Gary's Food & Nutrition (F & N) teacher, the passion and care of Madame Aishah, made sure that he was looking forward to her lessons while studying at the Woodlands Ring Secondary School.
Now, at the age of 30, Gary has been trained as an F & N teacher and hopes to match the learning style of Madame Aishah to inspire his own students.
Here is Gary's entry for the Samsung-Stomp Inspiring Teachers Awards:
"This year is the thirteenth year that I graduated from the Woodlands Ring Secondary School and it is also the twentieth anniversary of my alma mater.
"I have bittersweet memories of my high school days because so many things happened to my family and indirectly influenced my growth as a teenager.
"I have to admit that I am not one of the better performing students at school when it comes to academics or behavior.
"Despite the negative learning behavior that I exhibited, there was a teacher who showed me what sincere care and care a teacher can give to her students.
"Mrs. Aishah was my F & N teacher of my Secondary 3 to Secondary 5 days.
"As a normal (academic) student, I was slower in learning and often lazy to do homework or revision.
"I often slept in the classroom because of my bad habit of getting late at night, so I could not concentrate during the lesson.
"Surprisingly, I have always been looking forward to F & N with Madam Aishah, for both theory and practical lessons.
"She enjoyed her lessons by often engaging us in what we learned in class in our daily lives. She has let me love her over the years.
"I started to apply my knowledge that I learned in class to my daily life and the people around me.
"Because of her passion and vast experience in life that she exhibited in her class, she really inspired me to become a teacher like me and to influence my knowledge that I passed on to the next generation.
"As I said, I was a lazy student and my family is not very good to do, I did not have the privilege to have a computer at home, and this affected my progress in my course project.
Madame Aishah would often approach me to talk to me and encourage me to do my best.
"She would constantly ask me questions about my progress with my work and offer alternatives to help me and bring out the best in me.
"Madame Aishah offered me to use the school computer in the F & N Food Lab to do my project, I think she knows that I do not have a computer at home to complete my work, because I was always lagging behind in terms of progress .
"Mrs. Aishah always prepared drinks and snacks she had prepared or even had simple cookies in her food lab to make sure none of her students were hungry in her class.
"During Hari Raya she invited us to come home and prepare delicious Malaysian dishes for us.
"She would also organize trips and take us to places she thinks they have delicious cakes.
"I will always remember that she often said that the Oreo Cheesecake from Secret Recipe is fun.
"In her class she has made an enormous effort to take notes and a recipe book for us, so that we can always review our work and prepare for both theoretical and practical exams.
"After graduating from secondary level 5 after my O-level exam, I kept the notes and the recipe book she had prepared for years, assuming that this is her precious creation for me.
"I always had the feeling that it would come in handy again in my life, but I did not know what it was like at that moment, but I still kept it.
"After many years of training I am now a trained F & N teacher like Madam Aishah.
"She inspired me to teach because of her unconditional love for her students and her passion for Food Science and Nutrition.
"When I went for my interview at the headquarters of the Ministry of Education (MOE), I told the story of how Madam Aishah inspired me to teach and love this topic, and to my surprise the interviewer also knew Madam Aishah and told me that Mrs. Aishah is really influential and an expert in her field.
"I know that Ms. Aishah, with over 50 years of teaching experience, has influenced many young lives like me during their most crucial time of teenage life.
"I am ever grateful to Madam Aishah for the impact of a teacher's unconditional love for her students.
"I strive to become a teacher like them.
"Until today we still meet" meals. "Ms. Aishah would often share her precious and valuable learning experience with me, as well as some of her resources to help me become a better teacher.
Now that I am a trained F & N teacher, she remains my mentor, she continues to guide me and, where possible, share her valuable knowledge and experiences.
"Mrs. Aishah has done her part and now it's my turn to pass it on, to pass on many more lives that go through my hands.
"As the motto of the Singapore teachers is:" We lead, take care, inspire – the future of the country goes through our hands "."
The competition is now closed and the winners will be contacted shortly.
Read all entries for the competition here.