A Sunderland student found out she was one of the top GCSE students in the country while trapped in monsoon flooding.
Melin Sunil, 16, was due to fly back from visiting family in India in time to pick up her results, but was grounded due to flooding in Kerala, which killed hundrds of people and displaced thousands more.
Eventually, despite numerous attempts, St Anthony’s Girls’ Catholic Academy managed to contact the teenager by email to break the news she was among the top 0.5% of GCSE students nationally.
Melin, who lives in Millfield, scooped a staggering ten grade 9s and one A* under the new, tougher GSCE grading system.
The teenager, who had travelled to India with her parents and younger sister, said although, luckily, they were in a place where the water levels did not become too high, they couldn’t fly home because the roads and airport were flooded.
She said: “It wasn’t frightening where we were, but I was really scared for other members of the family who were in the worst hit areas and had to be moved out of their homes.
The exams were so hard and I didn’t expect to do so wellMelin Sunil
“We knew it was raining a bit when we flew out, but when we got there, it just became heavier and heavier.”
Melin, who is now studying for her A-levels in maths, biology, chemistry and Spanish, said she was delighted with her GCSE results, where she clinched the top grades in maths, English language, English literature, biology, chemistry, physics, geography, history, Spanish, RE and design technology.
She said: “I was really, really happy with the results because the exams were so hard and I didn’t expect to do so well.
“It was a lot of hard work, but it definitely paid off.”
Now, concentrating on her A-levels, Melin has hopes of going on to study medicine at Oxford, Cambridge or Newcastle Universities and is interested in specialising in pediatrics.
Staff who have watched Melin’s success enfold since she joined the school in Year 7, are thrilled with her results.
Helen Smith, director of Sixth Form at the Thornhill Terrace school, said: “We are very, very proud of her. She works so hard and is very dedicated to her studies. She really deserves this success.”
Jo Britton, director of Key Stage 4 at the school, said as well as being academically successful, Melin is also a really lovely girl.
She said: “It is amazing what she has achieved and she will help anyone else out as well.”