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Just be friendly- Joao’s key to success

PUBLISHED: 10:17 10 September 2010 | UPDATED: 10:23 10 September 2010

Joao Goncalves who has achieved 16 GCSE passes at Great Yarmouth High School; Picture : James Bass

Joao Goncalves who has achieved 16 GCSE passes at Great Yarmouth High School; Picture : James Bass

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2010

STAR pupil Joao Goncalves believes his desire to integrate with other nationalities in Great Yarmouth helped him achieve 16 GCSE passes.

The 16-year-old, of School Road, Yarmouth, could hardly speak a word of English when he moved to Yarmouth with his family from the Portuguese coastal city of Porto five years ago.

But since then, the Yarmouth High School pupil said he had made every effort to integrate with not just the English community, but other nationalities in the town, including Poles and Lithuanians.

Among his impressive set of results were A*s in French, Portuguese and English Language.

He also gained six As in maths, English literature, science, additional science, ICT and drama.

He said: “Some people think it is hard to learn a language but, within two weeks, I could pretty much speak normally.

“I believe that you should be friends with everybody and, by doing that, if I ever need, for example, Polish, then I have an advantage in having learned the language.”

He added he made a number of sacrifices to achieve his goals.

“You just need to focus so much that school’s your priority. Everyone wants to go out with their friends or girlfriend, but I wanted to concentrate on my school work.”

As well as the A*s and As, he also achieved Bs in Food Tech and Stats and passes in adult literature and numeracy and passes in the English Speakers of Other Languages programme in reading, writing, speaking and listening.

The teenager, who lives with mum Cristina, 35, stepdad Sergio Barradas, 30 and sister Eleanor, seven, will now go on to do five A-levels at East Norfolk Sixth Form College in Gorleston.

He hopes to then go on to Cambridge University to study medicine, with the eventual aim of becoming a surgeon, doctor or paediatrician.


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