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Tomorrow-iCAN Stories


A “Small Fish” Leaping Over the Dragon Gate

The 2023 National College Entrance Examination came to a close in early June, with over 700 high school students moving on to the next stage of their lives with the support of Give2Asia’s Tomorrow-iCAN program. Just as results were being released, the program team received a volunteer application from Zeng, one of the program’s service recipients, who had just completed his College Entrance Examination. With an outstanding score of 706 of 750 points, Zeng ranked among the top students in Henan Province, setting him on the right track for his future.  

Zeng shared his high-school journey with the program team, crediting his own persistence, as well as the care and support of his family, for opening a brighter future for him. During the journey, Tomorrow-iCAN project also inspired his confidence as a beam of light, and he hopes to pass his own light and strength on to others.  

Zeng was recommended by his teacher for Tomorrow-iCAN and the opportunity made him realize that “only by receiving higher education can I change the life of my entire family.” He didn’t see himself as a particularly talented person and ranked at the bottom of his class upon entering high school. Zeng saw himself as “a small fish leaping over the dragon gate”*. He began studying his courses in advance, devoting all of his free time to learning, with the view that “the stupid bird flies first”. With the love and support of his family, Zeng was encouraged not only to make the leap in academic performance but also to step outside of his comfort zone, gain more confidence, and take control of his future.  

Zeng points to one program event, in particular, that completely changed his attitude. It was during an inspirational speech that he was deeply touched by the slogan “Yes, I CAN!”. For Zeng, who comes from an underprivileged family, reading this slogan was like the breaking of a spell—one in which he struggled with his own confidence and self-esteem—making him realize the importance of believing in himself. Since that speech, he has been saying to himself every day, “Yes, I Can! I’m sure I can get into Peking University!” Indeed, Zeng was accepted to Peking University this past July.  

After finishing his Examination, Zeng applied to become a volunteer for the Tomorrow-iCAN program to pass on the love and encouragement he received. “I know that I am a small fish who has been lifted by the support of many people along the way…I hope that I can use my own strength to help other small fish who are struggling just like I did,” he said.  

In 2021, Give2Asia jointly launched the Tomorrow-iCAN program with China Friendship Foundation for Peace and Development (CFFPD). Since its inception, the program has supported 2,030 high school students in Henan, Shanxi, Gansu, and Xinjiang. Through scholarships and leading supervision, the program helps students along their high school journeys and supports their efforts to attend their chosen universities, often becoming first-generation college students in their families.  

The Tomorrow-iCAN program aims to support more “small fish” like Zeng, helping them to confidently leap over the dragon’s gate and take control of their own futures and reshape their families’ destinies. Learn more about Tomorrow-iCAN and how you can support it at https://give2asia.org/tomorrow-i-can/

*Zeng is referring to a famous Chinese legend and idiom,The Carp Leaping Over the Dragon Gate which symbolizes good wishes for overnight achievements, advancements, and life-changing moments. As a “small fish”, Zeng saw himself as less than the legendary carp.  

©2011, Stephanie Pui-Mun Law

CHINESE: 

第一代大学生故事:一条飞跃龙门的“小鱼””

2023年的高考在6月初落下帷幕,又有超过700名高三学生在第一代大学生助学计划的陪伴下迈向了人生的下一个阶段。就在高考成绩刚刚公布之际,第一代大学生助学计划项目组收到了一份志愿者申请,申请人正是刚刚参加了高考的曾同学。他以706(满分750分)的优异成绩在河南省名列前茅,为自己的人生争取到了更多可能性。曾同学项目组讲述了他高中的学习经历,在成长的路上,是他自身的不懈努力和家人无微不至的关怀开启了他光明的未,而第一代大学生助学计划则更像是这道路上燃起他自信的一束火光。他现在也希望通过自己的力量将这束火光继续传递下去。 

曾同学是在老师的推荐下加入第一代大学生助学计划的,他提到,正是因为这个机遇,他认识到在一个农民家庭里只有成为家族第一代大学生,才能振兴整个家族。他用一条飞跃龙门的小鱼来形容自己,因为自己并不出众,甚至在刚进入高中时成绩在班中垫底。而之所以能够在高考中取得706分的好成绩是因为他一直坚持笨鸟先飞,提前预习课程,抓紧一切碎片时间努力学习。家人也给了他最大程度的关爱和支持,这也让他更有勇气成为独当一面的男子汉。在成长的道路上,他不但在学习成绩上取得了飞跃,更在风雨中得到了历练,走出舒适区,他开始能够把命运掌握在了自己手中。 

在谈到第一代大学生助学计划时,曾同学特别提到一场励志教育,在那次活动上,是项目“Yes,I Can!”的口号打动了他。对于家庭出身并不优越的他来说,是这句口号打破了他既自信又自卑的魔咒,让他开始意识到相信自己的重要性。从那以后,他每天都对自己说“Yes,I Can!我一定能考上北大!,而这个7月他也实现了这个梦想。 

在结束高考后,曾同学第一时间选择申请成为第一代大学生助学计划的志愿者,为的是把自己从项目中接受到的这份爱和鼓励传递下去。他说我知道我这条小鱼是在一路上众人的托举下才有今天的幸运我希望能够用自己的力量去帮助更多和我一样奋斗着的小鱼”。 

赠与亚洲于2021年与中国友好和平发展基金会合作发起了第一代大学生助学计划。截止目前,项目在河南、山西、甘肃、新疆等地共支持了2030名高中生,通过奖学金资助和励志教育帮助他们考入理想的大学,成为家族中的第一代大学生。 

第一代大学生助学计划的发起正是希望鼓励更多像曾同学一样的小鱼,帮助他们自信地跃过龙门,掌握自己的未來,更掌握家族的命运。 

加入我们支持第一代大学生助学计划:https://give2asia.org/tomorrow-i-can/ 

©2011, Stephanie Pui-Mun Law

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