The Telegraph
Thursday , May 29 , 2014
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Adversity, their best teacher
- How six students overcame toughest challenges of life & death to emerge true champions

Diamond is only a piece of charcoal that has handled stress exceptionally well.

After an anxious wait when the CBSE Class XII results were belatedly declared on Wednesday, they unveiled some rare sparkling gems in Ranchi, Jamshedpur, Bokaro and Dhanbad for whom odds are part and parcel of life.

Around 39,000 students from 84 CBSE-affiliated schools in Jharkhand had appeared for their plus two examination this year. While the overall success rate has been 88 per cent, a tad higher than last year, girls have outshone boys by almost five per cent.

The Telegraph hears the story of six bravehearts

Prashant Kumar Modi

Science, Guru Gobind Singh Public School, Chas

So long Prashant had held back his tears. But, when the school principal announced he had cleared Class XII, the 17-year-old, who lost his mother to heart ailment just two days before exam, broke down in his father’s arms.

“The only thing I can think of now is that she is not there to hug me and bless me. Had she been alive, I would have done better. I hadn’t been able to concentrate in studies after her death,” said the Chandankyari resident who has scored an aggregate of 59.6 per cent.

Son of a shopkeeper, Prashant pedalled 30km to school every day to pursue his plus two education. Hardships like this never mattered until his mother had a cardiac failure and died on her way to hospital on February 27, two days before his English exam. The teenager has notched 75 in the paper.

“I was very attached to her. I thought I would not be able to sit through my papers. My principal reminded me of what my mother would want. Then I knew I had to do it for her,” said the above average student whose engineering dreams have taken a beating because of moderate score.

Avneet Kaur Sahani

Commerce, St Mary’s English High School, Bistupur

Just a week before her exam, Avneet met with a road accident. While her peers revised lessons, the 18-year-old grappled with the pain of 12 stitches on her forehead and upper and lower lips. And yet, her aggregate today is a decent 75.2 per cent, courtesy hard work and a never-say-die spirit.

“I was on my way to the market one day when a speeding bike coming from the opposite direction knocked me down. I had bruises all over my body and in trauma. But, the first thought that crossed my mind was what if I missed by exam. The thought itself was so agonising that I promised myself then and there that I would appear for my papers even if from hospital,” said the gutsy girl.

Her mother’s encouraging words and a fair share of painkillers helped Avneet battle odds and prepare for her exams. And fortune is known to favour the brave. So it did.

“I actually could study very little and kept popping pills in between. Fortunately, I had followed classes round the year and that helped me. Fortunately again, I had no fractures, which helped me sit through papers,” said the teenager who lost her father a few years ago.

Avneet plans to take up honours in accountancy.

Manisha Kumari

Science, Bokaro Ispat Vidyalaya

Manisha’s father suffered a heart attack barely three hours before her English paper on March 1. Numbed by shock, the 17-year-old refused to sit for the exam, but her mother reminded her of her father’s dreams. Tears welling up in her eyes as her father fought for his life at Bokaro General Hospital, she took the test and came out successful.

“There, my father was caught between life and death. Here, I was taking an important exam of my life. It was like a nightmare. Everyone was with my father and I was far away. I felt so selfish. I kept praying for his recovery all through the exam,” said Manisha who scored 65 in English and aggregated 58.8 per cent.

Though she is sad about her marks, the teenager is more than happy that she is able to share her success with her father. “I want to be a fashion designer and have made it to NIFT. What can be better than see my father smile over my achievement, however little it may be,” she added.

Kumar Gaurav

Science, DAV Public School, Bariatu

Self-study is the best study, believes Gaurav, the son of an auto-rickshaw driver for whom financial crisis was no deterrent in academic pursuit. The 17-year-old IIT aspirant has not just secured 91.4 per cent in his Class XII board exam, but also cracked the JEE-Mains.

“I dedicated five hours to my studies every day. And, it was mostly self-study because I cannot afford expensive tuition. I am glad I have achieved success,” said the boy who lives in a two-room rented house in Brahmatoli area of Bariatu with his younger brother and parents.

The monthly income of Gaurav’s father is around Rs 6,000, barely enough to run a family of four and sponsor higher education of two children. After he scored a CGPA of 10 in Class X, the school waived off his fee. But, financial constraints remained. An optimist that he is, Gaurav never gave up. More importantly, never lost hope.

“I sought help from my grandfather (in Bihar). With the money he sent, I took up physics tuition. For JEE-Mains, I studied on my own by referring to books borrowed from my schoolteachers,” said the teenager who recently appeared for JEE-Advanced and hopes to make it to “one of the top two IITs” of the country.

Ritu Kumari

Commerce, St Mary’s English High School, Bistupur

For a Hindi-medium student, switching over to an English school in Class XI can be a daunting task. Ritu did it and proved her critics wrong when Wednesday’s results pegged her aggregate success at 73 per cent with a score of 83 in the Queen’s language.

“For the first few months, I had felt like an alien in school. I could not understand what was being taught. My principal helped me fight the challenge. He asked me to come up with five new words in English every day to increase my vocabulary. The rest is history,” beamed the 18-year-old.

In February, Ritu was honoured with the school’s Best Endeavour award.

“She is a hard worker. I was sceptical about her admission too, but she has made me, her teachers and everyone else proud,” said school principal Father David Vincent.

Bhuvneshwar Sao

Science, DAV Public School, Koylanagar

Young Bhuvneshwar would have ended up tilling land like his farmer father in Maoist-hit Tundi block of Dhanbad, but for Good Samaritan BCCL. The coal major adopted the boy after he notched 86.2 per cent in his matriculation and funded his plus two studies. The 18-year-old has returned favour by aggregating 87.4 per cent.

“For matric, I had to borrow books and study. My father could not afford to spend money on my education. I did well and BCCL found me in a talent hunt. I stayed in company quarters with a fellow student and shouldered the burden of great expectations for two years and am glad I made it,” said the boy.

Bhuvneshwar has also cleared JEE-Mains and aspires to become an engineer. “After getting a good job, I would like to help poor students like me to battle poverty and pursue their dreams,” he said.

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