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Stories of success warm hearts

By ZHU LIXIN in Hefei and DENG RUI in Chongqing | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2021-06-30 09:34
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Zhou Tong (second from right) and his classmates at a park in Huoqiu county, Anhui province. CHINA DAILY

Students overcome disabilities and accidents to gain top marks in exam

As the results of this year's college entrance examinations, or gaokao, are released across the country, the stories of some of the candidates are warming the hearts of many people.

Take Deng Xiansong from Southwest China's Chongqing for example. His parents were thrilled to learn that their son had scored 592 out of a possible 750 points, and although the young student himself took things in his stride, his result is sufficient to gain him admittance to a high-ranking university.

When he was 3, Deng was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease, a rare, incurable condition also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. The progressive condition attacks the nerve cells that control muscles, and when he was 10, Deng lost the ability to walk.

Although he cannot play basketball himself, like many of his classmates, he is an NBA fan. His favorite player is Stephen Curry, who he says "is not tall compared to the others, but very good at making three-point shots".

The disease has also deformed his fingers, making writing difficult. Prior to the three-day examination, which began on June 7, his father had planned to ask for a half-hour extension for each of the six tests on his behalf, but Deng refused.

"He told me that he could manage. He's very wary of being treated differently," Deng Jun said, adding that his 18-year-old son has benefited from some special arrangements in the past.

Because climbing stairs was impossible, from primary school to high school Deng's classes were always held in first-floor classrooms and during school, which lasted from 8 am to 5 pm, he drank as little water as possible because going to the toilet was complicated.

"When other students went to play sports, or to the computer rooms and the laboratories, my son had to remain in his classroom alone in his wheelchair," Deng Jun said.

After school, the boy continued studying at home and rarely went to bed before 11 pm. While his father continued to work as a mathematics teacher at his high school, Deng's mother, Xian Jie, quit her job to take care of him. "Occasionally, he loses his temper, but he always calms down quickly and apologizes," she said.

The story of Zhou Tong, who comes from the eastern province of Anhui, has also been touching hearts.

The student at the No 1 High School in Huoqiu county scored 684 out of 750 and said that he is satisfied with his performance, which comes despite a more than six-month absence from the classroom due to an accident. He hopes his score will be enough to gain him entrance to Beijing's Tsinghua University.

Back in 2019, Zhou's left leg was crushed when a truck accidentally ran onto the sidewalk. According to the report that appeared in the China Youth Daily, the driver panicked and was unable to help.

So, despite the severity of his accident and unable to feel anything in his left leg, Zhou calmly took care of matters himself. He pulled his wounded leg toward him, removed the lace from his shoe and used it to bind the wound. Then, he called the police.

His teachers, who rushed to the hospital to see him, said they were shocked by what had happened.

Over the next six months, Zhou received multiple surgeries, but doctors were unable to save the lower half of the damaged leg, which had to be amputated.

Now 18, he lives with a sister and his grandmother in a village. "His parents migrated to the city for work," said Li Jiasheng, Zhou's head teacher.

He was determined not to allow the accident to deprive him of a future. Two days after he was taken to the hospital, and still in intensive care, Zhou asked his aunt to bring him his schoolbooks, so that he could keep studying. His six teachers and 39 classmates all began to take turns helping him, and this allowed him to sit the exams, for which Zhou said he will always be grateful.

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