WONDER TWINS

“Some of the students were wondering why I was going into your office so early in the morning,” she narrated with a chuckle when I got into my office. She had texted the previous night asking permission to hang out in my office if she got to school early. I agreed to it, telling her to make herself comfortable even if I wasn’t in yet.

The very idea of Kelcy Gotama entering my office was absolutely unthinkable. It’d be a nightmare for students who are not enrolled in the Cambridge Preparatory Classes (then called International Program) of Global Prestasi School (GPS). Yet here was Kelcy sitting nonchalantly in my office. Without her telling me about the students’ reaction, I could have guessed what others thought: she had flipped her wig and gossiped about as being a teacher’s pet. The situation we were in was reminiscent of my time with her brother, Kelvin, who graduated from the IGCSE Preparatory Class three years ago. Like Kelcy, he remained dauntless in conversing with me. Actually, the siblings became spokespersons of their respective classes, asked to lobby for an extension of a deadline, move an exam date, or ask questions they were afraid to ask.

“So, what brings you to school?” I asked, sitting behind my desk.

“We have a briefing about our farewell party at 8am, but I’m an hour early. Some students were really incredulous when they saw me entering. Actually, some think you’re my favourite teacher.”

“Favourite? Why?”

“It’s because I talk to you.”

“Oh. So, talking to me makes me your favourite teacher?” I asked, my eyebrows furrowing.

“Yes.”

“Odd. We’re just conversing. They can talk to me too if they wanted to.”

The first time I saw the Gotama siblings, on separate occasions, their features belied their relationship. They were the spitting image of each other! Or, putting it another way, they were the female and male versions of each other. That they were indeed siblings was sealed when I glimpsed their identical candidness: both didn’t shy awake from asking questions or putting forward an opinion or fact – a characteristic that certainly went against the grain. They were uninhibited in that way, which put them in my good books, but elicited raised eyebrows from their classmates who were unforthcoming.

Kelcy Kelvin and Liana_ a welfie

Naturally, a welfie after the graduation of Kelcy is in order.

Further nailing their ties was their assiduity, which could only – pardon the cliché – warm the cockles of my heart. No complaints came from the wonder twins, as I had taken to call them secretly, who completed all the worksheets, projects, and whatever was given to them to fulfil the requirements of their English class. These requirements – insightful and creative at that – were handed in always a few days before the deadline! Moreover, speaking before their classmates or any group of people or to persons of authority was almost second nature to them; their presentations weren’t mediocre, too. What I found astounding was their dogged meticulousness: they paid close attention to my corrections so I wasn’t subjected to amending their silly mistakes repeatedly.

They may have been similar, but they were their own person, too. Kelcy is an art aficionado (she won an art competition held by the Japanese embassy in Indonesia) who read and dabbled in graphic design, and, at one time, played the violin. Meanwhile, big brother was into graphic design and gadgets, completely drawn to the scientific wonders of the universe, and reading Edgar Allan Poe. But their collective wonder twins’ prowess was never more obvious than during Kelcy’s graduation on June 11.

Kelcy & Karyssa on graduation day

Kelcy with classmates Karyssa (right) and Liza (left) shortly before the start of graduation

Wonder twins blazed the academic halls of GPS. Ninth grader Kelcy graduated top student in GPS’ Cambridge Preparatory Class (then called International Program) and grabbed second place as the second highest achieving student in the national exam. By the same token, Kelvin was the top IGCSE student garnering three A*s, and the top student achiever when he graduated from grade 12. Now, both shared centre stage as a graduate (Kelcy) and guest student speaker (Kelvin). Kelcy also delivered a speech on behalf of her class right before her brother, shifting effortlessly from Bahasa Indonesia and English, like her brother during his turn.

It’s not every day that siblings who went to the same school and graduated years apart take centre stage together in a night. The feelings surging through me as I sat inside GPS Theatre was hard to pinpoint. At first, it was a throwback to my childhood days of the Wonder Twins who were so in synch in thinking and demeanour except this time they were on stage addressing a crowd of parents and peers. Then I felt a wave of pride engulf me: they have transmogrified into mature and rational individuals. Next, I felt a tinge of sadness (is this what parents feel?) as I gazed at them – they were no longer children. Kelcy is an incoming GPS IGCSE Preparatory Class student and Kelvin is a second-year med student (international program) at the prestigious University of Indonesia.

Kelvin Kelcy and Liana_post grad op

Another photo with the Wonder Twins – it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Lastly, a flood of happiness overwhelmed me. Just like the blue moon, it’s not a regular occurrence when wonder twins deconstruct teaching as a thankless profession.

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