It was only in the afternoon when she was contacted by mediapersons that Anitha Lakshmi T.E. came to know that she had topped in accountancy and auditing with a score of 395 out of 400.

Anitha’s father T. Elumalai is an electrician and the family lives in Nesapakkam. She moved to Sri RKM Sarada Vidyalaya in class XI.

“I was determined to succeed. I wanted to do well,” says Anitha, who has scored a total of 1144 marks and wants to become a chartered accountant. She attributed her success to the coaching she received in school. “I didn’t study much at home. I spent all the time in school preparing for the exams,” she said.

At A.J.S. Nidhi Higher Secondary School in Alandur, Lakshmi Arumugham (60), an ayah at the noon meal kitchen for the past 23 years, was exhilarated. Her grandson, L. Clement has emerged a State topper in two subjects — office management and typewriting, aggregating 381/400 marks. He has an overall score of 756/1,200.

He is among the 21 students from the school belonging to the vocational group whose subjects include commerce and accountancy in addition to office management and typewriting. The group also offers English and Tamil.

Clement’s parents A. Lourdunathan and Jessie Kala are both daily wage earners. “I owe this success to my grandmother, parents and teachers, without whom this would not have been possible. I want to study commerce in a city college and fulfil my grandmother’s dreams of taking good care of my parents,” said Clement.

Seventeen-year-old A. Revathy has secured the second rank in the State in office secretaryship with 1075 marks. “I decided to take the course for the job opportunity it offers,” said Revathy, whose father is a member of the housekeeping staff in a private firm on OMR.

Many companies hire candidates with qualifications in such courses and pay a salary ranging between Rs. 8,000 and Rs. 12,000, she said.

It was quest for a ‘decent pay’ that led L. Jothi to choose a course in food management and childcare. A student of Sarojini Varadappan Girls Higher Secondary School in Kandaswamy Nagar in Poonamallee, she has scored 1043 and holds the second rank. “The course has scope for jobs with a decent pay as many hotels in the metros prefer candidates with specialisation in food,” Jothi said.

(With inputs from K. Manikandan, D. Madhavan and R. Sujatha)