She has been a school topper throughout, but none of her previous success could have prepared 16-year-old Sakshi Joshi for the result of the Class X (SSC) exam, results of which were announced on Tuesday. Joshi not only emerged as the topper of Ahilyadevi High School once again, she did so with 100 per cent, becoming one of the 193 students across the state who scored 100 per cent, thanks to the newly-introduced arts and drawing quota and the previously introduced sports quota, under which students can get between 5 and 25 extra marks.
Thanking her parents and school for their support, Sakshi said, “Beyond the school hours, I studied for about 3.5 hours every day. Before the exam, during my preparatory leave, I focused on solving papers and reading textbooks thoroughly, without referring to any kind of guides. I studied according to a timetable and followed it completely.” She scored 99 in Maths, 97 in Science and Technology, 96 in Social Sciences, 83 in Marathi, 97 in Sanskrit and 94 in English.
Interested in the Arts faculty, Sakshi has taken lessons in music and painting, and has appeared for four state exams for classical music. She said that she continued to participate in singing competitions in Class X. Sakshi has also appeared for elementary and intermediate exams in painting. The student, who scored 100 per cent thanks to the cultural quota, recalled how her class teacher and principal collected all the certificates during the vacations.
“We had to pay absolutely no attention towards the quota. I had singing and painting certificates that helped me get into the quota,” said Sakshi, who aspires to become an astronautical engineer.
She wasn’t the only student who was the beneficiary of the newly-introduced quota. One of the city’s oldest schools — the Huzurpaga High School — had two such toppers, Bhumika Abhay Shah and Tanaya Gutte, who scored 100 per cent. Their participation in the intermediate drawing competition in Class IX helped them score three per cent extra marks, said the toppers.
But Bhumika said her stupendous success wasn’t due to the quota alone; a lot of hard work had gone into it. “I used to wake up at 4 am and study till 5.30 am, and then attend school. I used to meditate every evening before starting my studies again,” said the resident of Guruwar Peth, who wants to study medicine. The teenager, who believes that physical and mental fitness is equally important, was also the leader for a district-level yoga competition, where she led her school team and also took part in a national-level science project.
Tanaya, however, said she didn’t have a fixed timetable and used to study “whenever she felt like it”. She hails from Beed and came to Pune for her studies. As she lived in a hostel in the city, she was homesick most of the time, and credits her school teachers for providing her mental and moral support, besides helping her academically.
Ecstatic about her 100 per cent score, Tanaya said, “I was expecting 99 per cent but 100 is too much. I want to become a doctor, like my parents, but a surgeon”.
Girls seemed to have that extra edge when it came to scoring a perfect 100 as another city girl, Mrunmayee Chitale, emerged as the topper at DES English Medium School. She said she started taking her studies seriously towards the end of the academic year.
“After December, she studied for 5-6 hours beyond her school hours and from January, she studied for almost 10-12 hours, according to a timetable she prepared. She is a trained Bharatnatyam dancer and continued pursuing dance classes till February. In fact, in Class X, she gave her sixth exam for dance. She also actively took part in other extra-curricular activities like debates, group discussions and choreographing school dance events,” said her mother Mrudula, adding that Mrunmayee, who wants to become a lawyer, is hopeful about getting admission in the Arts stream in Fergusson College.