Girl beats all odds to score 97% in West Bengal Class 12 exams | education$high-school | Hindustan Times
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Girl beats all odds to score 97% in West Bengal Class 12 exams

The daughter of a failed small-time hardware trader and a labourer at a ball pen refill factory, Monalisa was almost on the verge of dropping out of school even after scoring 92% in her Class 10 or Madhyamik examination.

Board exams 2016 Updated: May 18, 2016 15:14 IST
HT Correspondent
The daughter of a failed small-time hardware trader and a labourer at a ball pen refill factory, Monalisa was almost on the verge of dropping out of school even after scoring 92% in her Class 10 or Madhyamik examination.
The daughter of a failed small-time hardware trader and a labourer at a ball pen refill factory, Monalisa was almost on the verge of dropping out of school even after scoring 92% in her Class 10 or Madhyamik examination.(HT photo)

At just about five feet, a frail Monalisa Halder can be an unlikely icon of grit and determination.

The daughter of a failed small-time hardware trader and a labourer at a ball pen refill factory, Monalisa was almost on the verge of dropping out of school even after scoring 92% in her Class 10 or Madhyamik examination. The pale-looking girl ended up bagging the eighth position with a 97% in the combined merit list of the West Bengal higher secondary or Class 12 examination.

Monalisa’s achievement is perhaps several miles ahead of the students who shared the rank with her simply because she pursued humanities. She seems to have broken the myth that one needs to pursue science in higher secondary to secure a rank in the top 10.

“I never deviated from the target. I come from a very poor family. There were times when I was pushed to the verge of quitting my studies. But I stayed focused no matter what came,” Monalisa, who comes from a nondescript Diamond Harbour High School in South 24 Parganas, said.

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Two years ago when Monalisa had come out with flying colours in her Madhyamik examination almost everyone thought that it was the end of her career. The family, surviving under abject poverty, didn’t have the financial means to educate her further.

It was her maternal uncle Biswajit Halder, a small photocopy shop owner, who stood beside her. Her school teachers also filled the gaps.

“I advised her to pursue humanities in the higher secondary as it would be less costly. She readily agreed as English was her favourite subject. It was just the beginning of the two-year struggle,” Biswajit said.

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Monalisa had to juggle her studies to remain in the competition and help her mother with filling pen refills at home.

“Whenever I came to meet her I felt so bad. I could see the child helping her mother with her work when it was time to study. It was her sheer patience and perseverance which has brought her to the place which she is enjoying today. The girl has tremendous concentration and would study even when others used to watch TV in front of her,” Biswajit added.

There were times when Monalisa had to rush to her school teacher’s house as she didn’t have all the textbooks, leave aside reference books.

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“My teachers had a lot of expectations from me after they saw my Madhyamik score. This motivated me,” she said.

Monalisa – the only child of her parents – now wants to pursue a career in English literature. Her parents know that while she has won the two-year-long battle against hardships, the war has just begun for her.