M. Ilangothai has scored 1,101 marks in the class XII examinations, but is yet to call the school to find out her scores for individual subjects. “The teachers had high hopes, and had expected me to get 1,180 marks,” said the student of Little Flower Convent Higher Secondary School for the Visually Impaired.
Ilangothai's father is a farmer in Aaraiyur, in Namakkal district. All his three children suffer from retinitis pigmentosa, an inherited genetic disease. Ilangothai hopes to study English literature at the Avinashilingam College in Coimbatore.
It was Colleen M. Redit, president of Christian Missions Charitable Trust, who persuaded Daisy Santhakumari to send her daughter Matilda Dorothy to school. Matilda has scored 1089, and wants to pursue English literature as well. Matilda's optic nerves are weak, making her technically blind.
K. Priyanka, who topped in the Tamil section with 1083, has glaucoma. S. Latha, daughter of a tailor and topper from the Tamil medium and J. Abirami from the English medium of the Convent's school for the hearing impaired, hope to become IAS officers.
As with mainstream schools, girls have done better than boys. The Government Higher Secondary School for the visually impaired in Poonamallee has improved its performance as well. All 38 boys who appeared have passed. At the MGR School for the Hearing Impaired, all 27 students have passed and the topper scored 85.3 per cent. Three children from Vidya Sagar, who went to mainstream schools, have also passed.
Principals give full credit for the performance of their students to the efforts of the teachers. “Teachers worked even on Sundays and holidays to ensure that lessons were revised well,” said Jascintha Roselind, principal of the Little Flower Convent School for the Hearing Impaired.