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Beating the odds to become top performer

Published:Thursday | June 30, 2016 | 6:00 AM
Rhoda McKenley

Plagued with systematic lupus, an autoimmune disease for the last two years, Rhoda McKenley was nervous going into this year's Grade Six Achievement Test. However, she has managed to defy the odds by acing the exam and ending up with being the top-performing student from Green Park Primary and Junior High School. For her efforts, she has won a place at Holy Childhood High School.

"I was a little nervous going into the exams because I was worrying about the school I would pass for. However, when the results came, I cried tears of joy when I heard I had passed for my school of choice; I was so surprised," she said.

Rhoda added that she was nervous during the exams because she did not expect to do so well, especially on the math paper, which she found to be a bit challenging.

Cadesha Needham, Rhoda's mother, was just as elated as her daughter. "It was months of torment during her studies and preparations. She had given up a lot to achieve this feat," said the proud mother.

"Rhoda's struggles with systematic lupus has affected her severely. She has to be on medications and sometimes it's very hard for her to study or concentrate, but she pulled through," Needham explained.

Despite the challenges, however, Rhoda has always been at the top of her class, even though it is hard living with the disease, which is costly to treat.

"I have dreamt about this moment and I am happy to see it come through. Rhoda is a brilliant girl and she is working hard to outshine her elder sister, who was a head girl at her school," said Needham.

Rhoda is already looking forward to making the transition to Holy Childhood High School, with a hope to eventually becoming the head girl there.