Junal Barboza: Kate Middleton Hoax Victim Jacintha Saldanha's Teenage Son Receives 'Student of the Year' Award

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By Jenalyn Villamarin | May 29, 2014 12:02 PM EST

Jacintha Saldanha, a nurse of King Edward VII Hospital in London, left behind a teenage son and daughter when she committed suicide after becoming the victim to the Kate Middleton phone call hoax. Two years after the tragic death, Jacintha's teenage son Junal Barboza recently received the "Student of the Year" award at St Brendan's Sixth Form College in Bristol.

The Mail Online report revealed that Junal Barboza, who uses his father's surname, focused on his studies to deal with his mother's death. The 17-year-old student shared that he was shocked and honoured for the award he received.

"I wouldn't say I was a model student. I just get on with things on a daily basis and don't do anything too outrageous," Barboza stated. The student further shared that everyone showed support and he had people to communicate with while taking up A-levels in design, technology and business as well as AS-levels in physics and math.

Now, Junal Barboza hopes to go to Russell Group University and study engineering because it is the career that he wanted ever since he was a little kid. Despite the tragic death of his mother, Junal Barboza decided to study hard and the college teachers praised the teenage boy for his dedication and strength.   

In the Bristol Post report, the college's assistant head Ruth Pickersgill stated that Junal Barboza maintained dignity and integrity even though he had to deal with his mother's death under the eyes of the media. Pickersgill added that the community of St Brendan was privileged to have the popular and hardworking teenage student.

"Junal joined us two years ago and in his time here he has had to go through more adversity than most of us can possible imagine. We have nominated him for this award as despite the barriers he has had to overcome, he has managed to maintain an attendance of 97 per cent this year and has continued studying hard and apply himself to his studies," Pickersgill's citation on Junal Barboza reads.

Junal Barboza revealed that college work helped him deal with the death of his mother, Jacintha Saldanha. The hospital nurse was working on the switchboard in December 2012 when the Australian radio DJs Michael Christian and Mel Greig called and impersonated Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles.

The radio DJ's asked the nurse to put their call through the ward where the Duchess of Cambridge was being treated for the acute morning sickness of her pregnancy. The station broadcasted the prank call that created headlines worldwide and the nurse involved was found dead in the nurses' headquarters three days later.

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