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.
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。