New Delhi: While Anushka Panda topped the CBSE class 10 examinations in the differently-abled category, what she’s most proud of is not using the extra half-an-hour in each paper, to which she is legally entitled. A student in Gurgaon’s Suncity School, she scored 97.8 per cent overall; 99 per cent in Mathematics and Hindi, 98 per cent in Science and Social Science and 95 per cent in English.
Anushka was provided a special bench by the school. The 14-year-old girl suffers from spinal muscular atrophy, a genetic disorder that diminishes her physical strength and affects her motor nerve cells in the spinal cord. The disorder also affects mobility. As a result, she is wheelchair bound and needs to take frequent breaks.
Despite her disability, her father Anup Panda says, she never wanted to be treated special. “She has to wear a spinal brace which makes it difficult for her to sit for long hours,” her father, told news agency Press Trust of India.
Anushka, also a trained classical singer, aspires to become a software engineer. “I can’t walk and had to take breaks frequently, which is not good. But then I studied harder to overcome that,” Anushka told news agency IANS. “The disability always tried to hamper my performance, but I didn’t let it do so. It was going to but I didn’t allow it,” she said.
“The focus that Anushka possesses is rare to find in other children. She is determined and does not allow any obstacle to overpower her, and her benchmarks are very high,” Rupa Chakravarty, principal of Suncity School said. “She is an inspiration for all of us. What she has achieved many other students would not be able to achieve with all the elements,” she added.
With inputs from agencies