Burnley pupil at Shuttleworth College celebrating after battling mental health difficulties to sit his GCSEs and land a place on his dream course
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Lucas Benson struggled with anxiety during his final year at Shuttleworth College due to the impact of Covid-19, his dad being hospitalised after a fall and losing his six-year-old cousin Caitlin to a rare cancer called neuroblastoma.
But the 16-year-old was determined to complete his exams and today is shining after finding out he has passed four GCSEs and secured a place on an automotive apprenticeship at Training 2000 in Blackburn.
Commenting on his struggles, Lucas said: “They impacted me because I didn’t want to go school and was distracted by what has happened and coping with my emotions whilst worrying about my GCSEs.”
Lucas says support from his family and school, mainly Head of Year Mr Fox, helped him cope.
“At first, I was scared of doing my GCSEs, especially because I was overthinking. But I’m proud of myself for overcoming this and doing them.”
His family – mum Rebecca, stepdad Daniel, nanna Shirley, auntie Helen, two cousins Skyla and Daisy, and especially his siblings Kara, Ayden, Dylan and dog Scampi – “are so proud of what Lucas has achieved, especially after what he has been through. He still got up and did his best. We had a good relationship with Mr Fox, which has been such a good help.”
Lucas is now looking forward to his apprenticeship, passing his driving test and driving a car.
"To all the kids out there: I understand school is a scary place. But I say challenge your inner thoughts. I used to have negative thoughts going to school.
Some days you will think you can’t do it but I believe you can.
"It’s okay to feel anxious, scared or overwhelmed. Everyone experiences this. If you’re struggling, that’s okay. Talk to someone. If you don’t pass your GCSEs, it’s okay. At least you did the GCSEs in the first place, which is challenging.
“My advice to someone who is struggling is to keep positive and keep going to school, even on hard days. Go to your pastoral teacher, be honest and talk to them. They are there to help. Also, have fun with your friends.”
And, he added: “No matter what, work hard.”