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Raksha Gopal

Raksha Gopal, 17-year-old student of Amity International School in Noida, who scored 99.6 per cent, has also been learning French and music, and plays piano

Sunday started on an unforgettable note for Raksha Gopal, who emerged as the all-India Central Board for Secondary Education (CBSE) Class XII topper, with an almost unbelievable score of 99.6 per cent.

As if the result itself was not enough, the 17-year-old student of the Amity International School in Noida was in for another surprise just five minutes later, when she received a call from Union Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Prakash Javadekar's office.

"My phone rang around 10.50am. The person said he was calling from the HRD Minister's office and that Javadekarji would like to talk to me. At first I thought it was a prank call. I believed it only only after I heard the minister speaking," Gopal said.

The Union Minister congratulated Gopal on her performance and welcomed her to the world of politics, as she wants to do graduation in political science. The Humanities student scored an aggregate of 498 out of total 500 marks. "The 99.6 per cent score came as a surprise to me. I had thought I would score between 95 and 96 per cent. This was beyond my imagination," she said.

Her phone has not stopped ringing since. For the CBSE topper, Delhi University (DU) is the first choice. "While it all depends on the cut-off, I would have loved to go to St Stephen's. But it does not have political science as a subject. So, my top choices would be Lady Shri Ram (LSR) College, Jesus and Mary College (JMC), and Miranda House," she said.

Gopal, who lives with her parents and sister in Sector 61 of Noida, originally hails from Chennai. When asked about her decision to pursue humanities, she said: "We always had the freedom to choose what we wanted to pursue."

She stood first among around 11 lakh students across the country, bagging a perfect score of 100 in three subjects — English (Core), Economics, and Political Science — while scoring 99 each in History and Psychology.

Her overjoyed parents said they had expected her to do well but had not imagined her to be a topper.

"We had always known that she would do well, but we did not think that she would top. It is a great feeling. We never put any pressure on her to come first. She studied on her own and did not take any tuitions," her father, Gopal Srinivasan, a Chartered Accountant with the Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation, said.

Gopal's mother Ranjini, a homemaker, said: "She is very meticulous and does not pile up work. She would study from Day One of the session. During examinations, she would study for six hours, with breaks for music and television. I would make sure that she slept early. A relaxed mind is important for studies."

And this is not all. Gopal has been studying French from Alliance Francoise and plays piano as well. Besides, she has been learning music. For her teachers, she has always been an "all rounder".

Renu Jain, Principal of Amity International School, said: "She has been with us for 17 years. She is an all-rounder. She plays the piano, the keyboard, is learning French, and has always surprised us with her marks."

Courtesy: DNA India

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