Aug 24 2010 By Sibba Matti
A TEENAGER who juggled school work with caring for her disabled mother, father and brother is celebrating excellent A-level results.
Jessica Sisley, 17, a student at Royal Masonic School for Girls in Rickmansworth, achieved three As in history, politics and classics after taking her exams one year early.
She now plans to read history and politics at the University of York in September.
Jess, who originally hails from Lincoln, won a scholarship at the school, in Rickmansworth Park, and has been boarding there during the week, before returning home to look after her family during weekends and holidays.
The bright pupil's father, Nigel, 50, was paralysed from the waist down after a accident while playing football, and also suffers from hydrocephalus (water on the brain).
Her mother, Linda, 55, has osteoporosis, while her older brother, Robert, 22, was born with brain damage and heart problems, and also suffers from autism and Down's syndrome.
Jess said: "I am really surprised but so happy with my results and can't wait to go to university.
"I have been hopping back and forth to Lincoln as much as possible but it has been difficult being away from my family while I have been studying, especially if something goes wrong at home, and they are always on my mind.
"My mum finds it difficult to move or stand for long periods of time and I help by doing every day jobs people can take for granted, such as cooking and cleaning, looking after my brother, basically whenever my parents are struggling to cope.
"I guess I don't come from a typical family but this has always been normal to me. They have been very strong for me and always encouraged me to do my best.
"I couldn't have done it without their help and support, including my aunties and grandparents, plus my friends and teachers, who have almost become my second family.
"My life would probably be very different if I hadn't got the scholarship and going to the school has been a fantastic opportunity."
Jess' proud father said: "Under the circumstances, we are extremely proud of Jess. I'm sure she has been very modest but she really has been an angel.
"There have been times where I'm sure she wanted to watch television or go out with her friends but she has always put her family first.
"As the saying goes, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, and I think Jess will be a lot more prepared for the ups and downs that lie ahead in life.
"I don't think she would have such a bright future ahead of her had she not got the scholarship and left Lincoln."
Headmistress at The Royal Masonic School, Diana Rose, added: "Girls like Jess are exactly why this school was founded, for a social purpose.
"She is a very clever girl, hence why she took her exams a year early, and we would be very happy for more girls like her to study here."