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St. John Paul II English Medium College, Wennappuwa

The finest metal is created by using fire. And in a similar way Head Boy Avindu Rasanjana and Head Girl Sewmini Thamel of St. John Paul II English Medium College, Wennappuwa Chilaw Diocese too have been refined. Perfect Prefects features the duo, moulded to be well- rounded.

Head Boy Avindu Rasanjana has a favourite saying which is - The fire is a good servant but don’t let it be your master. The fire is used to create metal yet the metal is not your master. The wielder of the sword is his own master.

“During my leisure, I usually prefer watching movies mainly Marvel and DC movies. It provides thrilling entertainment and the aspect of the mystery is also appealing to me. I am able to pick up leadership qualities which help me in my day to day life. For example in Marvel Avengers Endgame released in 2019, all the superheroes assemble and defeat Thanos the villain of the movie as one family. The moral of the story is –‘If all of us are united then we will be victorious’. Furthermore, I usually read a variety of books for the purpose of collecting news, entertainment and developing my vocabulary,” explained Rasanjana.

Practise what you preach

Rasanjana feels that being well-disciplined, truthful, cooperating with others and treating them with respect are some of the main reasons why he is successful as a Head Prefect. He stated that when some people come under pressure, without facing the challenge they try and escape through frustration. What he does is consult an adult and receive advice. He is not alone. He also delegates duties to the rest of the prefects that takes the pressure off him.

"A leader is a person who is never satisfied with even his own work and always looks to achieve more. The biggest inspiration in my life is my mother. She inspires me with her great personality. She has been with me during tough times as well as good times. She also is a person who never gives up. She faces everything with great courage,"

He believes in practising what you preach. He understands that in society you meet different personalities who behave in different ways. We cannot change the way society functions just by giving advice. We need to lead by example. He firmly believes that leading by example can create a difference in society. Youngsters are the future of the society we live in and Rasanjana wants to lead them.

“When I look at the world, there are many issues which make me passionate. Issues that make me want to make a change. I am greatly saddened by the conflict and animosity between certain religious groups. I think a leader should appear on the scene who can pacify these groups.

Another major issue that concerns me is drug addiction. I am very disconcerted by the fact that people fall under this addiction, and it is not only drugs, but they have come under other vices as well. So, when youth become addicted it is the future of the country that is at stake here. The future of the world is at stake. I am passionate about making a difference,” added Rasanjana.

True leader

His message to the youth is to be honest and upright. It is important to know how to work with others. Try and be flexible he says. People need to love a leader if he or she is destined to be the true leader that the world needs.

“You need to understand that society is changing fast. You need to keep abreast with what is happening. If you can do this then you can serve your country as a good citizen. One who is disciplined and educated,” said Rasanjana.

One leader he respects is the former President of the United States Barack Obama who he considers a great personality. He states that Obama’s abilities are effective communication, being goal-oriented, ability to stay calm under pressure, sensitivity to foreign cultures, a positive attitude and the ability to motivate others.

“A leader is a person who is never satisfied with even his own work and always looks to achieve more. The biggest inspiration in my life is my mother. She inspires me with her great personality. She has been with me during tough times as well as good times. She also is a person who never gives up. She faces everything with great courage,” said Rasanjana.

His school means a lot to him. It is a catholic school that has given him many opportunities that have enabled him to become the leader he is today. It has inculcated virtue in all of the students.

Stepping stone to success

Head Girl Sewmini Thamel feels that success cannot be achieved without failure. Failure is the stepping stone to success says Thamel. She believes that learning from her failures, having a positive attitude and being committed to her task is her secret to success.

“I usually set up a specific goal for myself and then I plan my day. I try to stick to a routine as planned. In addition, my parents and teachers unconditionally support me. This helps me to handle pressure,” said Thamel.

Change in society first starts with a change in the individual. Doing the right thing in life is very important to Thamel. There may be barriers and difficulties yet she is determined to do the right thing because she knows that it can be a powerful influence on those who see her. If we can all do this then that can create change in society.

“Today any society in any part of the world has high competition. There is pressure to achieve. People are driven by wealth, power and social status. This intense competition has made the world an inhumane place. I believe that one day if we are all united we can make the world a more humane place. A world with peace and harmony. I would love to play my part in all of this,” explained Thamel. Thamel points out that most people say that being a leader is not easy and that everyone cannot be a leader. However, she feels differently. She points out that everyone has the potential to become a leader. All they need to do is trying and instil certain qualities in themselves such as self-control, courage, compassion, accountability and most importantly- integrity,” added Thamel.

“My goal is to pass my A/Ls with flying colours and to enter a university for my higher studies. After completing my studies, I hope to work as a qualified lecturer. I also think teaching is a noble profession and one of the best ways to give back to society. I enjoy dancing, playing badminton and compering. I also enjoy reading mystery novels. From the very beginning to the very end it keeps me on my toes. It also presents the reader with a sort of intellectual challenge where it allows the reader to play the detective. I think by reading, we are able to perceive the world in different ways. It helps us get an idea of how people live,” pointed out Thamel.

Thamel looks at Mahatma Gandhi and Abraham Lincoln as two great leaders. In the world we live in she points out that there are different types of people. But we all have the same aspirations and desires. We need to be open-minded and be ready to adapt to change.

“They followed a different path than others and took risks and passionately chased after what they wanted and changed the world for the better and even centuries after, they still continue to inspire people. Angela Merkel is the most powerful woman in the world right now. She inspires me because she proves that all that we need is self-control, confidence and intelligence when mapping your path to success. The biggest inspiration in my life is my parents. They are my pillars of strength. They provide me with guidance and give me the courage to face all the obstacles in my life. Where I am today is because of them. Last but not least - my school has guided and moulded me academically, physically and also spiritually. It has not only helped me in my academics but also equipped me with the skills necessary to face the world. Skills such as teamwork, dealing with different personalities, learning to accept victory and also defeat and so on. My school provides all of us with ample opportunities to grow as individuals helping us understand our capabilities and weaknesses. My school has played a vital role in turning me into the person I am now,” explained Thamel. 

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