It’s girls time to shine | Sunday Observer

It’s girls time to shine

Established 204 years ago, Newstead Girls College, Negombo is considered the oldest existing girls’ school in the country. These girls who are so proud of their school, have recently shown their prowess in the National Cadet Corps as well.

The Western Cadet Band at Newstead College was started in 1993. However, there had been an army cadet platoon which had been started before the band, but it had become defunct while the cadet band carried on with many difficulties.

Though the band became the All Island 1st runners up in 2007, they were not on the winning track until 2012. They reached the all island 2nd runners up position that year. Then they became all island winners for the first time in 2015. There was a slight drop in position in 2016 when they became the 1st runner up. However, they managed to clinch the trophy in 2017 and 2018.

The Principal, Mrs. Gayani Hearth was quite happy to talk about her girls. “We carry out cadeting work with many challenges. Getting girls to join the band is the key challenge because most of the parents think that this will affect their education. Therefore, it is a battle for us to recruit new students to the band. However, at the end parents, teachers, instructors and students all give of their best. So, I would call this a victory we have achieved beating all the odds,” she said.

Even though there are several bands in the school, the cadet band has taken prominence with its achievements in recent history. According to the Principal, people come for the Sports Meet of the College, mainly to see the cadet band in action.

“I think, a girl needs cadeting more than a boy. A cadet band is not about playing some music. There are many things they learn through training, including good discipline,” she said.

As she explained, hard work and dedication has taken their cadet band on a long journey. “Training, training and training is the only secret behind this success. Other than that, our band has received good guidance from our Deputy Principal, Yashodha Marasinghe,” she said.

“To have a complete school education, extracurricular activities are a must I believe. It makes a child, a competent person. If you look at students who are doing cadeting and playing soccer they have got 9As for their O/Ls” she said.

The college is now taking steps to reinstate its army platoon and it is a another challenge it is trying hard to overcome.

“This is the oldest girls’ western band in the Gampaha District and the only western cadet band in the Negombo region”, said Second Lieutenant Bhagya Egodagedara,who was the cadet officer of the college for five years since 2011 and now serves the college as its Physical Education teacher.

“The tsunami affected us very badly. The flutes and most of the other musical instruments were destroyed. But then, we developed little by little through everyone’s support” said Bhagya.

She said that the arrival of a few good instructors including, Nishantha Akmeemana, Padmendra Ranaweera, Nimalkantha Fernando and Major W.M.S. Senevirathne has created a winning combination for the college.

“Our Principal has allocated us some funds every year. This backing from the school administration has boosted the performance of our girls. Other than that, parents and old girls support them too,” Bhagya said.

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