Abir Ghosh was just a month old when a lump was detected in his right eye. He was diagnosed with retinoblastoma, an eye cancer that begins in the retina. Doctors had to remove Abir’s right eye and he underwent an eye replacement surgery after six months. All was well till a routine blood test revealed he had a type of leukaemia.
But nothing has stopped the Class III student of St Lawrence High School from attending school regularly. The boy who scored 87.7 per cent in his Class II final examinations received The Surrendra Paul Memorial Award for Courage.
Two metal plates in Md Jalaluddin’s right leg bear testimony to his unfaltering courage in the face of crisis. The gardener at St John’s Diocesan Girls’ Higher Secondary School helped check a fire in another school next door eight months ago. Jalaluddin went up to the roof and started pouring buckets of water on the Cathedral Mission School building that was engulfed in thick smoke. He slipped and fell down three floors, suffering multiple fractures in his right leg. “I will do what I did if something similar happens again. So many lives were at stake,” said Jalaluddin, the recipient of the Shining Star Honour Award.
Inspired to do more
Abhijit Minj, 19, has been a wheelchair user since he was in Class IX. He had been diagnosed with muscular dystrophy, a condition that leads to progressive weakness and loss of muscle mass, when in Class IV. “There were not many things that I could do. So I concentrated on what I could do best, which is academics,” said the student of Loyola High School who scored 95.75 per cent in ISC this year and is now studying economics honours at St Xavier’s College.
“On this stage, I saw many people who have bigger problems but who have achieved much more than I have. The awards ceremony has motivated me to do even more,” said the recipient of The Surrendra Paul Memorial Award for Courage.
Koushik Pal’s father earns Rs 3,000 a month. His mother is a homemaker. The family has to change the hay roof of their mud house in Burdwan’s
Noapara every year to ensure a shelter over their heads. None of this, however, seemed a challenge to the first-year MBBS student at the Calcutta Medical College and Hospital. “I got a scholarship for my Madhyamik results and that took care of my academic expenses. What my father earned was enough to feed our family,” he said.
Koushik has not been able to buy all the books he needs for his medicine course and hopes the Krishna Roy Scholarship that he received at The Telegraph School Awards for Excellence 2019 will help him. His dream: Returning to Burdwan as a doctor and treating patients there.
Power to go on
Son of an electrician and a part-time tailor, Mrinmoy Mondal knew he could not afford coaching centres, and yet he dreamt of becoming a doctor. The 19-year-old from Nimtala village in North 24-Parganas’ Swarupnagar block is now a student at the Calcutta Medical College and Hospital, thanks to hard work and determination. Mrinmoy was handed over the Dr Amiya Kumar Bose Memorial Award. “My son always wanted to be a doctor and his dream has been fulfilled. The money that he received on Saturday will help meet some of the expenses,” said Lipika Mondal, Mrinmoy’s mother.