It’s official! I am finally a King Edward’s boy! 😆 I’m going to go to King Edward’s School (KES), my dream school! I am more than over the moon right now, and all the hard work and sacrifices that led up to this moment have paid off!
When I was in Year 5, my class teacher, Mr Webster, said I had the potential to apply for a grammar school. At the time, I was clueless as to what a grammar school was. I had never heard of it. All I knew was that after Year 6, I’d be going to a normal secondary school. Mr Webster then gave me a leaflet for an open day at King Edward’s School. I went home and did some research, and I found out that KES was one of the best schools in the UK and one of its famous alumni was the author of ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit’, J.R.R. Tolkien himself! That’s when I decided that I had to attend their open day!
It was 18th March 2017 when I first set foot into my dream school for their open day. It was like I was Harry Potter stepping into Hogwarts! The building looked old and grand, and almost castle-like – just the way I like it! I felt that connection between us as soon as I stepped through the front doors. KES was the only grammar school I visited, and I didn’t want to go anywhere else. Whenever people asked me what my school choices were, I always said KES and only KES! Everybody was surprised because the other students had at least 3 choices of schools that they wanted to go to…but not me! I couldn’t see myself going anywhere else other than KES!
The entry requirements to join a grammar school were not easy! First, I had to take and pass a test called the 11+ to be considered for a place at any of the grammar schools, and a separate entrance test for KES. And I couldn’t just pass the test! The results had to be outstanding because there were thousands of students like me sitting for it too! However, Mrs Mom was gravely ill at the time and Mr Dad had his hands full with taking care of Mrs Mom and Fatimah and Ali, so, unlike the many other people who started preparing many years back, I had to start a few days into the summer holidays when the 11+ was less than one month away in September (2017)! 😰
Preparing for the 11+ was hard enough as the things I had to learn were not covered in school, but the search for someone to become my tutor was FRANTIC. Almost everybody turned me down because it was seemingly impossible when everyone had started two or three years back when I had to cover everything in less than a month, but one person had gone beyond the act of kindness and took me as a student of her own – Auntie Shaheen. We didn’t even know her. She was a complete stranger to us but she was like a God-sent angel! She was willing to give me some guidance and support so that I could do the test! I couldn’t have done it without her and I will never be able to thank her enough! Not only that, she also guided Mrs Mom and Mr Dad and told them what they could do to teach me from home!
The whole family was super supportive too! Dadajee and Dadijee flew all the way from Malaysia to help us! Mrs Mom and Mr Dad taught me all they knew, Dadajee always sat by my side every day to help me and time my practice tests, and also made sure that I had enough rest, Dadijee took over the kitchen and made sure all the food was ready and everybody else encouraged me to keep on working hard! Dr Auntie and Mamajee also played their part in assisting me in my studies! I studied from morning to evening and we didn’t go on holiday anywhere during that summer! But I think that the hardest thing I had to sacrifice was reading! I have Obsessive Reading Disorder😁, and giving up my books was like TORTURE!!! There were days when I found myself reading the back of cereal boxes at breakfast time – that was how desperate I was to find something, ANYTHING to read! 😂
After plenty of preparation, the day of the 11+ finally arrived, and I wouldn’t say I whizzed through it with ease, but I was feeling pretty confident! Soon, it was over, and there was nothing I could do other than pray and wait for the KES test. That came in a matter of a couple of weeks, too, and the anxiety was getting to me. 😞
Then, one fateful day, I was at school when I was unexpectedly called out of class by Mrs Chesney-Ly, my school’s English Leader. She told me that Mrs Mom had called. I wasn’t that sure about why. Maybe something serious had happened at home. But then, I put the phone to my ear and when the conversation ended, I was speechless. I had passed the 11+ – with flying colours! I nearly burst into tears of joy! This was basically a dream come true! Now I could go to any grammar school I wanted to! I can still remember that moment when I broke the news to Miss Patrick, my class teacher, she jumped up, waving her hands in the air, and shouted my results out to the whole class!
I thought that this was the last of God’s blessings because this was much, much more than I asked for! I quote what Auntie Shaheen said: “Now you don’t have to worry about anything! No school will reject you!” I had hoped to just pass the 11+, but I had excelled! But later on, we got a phone call from none other than King Edward’s School…my dream school! Apparently, I had done extremely good in their entrance test, and had been offered a school place with a chance to get a scholarship out of the 125 students! In order to actually get the scholarship, I would have to attend a separate interview at the school. The funny thing is that the results for the 11+ were released on Mrs Mom’s birthday (10th October 2017), the call was on Mamajee’s birthday (10th November 2017), and the interview was scheduled on Dr Auntie’s birthday (14th November 2017)! I had a good feeling about this, and when the interview was over and done with, I was glad that I had done my best. But deep inside, only God knew how anxious I was about not being able to get the scholarship because the yearly school fees for KES were extremely high! 😳
Then, the awaited day came when we were all waiting for a letter from King Edward’s School. It was the day before the deadline date for the outcome of the scholarship interviews. The night before, me, Mrs Mom and Mr Dad were discussing that it was fine if I didn’t get the place, even if it did break my heart 💔. KES seemed far out of my reach, and we were grateful that we wouldn’t have a problem to secure a place at any normal grammar school. I was restless, and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Then when I came home from school that day (Thursday 7th December 2017), I found a letter on the fireplace addressed to me and it had a KES stamp on it. Both Mrs Mom and Mr Dad were there too. They were both waiting for me to open it. I opened it nervously…and I couldn’t believe my eyes! Suddenly all the tension melted away, as if a weight had been lifted off my back. I had been awarded the full scholarship! It was one of the happiest days of my life – I burst into tears of joy! I was going to be able to go to my dream school, where one of my idol authors studied, where I would be able to do great things! I am truly blessed!
So only a few days ago, on Thursday 28th of June, me and the family were invited to the Admissions Ceremony, where I was formally welcomed into the school! Walking up onto the stage to shake the Chief Master’s hand – Dr Mark Fenton – feelings of nervousness overwhelmed by excitement passed through me. I couldn’t believe that this was actually happening, that I actually had the chance to go to my dream school and make my family proud! 😊
Dear Future Pawsome Lion,
You may be reading this in 10 years or so from today, Sunday 1st July 2018, and if you are, then never forget all the people who sacrificed things for you! Remember what your family has done for you, what Mrs Mom and Mr Dad have been through, what Fatimah and Ali have had to sacrifice for you, all the prayers family, friends and teachers have sent for you, and all the hard work everybody has done for you, because without everything, you wouldn’t be who you are today! And most importantly, please remember to stay humble, be thankful to God as He has given you more than you wished for, and be a great person in this world so that hopefully one day…YOU CAN CHANGE THE WORLD!
From The 11-year-old Pawsome Lion
Sunday 1st July 2018
Thank you for all the blessings You have bestowed on me and my family. I can’t thank You enough! Please restore all world peace so children across the world can have happy moments like this too and can grow into wonderful people who can make a good difference in this world and SHINE…
- Blessed 😇
- Grateful 🙏
- Excited 😜
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