Shining Stars | Sunday Observer

Shining Stars

Photograph by Chinthaka Kumarasinghe / Ishan & Hiruni, A/L’s bright sparks
Photograph by Chinthaka Kumarasinghe / Ishan & Hiruni, A/L’s bright sparks

In the early years battles were fought with swords and shields. Today, battles are fought with knowledge and degrees. It doesn’t matter whether you want to become a lawyer, doctor, astronaut, engineer, dancer or CEO. What matters is that by passing the relevant exams, you prove that you have the ability and talent to become what you want to be. So give yourself a big pat on the back for empowering yourself.

Many students island-wide have done well in all streams at the GCE Advanced Level Examination 2017. The examination conducted by the Ministry of Education, is very competitive. The qualification is the entrance requirement for Sri Lankan state universities. Young Voice, had the opportunity to talk to two of the young students who hit the mark by being placed first in their streams.

Hiruni Abeytunge

Ishan Shaluka Ramanayake from Ananda College, Colombo was placed first in the district in the Bio Stream and third all island.

With a shy smile Ishan talked about himself, “I am the eldest in my family and I have one younger brother. I’m from Henegama, and my primary education was at Parakkrama Maha Vidyalaya, Bandarawaththa, Gampaha. With hard work and dedication I was able to pass my grade 5 scholarship exam with 150 marks to enter Ananda College, Colombo. I was thrilled at the idea of going to such a prestigious school.

“Studying for my Ordinary Level Examination in 2014 was a challenge. Even though I got 9As it was not my best, I guess (smirking). I was placed 19th in the school and I don’t think I was that happy about it. I got high marks for mathematics. Yet for my A/L’s, I wanted to do Bio. My dream from childhood is to become a doctor. So Biology was my choice. During my first year of study for A/L’s, I did not work that hard. It was after the start of the second year that I put my heart into it. I’m not an early riser. I study till late in the night. Planning my day with school and activities plus making a self study timetable has always helped when it comes to crunch time.

“Positive thinking is another aspect for my success,” adds young Ishan.

“Dreaming big and visualizing where I’m gonna be has helped me tremendously. It’s with this attitude that I have achieved my present goal. The next step is to become a cardiologist.

I have many other dreams but I will not tell them to anyone just now, instead I will speak of them one day, may be to the whole world, after I have achieved my targets. But I am glad or to better put it, over joyed at my present achievements in coming first in the district and third in the Biology stream,” he said.

He added that he did not allocate much time for extra-curricular activities. “I was a member of the school broadcasting unit during my first year of A/L’s. I had to give it up because I needed to study. My dream was to achieve an island rank, so I worked hard. Also you won’t believe it, I wrote my results sheets during studies,” he said, smiling happily.

Ishan is a realist. His beliefs are not based on religion. He believes that hard work and determination will get you to your goal and not just luck. “I love my school very much and I am happy that I could make my school standout once again. I achieved this through the support of my family, especially my parents and my good buddies in school plus my very supportive teachers who were very dedicated in my cause.” he said.

“My ambition is to be a great cardiologist. I am trying to get a scholarship to do my higher studies in America, Australia or England. I want to complete my degree abroad as I want to finish it quickly. Once I complete my studies, I want to give back to my country. In my journey of success many people have helped me, my parents, who are my rock. My school Principal, S.M. Keerthirathna, and my class teacher, Hemali Pitigalaarachchi.

Ishan Ramanayake

“My message to youngsters is that if you want to achieve something, you have to think big, think positively, plan your future and work hard and smart to get it. If you want 10 marks, try to get 15. We must make our plans, dream of it and always remember it before and after our studies,” said Ishan.

Another winner in this year’s A/L’s is Hiruni Shakya Abeytunge from Devi Balika Vidyalaya, Colombo who was placed first in the island and district in the Common Stream. She believes that concentration and interest in the subjects are essential to achieve good results. “My father Samantha Abeytunge is a music teacher and my mother Nirmala Abeytunge is a montessori teacher. I have a younger sister who is doing her Ordinary Level exams this year. My primary years were at Ananda Balika Vidyalaya, Kotte. After my Grade five scholarship exam, I entered Ananda Balika Vidyalaya, Colombo. After passing my Ordinary Levels, I got entrance to Devi Balika Vidyalaya, Colombo,” she said.

Hiruni says that she chose the Common Stream as she liked Mathematics and ICT. “Concentration and interest in the subjects you do is essential to achieve good results. I did lots of past papers from 1996 – 2016. I repeatedly did the same paper. I revised all what I did and balanced all three subjects. Becoming the island’s first is my greatest achievement. When I saw my results online, I could not believe it. I am proud of my achievement as I was able to bring pride to my school and family,” she said.

“My advice to youngsters is that you have to do your best with passion in the subjects you choose. My ambition is to do something special in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Robotics. My dream is to become a Robotic engineer.

I also have a great passion for music. I play the trumpet. So I add to my bucket list that I want to be the best trumpeter, may be in the whole world. It’s another dream of mine which I hope will come to pass,” she says with a generous smile.

“My strength and support have been my wonderful parents and teachers who constantly motivated me. Also my school principal who encouraged me all the time. If not for them I could not have achieved this today,” she said.

Hiruni has been balancing both extra-curricular activities and studies quite well. “I did swimming at school and I have achieved all island awards. I was a member of the school Water Ballet Team and Western Band Team at Ananda Balika Vidyalaya, Colombo. I play instruments such as piano, guitar and trumpet during my leisure time.

I’ve held a leadership role in the school ICT society. I am currently a member of the National Youth Orchestra and Symphony Orchestra of Sri Lanka,” she proudly says.