We were so pleased for Nathan when The Gazette chose to publish his photograph on the front page following GCSE Results Day, alongside a lovely article about his incredible success in the examinations, despite the considerable challenges he has faced. You can read all about him, alongside other student successes in Teesside, here: www.gazettelive.co.uk/news/teesside-news/narcolepsy-meant-nathan-nodded-class-16799979
Nathan was awarded our annual ’Georgina’s Star for Strength’ award at the Year 11 Prom at Guisborough. The award, donated to the school by Georgina’s parents Helen and Paul Anderson, is for the student who has shown the most determination, resilience, inspiration or willingness to support others. In short, the qualities that friends and family remember Georgina for, alongside her musical talents. Sadly she passed away in November 2013 as a result of aggressive liver cancer. Nathan was a worthy choice for the award, popular with his peers for his friendliness, warmth and quiet determination. It is no coincidence he received a thunderous standing ovation from his year mates when the award was announced by Ms Rice.
Nathan Dales suffers from brain condition narcolepsy which causes a person to fall asleep suddenly – but he still scooped grade 9s in all subjects.
A star student with narcolepsy has achieved GCSE grades he could only dream of. Nathan Dales achieved a top grade 9 in every subject – despite drifting off twice a day in lessons. “I wasn’t expecting it,” the Outwood Bydales student told Teesside Live. “I was hoping I would do well, but I was speechless. I was shaking a bit. I didn’t really know what to say. I was just over the moon.”
The 16-year-old’s spectacular results against the odds left teachers gobsmacked and his parents Rod and Jill in tears. The aspiring engineer, from Redcar , fell asleep in class on a daily basis – and even dozed off during an English language exam. But he still managed to ace every subject, achieving top grades in maths, biology, chemistry, physics, geography, French, statistics, English literature and English language.
Nathan Dales at school prom with Outwood Bydales Associate Principal Seana Rice
“I would fall asleep twice a day in lessons,” he said. "I just literally fall asleep on the desk on top of my work and left for 15 to 20 minutes. "Any longer than that, the sleep is too deep to wake up. The teachers would have to shake me. “It really affected my revision. Outside the school environment I found it even harder to stay awake.” He added: “I have had it all my life and I will have it for the rest of my life. But I never acted as if I was any different to anyone else. I just got on with it.”
Mum Jill, 49, said: "He’s only gone and smashed it! Nathan we are so proud of you! “You didn’t let narcolepsy ever stand in your way. You can achieve anything.”
Nathan is going on to study A Levels in Prior Pursglove College to study maths, physics, further maths and psychology. He eventually hopes to study engineering at Cambridge University and work in the aerospace industry.
He said: "I just want to say a big thank you to all the staff and my mum and dad. "I really don’t think I would have got it at a different school. “The school has made a massive difference with how they have supported me.”