At Ladies’ College we believe it is important to nurture the holistic child, and prior to diving into the Advanced Level and BTEC curriculum, our Grade 12 students were given a 10-day Orientation programme to help broaden their vision and enhance their perspectives before starting their AL curricular.
We were blessed to have 10 former students of Ladies’ College share their stories during this programme.
Prof. Nilanthi De Silva, the vice chancellor of the Kelaniya University is an expert advisor on Neglected Tropical Diseases to the World Health Organization. She obtained a doctor of Medicine degree, specializing in Medical Parasitology, from the Colombo University’s Postgraduate Institute of Medicine. She challenged the students to think out of the box when pursuing a career in science. Her insight and own struggles of discovery were educational and inspiring.
Dr. Noeline Prins, a senior lecturer of the Ruhuna University, obtained her Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Miami, FL, USA and her B.Sc. Eng. (Hons) in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Moratuwa. She is a trained engineer and scientist in multi-disciplinary work. She has authored several publications in engineering and neuroscience journals and as she spoke with the students, Dr Noeline shared about her experience as an Engineer who operated! It was insightful, thought provoking and interesting.
Ms. Lakmini Wijesudara, Co-founder and CEO of IronOne Technologies and BoardPAC, shared her experience of leading global competitive expansion in enterprise solutions. Having started in the engineering discipline and winning many accolades including the SAARC Woman Entrepreneur of the year 2019, Stevie International Business Awards (where she won four of the key awards in leadership and innovation), and Woman Leadership Award at Asia’s IT Excellence Awards, she was able to aspire our technology and IT enthusiasts on how they can carve their own place in the IT world.
Ms. Randima Attygalle, an award-winning senior journalist, Attorney-at-Law, communication strategist and a trainer of language, communication skills and media studies helped our students understand the field of journalism. Her session was educational, engaging and interactive and we were blessed to have her speak to us in person. Moreover, the girls were able to learn about the nitty gritty’s, personal ethics and challenges a journalist would face in our country.
Ms. Nilanthi Sivapragasam, the Chief Financial Officer of Aitken Spence PLC and Fellow Member of both Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants of UK shared her journey in the corporate sector with our students. The difficulties she faced as she journeyed upward along with best practices on the role were very educational and beneficial. For a student who hopes to join the corporate world, this session could possibly be likened to a masterclass that would be very helpful in the years to come.
For our environmental conservatives and outdoor enthusiasts, Ms Anya Ratnayake’s session on her journey to becoming a wildlife biologist was inspiring and challenging. Ms. Ratnayake took time to share about how as a student, learning was tough yet as she found her passion, she found her journey and no matter how difficult it has been, today she is passionately working towards the conservation of small wild cats. A graduate in Wildlife and Conservation Management from the University of Queensland, Australia Ms. Ratnayake won the Wildlife Conservation Network (WCN) Scholar for 2017, and has a strong interest in Sri Lankan wildlife and in particular small wild cat conservation.
Ms. Lakmini Lenagala, the Managing Director of Ramani Fernando Training (Pvt) Ltd., spoke on how she pursued her dreams, despite hailing from a family of science professionals and became one of Sri Lanka’s first award winners of the Licentiateship Award from City & Guilds in the field of Hair dressing. A Specialist Advanced Diploma holder in Teaching Training and Assessing, she has won the Prestigious City & Guilds Medal of Excellence in Hairdressing in the lecturer category. The students engaged with her and questioned her in detail as she shared from her life and learnings.
Our school manager and a professional banker recognized in Sri Lanka for her years of contribution to the local banking sector, Ms. Leonie Seneviratne educated our students on Corporate Banking and shared her knowledge and expertise in detail. The girls were given the opportunity to understand how Banking in the Business world works and best practices and ethics one has to maintain if you want to earn a good reputation and be recognized as a professional in this field.
Dr. Natasha Balendra holds a LLB from Kings College London, an MPhil in Criminology from the University of Cambridge, an LLM from Harvard Law School, and a DPhil from the Oxford University. She is an Attorney at Law of Sri Lanka and New York, and a Barrister at Law of Lincolns Inn, United Kingdom. She surprised the students by enabling them to debate and defend their case on why Aunt Petunia’s treatment on Harry was justifiable with Dame Fiona Shaw!!! Needless to say, the students were thrilled and the session was interesting, thought provoking and entertaining!
Students who wish to take up interior design were given the privilege of speaking with Ms. Ashani Goonewardene who is an Interior Designer and the Proprietor of ON Design, an Interior Design Consultancy firm. Having graduated from the University of Northumbria, UK Ms. Goonewardene spoke and shared pictures from the different Architectural Projects she has worked on and the challenges that a student has to be ready to face when choosing this career.
The students were also able to listen to teachers talk about the different streams and possible career pathways they could pursue after completing their ALs. The students were also given insight into the school university application platform, Cialfo and the career guidance intranet available to them.
Mr. Ravindanath Refuge from FitFuge conducted a 1 hour fitness and character development programme over four days and the students were challenged to pursue Integrity, Excellence, Perseverance and Humility as they strive to foster good fitness practice in their everyday living.
Ladies’ College also introduced the students to the Duke of Edingburgh programme and gave the ability to sign up for the Bronze level programme, scheduled to start in August 2022. The staff from the National Youth Council from the Ministry of Sports hosted this session and the students were able to hear more about how they can work towards becoming a Gold medalist of this internationally acclaimed programme.
Due to the sudden closure of schools, the programme went online and the University field trips and exhibition was transferred online. We are grateful to the Colombo University, Law faculty, Prospects Academy of Higher Education, UCL University, University of Technology Sydney (UTS), Nawaloka School of Higher Education, APIIT, British Council and WIZM who carried out online programmes for the students.
Student Feedback on the Orientation Programme