Portobello pupil celebrates exam success after spending nearly a year in hospital fighting cancer

Deniz Atici with her exam results.
Deniz Atici with her exam results.
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Several pupils across Edinburgh and the Lothians were celebrating on Tuesday after receiving their exam results.

But Deniz Atici, an S5 at Portobello High School, achieved two A grades in English and Art & Design having spent most of last year in hospital receiving treatment for cancer.

She had acute myeloid leukemia while in S3 and spent months receiving painful and exhausting treatment, but continued to do as much school work as she could even in her long spells at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children.

When she returned to school in fourth year she found the work challenging and had fallen behind and lost a lot of confidence.

Throughout the year, Deniz was only able to attend school part time and spent a lot of her time studying at home for the two exams she was taking this year.

She said: “I’m so happy as I didn’t expect these results. I only sat two exams and it’s been difficult for me to concentrate with everything I have been through so I’m very happy and proud.

“I was really nervous when I was waiting on the results today, in my English exam I hoped I would get an A but in Art I didn’t think I would at all so that was a surprise.”

Her proud father, Seyit Atici, added: “Deniz said earlier she had a pain in her back - and now she’s got her results she was like ‘the pain is gone!’

“It is a very happy day.”

Ross MacLennan, Deniz’s English teacher at Portobello High School, said: “Deniz has worked incredibly hard and shown fantastic commitment in trying to get her education back on track.

“I would commend Deniz for her hard work and tenacity in very difficult circumstances.”

In the new school year, Deniz will carry on her studies and undertake two Highers in English and Art as well as her National 5 exams in Maths, Business and Admin.

She hopes that after school she will go on to university and have a career in psychology.