Ancy Philip topped the Std XII exam 2012 with 1189 out of 1200. A textbook definition of a topper, 17-year-old Ancy Philip distanced herself from the television, internet, and mobile phones for a year. She went for tuitions and buried herself beneath her physics and chemistry books. But ask her how she scored a 200, 200, 200, 199, 198 and 192 in all her subjects, and she says that this is all because she prayed hard. She is one of the State second-rankers, with French as her first language.

“I put up a sheet in my room with all my goals listed. I kept looking at it so that I remained focussed,” she says. “I was scared and nervous like any other student,” she confesses. The only entertainment she allowed herself all years was her Ipod. “I love ‘Baby’ by Justin Bieber, and also Shakira,” she says. “As soon as the exam got over, I got DVDs of all the movies I missed out on, and connected myself to the outside world again,” she adds.

After her father passed away in an accident four years ago, her mother Jancy Lukose, who works as a Senior Section Officer in ICF, brought her up single-handedly.