Neha Verma, a student of Teja Singh Sutantar Memorial Senior Secondary School, Ludhiana bagged first rank in state as Punjab School Education Board (PSEB) announced its Class 10 results Wednesday. Scoring 99.54 per cent marks (647/650), she stood first in academics category.
The feat, however, did not come easy for the girl whose father, Pawan Kumar, works as a truck driver and had no money to pay for her school extra classes — a fee of Rs 350 a month. So when results were out Wednesday and she got to know that she has topped in the state, Neha just broke down in disbelief as her teachers cheered for her. While her father was still out on a tour when the results were announced, he was informed on phone about her achievement by the family.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Neha, who is the eldest of four siblings, said: “I never took any tuition. I did not want tuition and also my parents did not have the money to pay for it. They gave my school fee and that was more than enough. I concentrated on self-studies and never missed school. Our extra classes and tests in school itself were the most helpful. You really don’t need to do anything if you follow syllabus in school instead of depending on tuition.”
Apart from studies, Neha enjoys dancing and has pursued classical dance training. She added that she started staying away from social media a week before the exams. “You need to relax sometimes, so I used Facebook for half an hour a day but a week before exams, I left it completely,” she said.
Her mother Jiya Verma says she and her husband are very proud of their daughter. “My husband earns Rs 10,000 a month working as a truck driver with a company and that is not enough to raise four children. Still our daughter has made us the proudest parents today. She would hardly sleep for more than 3-4 hours a day and would return from school at 7 pm after attending extra classes. Even on Sundays, she would go to school and never miss extra classes. She never made any excuse to not attend them. Her father also wanted to be with her today but he is out on tour…He was overwhelmed and his reaction could not be explained in words when we told him on phone,” said the mother.
She added that they requested school authorities to waive Rs 350 per month fee of group extra classes to which they agreed seeing Neha’s excellent academic performance. “We could manage paying Rs 1,200 per month fee with great difficulty so we had requested principal to exempt extra classes fee. We are thankful that school helped us,” she added.
Sports category toppers
In sports category, in which candidates get 15-25 marks extra for participation in state or national/international level tournaments, three students held joint first rank in state with 100 per cent marks each scoring 650/650.
Nandini Mahajan (100 per cent), Bal Vidya Mandir High School, Nangal Kotli Mandi, Gurdaspur
Nandini is daughter of a ‘small shopkeeper’ who runs a grocery shop. She is a martial arts player and also helps her mother in taking tuition classes of other students.
She wants to be an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer after completing her graduation in non-medical.
Guidance from the teachers and self-studies helped Nandani to score perfect 100 per cent as she also helps her mother in her tuition classes at home whenever she gets free from her own studies.
“I never imagined that I will score a perfect hundred and read my name several times in the result list to make myself believe it,” said delighted Nandani.
Raj Kumar, her father crediting school teachers and the prinicipal, said that their dedication made this happen.
“My teachers used to take special classes even on Sundays and motivated me to make it to merit list,” said Nandini adding that she had never taken any special tuition classes.
Neeraj Yadav (100 per cent), Teja Singh Sutantar Memorial Senior Secondary School, Ludhiana
His father is a factory worker earning Rs 15,000 a month and mother is a homemaker. Neeraj is a national level silver medalist in martial arts and wants to be a software engineer. Basically from Bihar, Neeraj said that he will be pursuing non-medical stream and credited his parents and teachers for this success. He said that his aim is to secure admission in an IIT.
Ritika, BCM Senior Secondary School, Focal Point, Ludhiana – 100 per cent
A state-level bronze medalist in softball, Ritika is aiming for defence services. She said that she never kept any tuition. Her father works at a spinning mill and mother is a homemaker.
She said that extra-classes held in school were enough for her and teachers always supported her throughout due to which she never felt the need for any tuition. Ritika has now shifted to a CBSE school to pursue non-medical in Class 11 as her own school does not offer it. “I want to join Air Force,” she says.