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Sunday, 16 October 2011

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Win first prize at US competition:

Nalanda students do Sri Lanka proud

Four high school students who attend Nalanda College in Colombo, Sri Lanka, were honoured at a reception at the residence of Sri Lankan Ambassador Jaliya Wickramasuriya last week after they received the first prize in an international competition sponsored by Oracle, the giant American computer company.

"This is quite an achievement, and I wish to personally congratulate each of you for your hard work and your accomplishments as individuals and as a group," Ambassador Wickramasuriya told the students and Nalanda College alumni who live in the United States.

"It goes without saying that you have made both Sri Lanka and Nalanda College very proud."

The students, Isuru Kusumal Rajapakse, Sakuntha Devaka Gunarathna, Umesh Prabushitha Jayasingha, Viraj Madusanka Kodithuwakku were accompanied by their coach, Upali Jayantha Karawita.

The ThinkQuest Competition, sponsored by the Oracle Education Foundation, "engages students to solve a problem using their technology, critical thinking, and communication skills," according to the Foundation.

The Nalanda students' project, entitled "Hope," developed an educational game to rebuild a village following a war. Participants must earn money by farming and mining to repair damaged public facilities.

The four Nalanda students were one of 27 winning teams that were selected from among 7,603 teams. Countries represented by winners also included China, Great Britain, Greece, India, Indonesia, Maldives, Moldova, Pakistan, Puerto Rico, Romania, Singapore, South Africa, Taiwan and the United States.

Winners are flown to Oracle's San Francisco headquarters at the company's expense and awarded laptop computers.

The reception was attended by a number of Old Nalandians in the United States, as well as by members of the Sri Lankan community.The students' work, Ambassador Wickramasuriya said, "Is just one example among many in Sri Lanka. I am happy that you have made it possible for Americans to see just how talented people from Sri Lanka truly are."

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