One can never be sure what life has in store, and this seems to be especially true for Cheng Yao-chung (鄭耀忠), a former employee at a woodworking factory who became the dean of National Changhua Girls’ Senior High School on Friday.
Cheng’s parents were both farmers. Given the family’s financial situation, Cheng and his siblings went to night school and worked during the day.
Despite these difficulties, Cheng earned high marks in school and was accepted at Changhua High School in 1987. However, Cheng said he had a hard time adapting to high school life. His grades fell and he had to repeat his first year.
“The rule at the time was that if you had a score of less than 50 for any subject, you had to stay and repeat the year. I only got 44 in math even after retaking the test,” Cheng said.
“Even now, I still have the notice sent by the school saying I had to repeat first year to remind myself to do better,” he said.
It was also at that time that he felt he had to help his parents shoulder part of the family’s financial burden, so he took another high-school entrance examination and was accepted into the night class of the Affiliated Industrial Vocational High School of National Changhua University of Education’s department of electronics appliance repair, Cheng said.
High school taught him how to be practical and to bear hardship, Cheng said.
In 1991, he won a government scholarship to the university’s industrial education department.
“I was sent to Changhua County’s Sioushuei Junior High School for a year-long internship and passed the examination to become a teacher at National Changhua High School before I finished my mandatory military service,” Cheng said.
Cheng continued his studies and obtained a master’s and then a doctorate degree in education at the university while teaching at the high school.
On his appointment as dean of National Changhua Girl’s Senior High School, Cheng said: “Life has its odd ways of doing things, such as giving me the chance to re-establish myself in society right where it took me down the first time.”
He added that it was strange how “a woodworking factory employee could become the dean.”
“I hope to help the teachers at the girls’ senior high school bring about a better learning environment,” he said.