Debraj Nag, whose father drives a taxi, topped this year’s MBOSE Higher Secondary School Leaving Certificate (HSSLC) examination in the commerce stream with 472 marks.
A student of Laban Bengalee Boys HSS, Debraj wants to become a chartered accountant.
When asked how he coped with his studies in a Covid-affected year, the topper said that the pandemic disrupted not only his life but the lives of everyone. He also said that the constant use of a smartphone for online classes coupled with inability to meet friends has had an effect not only in his life but on the lives of many students.
“I worked patiently and dedicated myself towards my work,” he added simply.
While his father, Debulal Nag, drives a local taxi, his mother, Bijoylakshmi Biswas Nag, is a home maker. The teenager attributed his academic success to his parents as well as his teachers. He described his school as a “second family” and now hopes to gain admission to St Anthony’s College.
A proud Debulal said that he was confident that his only son would be in the top 10 but never thought that he would top the HSSLC exams.
The family has, like many in the state, been under financial pressure in the past 18 months because of the coronavirus pandemic.
With government restrictions in place, Debulal has only been able to earn money through his taxi one or twice a week and that is barely enough to keep his family afloat.
“With the income I earn now I will have to pay the taxes (for owning a commercial vehicle), pay the house rent and put food on the table for my family,” he added.
The family pays Rs 5,000 rent for a one room apartment and are three months in arrears.
Thankfully, the school, on seeing the academic ability of Debraj, had offered him a scholarship. The Nag family has also been blessed with support from the Bengali community of the city.
Vice-principal Jona Goswami said that most of the school’s students come from humble backgrounds.
Goswami also said that, unlike other students who make a beeline for so-called elite schools after Class 10, Debraj (who finished 19th in the SSLC exams two years ago) decided to continue his 11-12 at Laban Bengalee Boys HSS.
According to Goswami, the school has helped students who are promising. Debraj had the cost of his fees, book and other needs taken care of.
“Depending on the genuineness of the students, we give scholarships. There are also well-wishers who help the students,” she said.