Against the odds: a les­son in willpower

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS -

in­dus­try and ded­i­ca­tion of stu­dents.”

King David High School, Manch­ester, re­ported an “ex­cel­lent” set of re­sults, with 50 per cent of all grades be­ing As and A*s. The ad­ja­cent Yavneh Yeshivah High saw 97 per cent of its stu­dents pass with a grade B or above.

Suc­cesses also spread to Liver­pool, where al­most 60 per cent at King David High School at­tained an A*, A or B.

For those now at the end of their school days, the re­sults are step­ping stones to new feats — in­clud­ing, but not limited to, foun­da­tion cour­ses, ap­pren­tice­ships, gap year trav­els and univer­sity. Un­pro­voked hys­te­ria op­tional.

JAKE GELLER never thought he would fin­ish school, let alone go to univer­sity, af­ter health is­sues and learn­ing difficulties sapped his con­fi­dence.

But the Prest­wich stu­dent de­fied all odds to achieve an A and a B at A-level, and a dis­tinc­tion in BTEC sci­ence, se­cur­ing a place to study geog­ra­phy at Manch­ester Metropoli­tan Univer­sity.

“My pri­mary school teach­ers told me I’d never be able to read or write,” said the 18-year-old, whose se­vere asthma and dys­lexia kept him off school for long pe­ri­ods. “It’s safe to say I proved them wrong.

“My par­ents pushed me and told me I could do it, which clearly paid off. They are ec­static.”

He de­scribed how, af­ter mov­ing from school to school be­fore GCSEs, he fi­nally found his foot­ing at Abbey Col­lege in Manch­ester, where he “learnt the tools” to im­prove his s t ud­ies a nd make friends. Head­teacher Liz El­lam said: “It was clear from the minute he started that he was highly in­tel­li­gent, and just needed a small en­vi­ron­ment to help build up his con­fi­dence.”

The col­lege pro­vided on­line re­sources to help him while he was away from class, and also put him in small groups so he could re­ceive more at­ten­tion. Jake, whose fam­ily be­long to the Higher Prest­wich He­brew Con­gre­ga­tion, has now joined a one-year yeshiva course in Is­rael, where he hopes to “build self-be­lief even more”, be­fore start­ing univer­sity next year. “I want to show peo­ple that even if you have learn­ing difficulties or bad health, it is still pos­si­ble to do well and get good re­sults; you can always do bet­ter if you try harder.

“I d i d n ’ t be­lieve in my­self for so long but I k n o w n o w that I am good enough.”

PHOTO: JAMIE LANG

Re­lieved faces: JFS’ A-level stu­dents

Prov­ing them wrong: Jake Geller

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