‘Embrace constructive criticism’ | Daily News

‘Embrace constructive criticism’

Nalanda College, Colombo 10

Suspicions of destiny they call it. We all have them. For some young student leaders’ the position of Head Prefect is when they begin to realize with surety that something special is in store for them. Perfect Prefects features Head Boy of Nalanda College, Colombo 10, Anuda Jithwara, who says the greatest lessons are learnt when you are at the helm. Robert Kennedy, an American politician and lawyer once said – ‘The sharpest criticism often goes hand in hand with the deepest idealism and love of country.’ These are the impassioned activists any country needs. Those who see the direction their country is taking and stand up for what is right when they see injustices committed in the world around them. This kind of criticism is essential if you love your country and your fellow human beings. “What I want to see is criticism aimed at making a person a better person. Criticism that is constructive and ahaving someone’s best interests at heart, not criticism aimed at destroying someone’s reputation. That is not ethical. When you criticize someone, that person and society should benefit from it. That should be your aim” pointed out Jithwara.

Head Boy Anuda Jithwara

As of Jan 2019, the world’s 26 richest people own the same wealth as the poorest half of humanity, according to Oxfam International. Billionaires around the world, who have almost doubled in number since the 2008 global financial crisis, saw their combined fortunes grow by $2.5bn a day, while the 3.8 billion people at the bottom of the scale saw their wealth decline by 11 percent in 2018. “There are so many people in the world that are helpless. This is very upsetting to me. In Sri Lanka and in other parts of the world there is a disparity between the rich and the poor. There are so many obstacles in this world for self –advancement, simply because there is a lack of equal opportunity. So we need to narrow the gap and even close the gap. This is something that I feel very strongly about,” explained Jithwara.

Education is only a partial cure for poverty. Education is one way that the gap can be narrowed. If every child receives a good education which will give him/her the knowledge, skills and ink on paper, he/she can be independent. He/she will not need to depend on anyone in life. He will be able to live life on his/her own terms.

At the Big Match 

People have so many dreams. And making those dreams a reality is something most of us desperately want. But there really is only one way to achieve your dreams and that is putting in the hard work. Without hard work a dream is just a dream - something that is within reach but you never quite reach it because you haven’t put in the hard work. And most often the reason is that you have given up. This is something Jithwara realized when he started his journey as a student. He had the support of his family, but it was not family connections that paved the way. And it certainly wasn’t easy. He had to balance his duties, projects, his sports activities and his studies. The job of being a Head Prefect is never easy for anyone says Jithwara. There is that satisfaction and pride but you have to keep on putting in the hard work. When you are at the helm, people expect so much from you. For a young leader it is a baptism of fire.

“I have with me four Deputy Head Prefects and I also have the support of the Master in Charge. He is always there to assist and support us. He is there to teach us but he is also there to help us. When it comes to solving problems my Deputy Heads are there to make sure that I do not have to face challenges alone. For this I am grateful,” said Jithwara.

For Jithwara it was a process of achieving his dreams one by one. He gradually rose through the ranks taking part in the Battle of the Maroons. His biggest dream is becoming a lawyer like his father. His father is certainly his role model and he aspires to be just like his father. His father is someone who enjoys life and though he faces problems like any other man, he never lets those problems disturb the peace at home. Their home is a sanctuary. The life of a lawyer is one where he/she cannot prevent problems encroaching. But Jithwara’s father does not let those problems interfere with his family life.

As mentioned before Jithwara is a cricketer who has played in the big match against Ananda College and that is the highest honor any Nalandian can receive. Through cricket he has learnt the importance of unity, working as a team and also how to solve a problem that arises. By playing cricket you invariably learn how to handle pressure. You also learn interpersonal skills. You also learn to accept defeat gracefully. No school likes losing and when your team loses you need to be tactful.

“I am indebted to my school. It has given me everything. Nalanda has a long and proud history of serving Sri Lanka and educating young men. It was love at first sight when I came to Nalanda. Somehow I knew that this was the school for me. From then onwards I have been living the dream. My message to a young student is aspire to be a Head Prefect because you learn so much. And to learn so much at such a young age will definitely help you reach for greater heights when you leave the portals of your school as a student for the last time. You can develop insights and meet and deal with all kinds of individuals. I said before that as a cricketer you learn interpersonal skills. This is one aspect of life that you also learn as a Head Prefect. And once you become a Head Prefect you will continue to lead the student population until the end of your term,” explained Jithwara.

He has learnt core values at Nalanda such as respecting your elders and showing the proper respect for all human beings. Lastly he wished to thank his Principal, teachers, fellow prefects, family and friends for supporting him.

With his fellow prefects
With Nalandian cricketers
Celebrating with his team mates. Pictures by Dushmantha Mayadunne