Shillong: Kevinstrong Lawriniang, the topper in the just-declared results of the Secondary School Leaving Certificate (SSLC) (Class 10) exam in Meghalaya, has amply proved the old adage, ‘where there is a will, there is a way’.

From an economically weak family, Lawriniang overcame several obstacles to become the board exam topper.

Immediately after the results were declared on Thursday, the first-rank holder was flooded with phone calls and congratulatory messages.

“I am filled with happiness and my gratitude to God for this success. Coming from a poor family, I can’t thank my parents and teachers enough for their support,” said Lawriniang, a student of St Thomas Higher Secondary School of Mairang in West Khasi Hills district.

Apart from the first rank, St Thomas Higher Secondary School also bagged the tenth position in the board exams this year.

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Meghalaya Class 10 topper Kevinstrong Lawriniang

Lawriniang’s father used to be a tailor, but he had to stop working due to an ailment. His mother is a mid-day meal cook in his school and worked as a daily-wager during her off days.

Lawriniang is the youngest in the family. His older sister teaches in the primary section of the school. Since money was always little, Lawriniang would use books sponsored by Students’ Book Stall in Shillong since Class 9. His teachers helped with school fees.

However, whenever the teachers volunteered to pay for his school fees, they did not let the student know who paid them, said Sister Cecilia, vice principal of St Thomas Higher Secondary School.

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“Lawriniang comes from a very ordinary family and earns their living from daily wages. His sister also has a family of her own to feed, with three children. They manage the family with a small income,” she added.

Sister Cecilia, vice principal, St Thomas Higher Secondary School, Mairang

However, the principal of the school always saw Lawriniang as a humble and hardworking boy and knew that he would do well in life. Looking at his family background, the principal looked for sponsors to provide free texbooks and eventually got one.

“Since he was a little boy, I was confident that he will shine,” added Cecilia.

While textbooks were taken care of, Lawriniang had another obstacle to overcome. With the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping across the region, teachers and students had to adapt to the new way of learning – online classes.

Lawriniang somehow managed online classes with his sister’s smartphone. But internet data charges were still an issue. So, the boy made the most of what he had and his teachers took out time to meet him individually to clear his doubts.

Leaving a word of inspiration for young students, Lawriniang advised that it doesn’t matter whether you come from a rich family or poor.

“What matters is your faith in God and your hard work. It doesn’t matter which school you go to. What matters at the end of the day is your determination,” he added.

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