Starve your distraction! | Daily News

Starve your distraction!

York International School, Wattala
Head Boy Supramaniam Shopikar and Head Girl Jerusha Mangalagama. Pictures by Sarath Peiris
Head Boy Supramaniam Shopikar and Head Girl Jerusha Mangalagama. Pictures by Sarath Peiris

Head Girl Jerusha Mangalagama and Head Boy Supramaniam Shopikar of York International School Wattala, are living examples that in order to succeed there is no substitute for Hard Work. Perfect Prefects features Mangalagama and Shopikar whose hard work accompanied by proper values have enabled them to provide effective leadership.

Head Girl of York International School Wattala, Jerusha Mangalagama’s grandmother was a lady who was incredibly strong and someone who worked very hard to see that her daughters were well fed, clothed and educated. Life was tough for her but she persevered and overcame her obstacles.

Formal education

“From day one at school, I worked hard and did what was expected of me. My grandmother is my biggest inspiration in life. She is such an inspiration because she married when she was only 14 years old. She had no formal education but today she teaches French students and today she is an English Graduate. She had six children, and she raised all six girls by herself with a husband who was addicted to alcohol, although he was educated and financially well off. Do you understand the circumstances? I recall that she was very pretty. She saw that all her children were well educated and today they are in top positions in society,” said Mangalagama.

Sometimes what a child really needs is to meet a good man or woman. Those who have gone astray are those who have never had the opportunity to know any better. A candle never loses its light by lighting other candles. You need to be that light. One lesson that a young person needs to learn is that that man or woman can be you.

“Together we can make a difference in the world. Firstly I feel you need to be yourself. If we are good people, we can be the light to illuminate the path that others walk along. If there are people who are misleading others and themselves have a disposition that is harmful to others, then we can be an example to them. Eventually, there can be a positive difference in people. If people start to change, the world will start to change. One person’s lamp will light the whole world. So you need to be yourself and there can be a change,” pointed out Mangalagama.

Pure motivation

All religions teach love and compassion and do not advocate violence. These so-called ‘religious factions’ are purely motivated by man’s desires. Those great religious teachers of old never sought to separate and persecute.

“I am really against religious groups fighting each other and causing a lot of disharmonies. We need to respect all religions. This is absolutely unnecessary. Live and let live is what I feel. There are so many religious groups who are doing so much good by helping the poor. There are only those other groups that are causing all these problems. I think we should all be united as Sri Lankans. I feel that many Sri Lankans really want peace and harmony. They want a unified Sri Lanka. The other issue I feel strongly about is the process of education in Universities being interfered with. This could be because of picketing and politics. This is playing with the lives of students. These people do not think of the well- being of the students,” explained Mangalagama.

Education is a human right. Sometimes because of the circumstances you are in, people may not allow you to concentrate on your studies but you should not give up. Hope is a beautiful companion. You need to believe.

“I think when you are schooling you should devote your life to school and not get distracted by stuff outside of school life - like relationships or love affairs. Students should study and appreciate the sacrifices their parents make on their behalf. If you want to taste success you should listen to your parents, because your parents want what is best for you. You should put everything aside and get your priorities right. Always believe in yourself. You need to always be positive. Even if you are going through the worst circumstances do not be negative. Things may get in the way of your studies. Never give up and never lose hope. Believe that you can have a beautiful future ahead,” added Mangalagama.

Literary influence

She stated that she reads a lot of Danielle Steel. Two books she adores are Echoes and Legacy. Legacy is where a Red Indian girl comes to France, and marries a Duke. And she becomes a Duchess. It teaches you that if you work hard and believe in yourself you can taste success. Both books speak about the courage of not men but Women!

One of Mangalagama’s goals is to become an aeronautical engineer and start her own company – manufacturing Airplanes. Lastly, she pointed out that her school has done everything for her. She proudly declares that who she is today, is because of her school. She made special mention of the teachers who are here now and those who have left. At the beginning of her schooling like everyone, she had much to learn. However now over a lengthy period, she has been getting the best results in her class which she says is due to all the teachers who have been behind her and helped her build up her character. She was not known for her oratorical skills but now confidently gives announcements at school functions and now is completely at ease talking to people.

Head Boy of York International School Wattala, S. Shopikar feels that leadership was bestowed upon him by the school because those in power saw in him the makings of a leader. They saw that he was capable and most importantly had a positive attitude.

Shopikar, like Mangalagama, idolizes a grandparent. His grandfather’s is a story of rags to riches. His grandfather built his now thriving and successful business with very little to start with. He started out with virtually nothing.

“My grandfather is my biggest inspiration in life. He came to Colombo from Nuwara Eliya as a labourer. He carried heavy loads on his shoulders for long distances. He built his business through sheer hard work. Now he has more than four shops all around Colombo. Four are groceries. He is successful only because of his hard work. He was determined to give his family a better life so they would not have to go through what he went through,” explained Shopikar.

Humanity is simply an act of love, compassion and kindness done to someone else who may need our help. Humanity is something of true value that you hold in your heart. What are our values in life? What are your values in life? There is a quotation that evil thrives when good men do nothing.

“We have to recognize the fact that we are all human beings and we need to love and care for each other. It is how you see others and how you care for others. I simply believe that Peace is important. We need to choose peace. We cannot remain quiet,” pointed out Shopikar.

Boldness and passion is Shopikar’s key to success and that is also his message to those who want to become a leader in the future.

“I think it is all about being yourself. If you want to be a leader then you have to be prepared to lead boldly. You have to be like a rock – solid and a dependable. You have to love the work that your leadership entails. If you are not passionate about it then you cannot provide effective leadership. You have to be an example to your followers. Your background does not matter. If you are a leader then people will follow you. Keep calm and do not put yourself under stress. One lesson I have learnt through my reading is that you have to fight for what you want. You have to bring yourself to where you want to be,” explained Shopikar.

Shopikar’s ambition in life is to be a Navy Officer. But also the dream of being a music director has some sway over him. He states that he is interested in music because it has this power to transform a person’s mood from that of melancholy to exuberance. Music makes him calm and peaceful. He correctly recognizes that he needs to earn the respect of others along the way and go forward in life. However, at the same time, the position of a Navy Officer is very appealing to him. The Sea has this power over me says Shopikar! He also added that he is someone who likes to be in control. And to him, the idea of donning the prestigious uniform of a Navy officer is so wonderful! You cannot beat that feeling!

Life is simply not a set of trials. In life, you encounter various personalities. This makes life all the more exciting. Meeting new people is something he always finds interesting. Going to new places and new environments really make life worth living says Shopikar.

“I really need to thank my teachers. I must say that I was a bit of a mischievous student. However they understood that I had the capabilities and that I could handle responsibilities, and if my character was moulded well, I could be an inspiration to others. I especially want to thank my Deputy Principal Roshell Caldera. I would also like to thank my Principal Richmond Suraweera who is a fatherly figure at York International School Wattala. We all look up to him and in many ways, he is a role model to me,” said Shopikar. 

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