A TERRIFYING prospect for any mother, there was a time when Laura Meli feared her son would not bounce back.
Life changed when Aidan was diagnosed with ADHD mid-way through Year 7.
His behaviour at Ark Charter Academy in Portsmouth became unruly, detention was a regular occurrence and the notion of being expelled once and for all was more probable than possible.
He was even arrested for assault at one point.
But yesterday, the U-turn was complete – as the 16-year-old proudly marched into the next chapter of his life with GCSE grades and a future to be proud of.
Smashing predictions of 5s and 6s in the new grading framework, he took home one 5, four 6s, two 7s and an 8.
‘I’ve had nightmares the past two nights thinking I had failed,’ Aidan said.
‘But I came in today, saw my results, and I was over the moon.
‘I’ve had some happy times in my life but I have never felt like this.’
Bar himself, there was no one in the room prouder at what Aidan had achieved than his mum, Laura.
The 39-year-old from Portsmouth said: ‘I cried when I found out about his results.
‘This has been a really, really rough road and I don't think anyone would've imagined three years ago he’d go on to do as well as he has today.
‘But thanks to excellent support from his teachers, he has turned himself around – and I am so proud of him.’
The first to admit he was ‘not the best of kids’ during Years 7, 8 and 9, Aidan will now go to Portsmouth College to study for a BTEC Level-3 extended diploma in sport.
He is also hoping take criminology alongside – collectively, a prospect he is chomping at the bit to get stuck into.
He said: ‘The first thing to do is celebrate. But I can’t wait for college, then university, then to become a teacher later on.’
But before any of those dreams are realised, Aidan’s mum believes there is thanks owed.
‘ He wouldn’t be where he is today without his teachers’ belief that he was capable,’ she said.
‘I work in a school as well so I know how difficult it can be – how often you may want to throw your hands up and say you’ve had enough. But they didn't do that, and I will forever be grateful.’