AT 15, Josiah Dempsey has already had to cope with a cancerous brain tumour, and the killing of his eldest sister last year.
Today, he defies the odds by sitting a Junior Cert exam. Josiah pinpoints a passion for woodwork and his teacher for his success.
The teenager attends the Nano Nagle Special School in Listowel, Co Kerry. But he wanted to sit the Junior Cert in woodwork, which was accommodated by St Michael's College.
For the past two years, he's been making the 80km round-trip from his home in Rockchapel, Co Cork, to attend school.
"I'm a little bit nervous," he said. "But I've been working hard with my teacher Jim Sweeney."
Josiah was diagnosed with a brain tumour when he was nine but after treatment he got the all-clear last year. However, Josiah lost the sight in one eye and has short-term memory problems.
"We're so proud of him but we always have been," his mother Maria.
The family was devastated last November when Josiah's sister Alicia (20) was killed in a house in Limerick along with her friend Sarah Hines (25) and Sarah's two children.