCSE students.

“Emily embodies in her the school motto ‘Ora Et Labora’.

“Her achievement will inspire our teachers to continue grooming students to be responsible citizens who will also work for the betterment of our society,” he said.

Chai is currently taking the Cambridge A-Level programme. As for her future plans, she is passionate in pursuing a career in the education sector.