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Grace under pressure

Sebastian Sansoni. Pictures by Thushara Fernando
Sebastian Sansoni. Pictures by Thushara Fernando

S. Thomas’ has bred a leader of men in the form of Head Prefect Sebastian Sansoni. A resourceful young man, Sansoni rose up through the ranks to where he is now, the Head Boy of STC. Perfect Prefect features Sebastian Sansoni, who leads by example having learnt the art of handling pressure.

“Currently I am the President of the Drama Society. I am the Senior Editor of the College Magazine and Captain of the Debating Team in College. I played Tennis until last year. I was captain for two years. The leadership qualities a Head Prefect should possess, in terms of leadership, is to be exemplary in leadership. There are many qualities a leader should have but to name a few, one is being able to make proper decisions. You should be able to lead those around you and inspire them towards a common goal so they can work towards that,” said Sansoni.

Deal with difference

The pressure can make you break. But some people do not break under pressure. Some people grow out of pressure.

“It is also being able to handle pressure and being able to deal with different people because as the Head Prefect of the school no student is going to be the same. So you have to know how to deal with different types of students and handle the mix that schools always have,” explained Sansoni.

Sansoni has not forgotten the underlying values in his life and the person he was.

“Also in terms of terms of leadership, it is important to stay true to who you are, the person that you were who got you to this post. It is important to keep the values that the school has ingrained in you throughout the years and keep those values as a leader. Because as the Head Prefect you are the embodiment of what the school stands for. You should represent the values that the school has imparted in you, then that will make you a good leader,” pointed out Sansoni.

The Head Prefect is appointed by the Warden who considers all aspects of one’s performance and personality.

Extracurricular activities

“You cannot write the criteria on a piece of paper and then select the Head Boy. It depends on his personality, it depends on his character and of course, your achievements do play a part in your school with the leadership qualities you possess. You have to be well disciplined and you need to do well in school academically as well as extracurricular activities. Those aspects determine your capacity. But mainly it is your personality and what you show to be a good leader,” added Sansoni.

Of course, before being appointed the Head Prefect, the boys are school prefects for a good six months.

“So as a school prefect you get to show your quality, exhibit your leadership qualities and the calibre you stand for,” stated Sansoni

The post of Head Prefect carries with it a lot of duties and responsibilities.

“My primary responsibility as a Head Prefect has been maintaining discipline. I feel it starts from the prefects and then spreads to everyone in the school. I think that is important because that is why the prefect system was established - to maintain discipline. But it is also very important as the Head Prefect to guide the students and mould them to becoming better people. That is something I have seen in the prefects before me who represented everything that a student would want to be. They inspired the students to aspire to the better angels of their nature. It is a duty that we do undertake and we take this seriously. It is a great privilege for us, I and my fellow prefects, to get to be the leaders of the school and take the school in the direction we feel is best. It is our duty to be committed and loyal to the school,” elucidated Sansoni.

Having a prefect body in a school is good for many reasons.

“In terms of discipline, they are very good at handling it, because at the end of the day they are students as well. They have gone through the system and they know how to system works. They know how to deal with people around their age. Further, I believe it is good because it is important to have student mentors. Being a prefect means many things. It is a prestigious post, an important appointment and it is a privilege because it is given to only a few students in the college. It is relevant because other students look up to us and want to be like us. We love the school because the school has done so much for us. So we want to give back to our school. You can serve the college and help college maintain those great standards and values,” informed Sansoni.

One important skill Sansoni has learnt is how to balance his obligations.


“Having to balance school work and extra-curricular activities and my obligations as a Head Prefect, it is difficult as currently, I am in charge of three extra-curricular activities. It is very tough, but in a way it can help you move forward, demonstrating that balance is always going to be a part of life. School level is the time when you are young enough and have the energy and capability to handle all of that. At this age I can do the most I can do and make the most of myself. That is something you tell yourself all the time and it motivates you and helps you to keep that balance. Finding time is difficult so you have to make the sacrifices as well,” explained Sansoni.

Prioritisation is a necessity of the post.

“You also get to prioritise, and in doing so you get to sacrifice things that are not that important like watching TV. So being committed to what you are doing is a good thing. You have to know that your goals are important. And you suddenly start to realise that this will help you at some point in your life. Also, I feel that it is always good to test your limits. If you don’t give it a shot you never know what you are going to be and what you have within you. And then you actually discover hidden talents,” shared Sansoni.

STC has always been a school of gentlemen.

“At S. Thomas’ we have always been taught how to be a gentleman. It has always been very much part of the culture of our school. We have been shown why it is important to be a gentleman. Good principles are the foundation of this college. So we learn how to treat each other,” said Sansoni.

The advice Sansoni gives to any boy who wants to take up a leadership role at STC is to trust oneself and the person that he is.

Correct attitude

“At that time, you are given the role because of the person that you are. Mistakes may happen, but you need to rise above them and rise up to the challenge of being a leader. You are doing this because you are serving the college and serving the student population. If your mind is focused on that goal, then that is the correct attitude,” said Sansoni.

One of the best parts of being a prefect is the support he gets from his school mates.

“I get to share a very special bond with my friends who are prefects. You can have a normal friendship but once you are a prefect there is a special bond created with the other prefects. They do what I ask them because it is my vision and because they understand that they need to give their support to me. That respect is there because of their fidelity to me. That is the most rewarding aspect of being a Head Prefect,” enthused Sansoni.

Sansoni owes a lot to his family.

“They gave me the space to do what I wanted to do. They gave me that freedom to do what I wanted to do. They gave me that independence. They never interfered or were too pushy. Whenever I have needed them, and there have been struggles, they have always been there. They have always been supportive. They realised that when I was appointed they needed to be more supportive. I really appreciate that, and I owe a lot to them. I have four sisters and they have always taught me the difference between right and wrong. They have always been helpful and I could always talk to them if I have a personal issue,” explained Sansoni.

Currently, Sansoni is concentrating on his studies to get into a good foreign university.

“The teaching faculty have been very supportive and moulded me to be the person I am today, in my studies and my extra-curricular activities. They have been a huge influence in imparting values to me and my fellow brethren. I would not have been here without them. I enjoy learning a lot and am excited about the prospect of discovering where I can go and what type of career or profession suits me,” summed up Sansoni.


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