Ms Goy Soon Lan believes the strength of
character shown by her students matters
as much as their academic achievements.
Drawing from her years as a national hockey
player, she’s now preparing her students for
tomorrow’s challenges.

W hen Ms Goy was 17, she netted the most memorable goal of her sporting career.

It was at the 12th Southeast Asian (SEA)Games in June 1983, with Singapore (the host country) and Malaysia vying for the gold in women’s hockey. At a crucial moment in the match, Ms Goy sensed her chance and deflected the ball into the net, in front of a goal melee.

“I was young and relatively new to the national team,” she says. “It felt good to get that first goal!”

Arafura Games, 1995

Arafura Games, 1995

Ms Goy, 50, now serves as Director of the School of Sports, Health and Leisure at Republic Polytechnic (RP). She got her start in competitive hockey when she was picked at 14 to play on the CHIJ Saint Theresa’s Convent school team. Having a flair for the game, she made the national women’s hockey squad two years later, representing Singapore in five SEA Games and three Asian Games.

For Ms Goy, it wasn’t about winning but giving 100%. “When we played against teams such as South Korea and India who were world-ranked, we always made sure they had to play really hard to beat us,” she says.

The love for the game kept Ms Goy going for over 15 years as a national athlete, as did her camaraderie with her team-mates, many of whom became lifelong friends. She also cherished the honour of playing for Singapore.

“There’s only one word to describe how we felt wearing our national colours – proud,” she says.

These days, Ms Goy still plays for the Theresians, her alma mater’s alumni club, but hockey has taken a back-seat to her responsibilities at RP, which she joined in 2005. “Coaching and teaching aren’t all that different,” says Ms Goy. “Our job is to transform students into problem-solvers who can focus and apply their skills and knowledge to any situation. If we help our students believe in themselves and discover what they’re really good at, they’ll shine.”

Ms Goy also believes that values and self-belief are critical measures of her work as an educator. “Success for our students isn’t only about grades, but also about character,” she says. “To sustain Singapore in the future, we have to inculcate a resilient mindset in our youths. This work has already begun.”