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'Sri Lanka day' toasts positive school exchange

Stockport school held a Sri Lanka day to celebrate the success of its exchange programme and wave a fond farewell to some new friends.

Castle Hill High School, in Brinnington, organised the event to say goodbye to teacher Ziana Natheer and her daughter Sara Nadah, who are both from the Asian island. Ziana, 39, and Sara, 10, are returning to Sri Lanka after spending two weeks visiting Stockport schools - the former also spent time at Offerton High and Peacefield Primary.

The trip was part of an exchange programme between Castle Hill and Zahira College in Matale, Sri Lanka.

The link was first established in August 2006 after the now retired headteacher Mike Marra visited Matale.

"The visit by Ziana gives the pupils an opportunity to experience another culture, Michelle Wilkes, from the school said.

"The curriculum in general is moving towards pupils appreciating the effects of globalisation and understanding that they are part of a massive multi-cultural society. "The pupils at Castle Hill are predominantly white and have little exposure to other cultures.

This has been an opportunity to experience other cultures at close hand," Wilkes said. The Sri Lanka day saw pupils learn about the country's culture. Activities included trying sarees on, cooking and sampling traditional food, and creating art work based on techniques used in Sri Lanka. "I have brought Sri Lankan ingredients and traditional recipes that we will use for the Sri Lanka day.

I hope that the students will benefit from this culture exchange," Ziana added. In October last year teachers from Castle Hill High School spent a week at Zahira College observing and teaching lessons.

Previously the school has donated 30 computers to its Sri Lankan counterparts.

###################################

Ode to My True friend

The day I met you
I found a friend -
And a friendship that
I pray will never end.

Your smile - so sweet
And so bright -
Kept me going
When day was as dark as night.

You never ever judged me,
You understood my sorrow.
Then you told me it needn't be that way
And gave me the hope of a better tomorrow.

You were always there for me,
I knew I could count on you.
You gave me advice and encouragement
Whenever I didn't know what to do.

You helped me learn to love myself
You made life seem so good.
You said I can do anything I put my mind to
And suddenly I knew I could.
There were times
when we didn't see eye to eye
And there were days
when both of us cried.
But even so we made it through:
Our friendship hasn't yet died.

Circumstances have pulled us apart,
We are separated by many miles.
Truly, the only thing that keeps me going
Is my treasured memory of your smile.

This friendship we share
Is so precious to me,
I hope it grows and flourishes
And lasts unto infinity.

You are so extra-special to me
And so this to you I really must tell:
You are my one true friend,
My Guardian Angel.

Our friendship is one-in-a-million
So let's hold on to it and each other.
We cannot let this chance of
pure bliss fly away
For there will never be another.

###############################################

Anjalie passes O/Ls with flying colours

She does not have a proper house or a home. Her house is thatched with old tin sheets and has two rooms. One as the bed room for five and other as the living room with two chairs and a teapoy.

Her mother is mentally retarded. Yet J.P. Shyanika Anjalie Jayalath of Bellankadawala Navodya School in Tambuttegama Educational Zone has obtained 10 'A' passes at the G.C.E. Ordinary Level examination last year.


Anjalie with her mother, elder sister and two younger brothers. Picture by Victor Marambage, Talawa group corr.

She had no facilities to go for private tuition. She used the school library for additional studies.

The family lives on meagre earnings of her father working as a daily labourer. She said this victory she won was due to her dedication and the worthy efforts of the school staff.

The Principal and the staff of Maha Bellankadawala Navodya Vidyalaya are full of praise of her achievement.

She does not have a table to place her books. Anjalie got through the Grade five scholarship examination and opted to study in the same school as there was no alternative.

Her elder sister has qualified for university entrance and hopes to do Law. To earn for higher education she temporarily works in a garment factory. The family lives in Kuda Bellankadawala in Malwanegama.

The two girls request assistance from philanthropists to continue their studies. Anjalie expects to do Bio-Science for her Advanced Level studies.

Her school does not have this facility.

These children may be assisted through the Principal Bellankadawala Navodya School, Malwanegama.

#####################################

My Little Brother

It was a stormy Saturday afternoon when my mother took my five-year-old brother, Christopher, and me to a new enormous toy store she had read about in the newspaper. "So many toys," the advertisement had shouted in full and flashy color, "that we had to get a huge warehouse to fit them all!"

Christopher and I couldn't have been more excited. We ran across the parking lot, through the cold and biting rain, as fast as our little legs could carry us. We left our mother outside to battle with the frustrating umbrella, which never worked when she wanted it to.

"Christine! I'm going to find the Lego section! There's a new pirate ship I want, and I have four dollars! Maybe I can buy it!" Christopher exclaimed and ran off excitedly. I only half heard him. I took a right turn and, to my wide-eyed delight, found myself in the midst of Barbie World.

I was studying a mini mink coat and doing some simple math in my head when suddenly an earthshaking clap of thunder roared from the storm outside. I jumped at the noise, dropping the accessory to the floor.

The warehouse lights flickered once and died, covering the stuffed animals, matchbox cars and board games in a blanket of black.

Thunder continued to shake the sky and whips of lightning illuminated the store for seconds at a time, casting frightening shadows that played tricks on my mind. Oh no, I thought, as my stomach twisted and turned inside of me. Where's Christopher?

I ran up and down the aisles through the darkness, panic filling my small chest and making it difficult to breathe.

I knocked into displays of candy and tripped over toys, all the while frantically calling my brother's name. I needed to know he was all right, but I could barely see.

Tears of frustration and fear trickled down my face, but I continued to run. I found Christopher in the Lego aisle. He was standing alone, perfectly still, clutching tightly to the pirate ship set. I threw my arms around him and hugged him until he couldn't breathe. Then, I took his hand in mine and we went to find our mother.

Years later, on a beautiful Tuesday morning, I was leaving my computer class on my way to sociology. As I drove, the radio filled my ears with horrendous news: A hijacked plane had crashed into the Pentagon and two other planes had crashed into the World Trade Center. Fires, destruction and chaos echoed across the east coast from Washington to New York City. My first thought was of Christopher.

My brother had joined the Air Force just a year earlier, and he was stationed in Washington. I had grown used to seeing him for a few days every five months or getting 2:00 a.m. telephone calls just to let me know he was alive and well.

But as the Towers collapsed and newscasters began to cry, I was overcome with the need to see Christopher, to hug him and make certain he was all right.

I pulled over to the nearest pay phone and frantically dialed my grandmother's number. Christopher would call her to let the family know what was happening. The operator asked me to hold; it seemed as if everyone in the nation was on the telephone, trying to get through to loved ones. I felt the familiar panic steal my breath as I waited for a connection. Finally, I heard my grandmother's voice.

"He's fine. He's okay. They might have to move him out. He might be called to help somewhere in some way, but he's fine, Christine. He called and told us he was fine."

I spoke with my grandmother for a few more minutes. Boston was evacuating its tallest buildings. Schools were closing. Some workers were being sent home. All airplanes were grounded. The sky was silent and crystal clear. As I hung up the phone, I began to cry from relief.

It was silly of me to worry about Christopher, I scolded myself. He was an adult. He stood 6'2" while I, his big sister, never hit 5'5". He could fit both of my hands into one of his.

Christopher could take care of himself.

But I realized at that moment that there is still a piece of my heart that will always run to try to protect him, no matter how big he may be or where in the world he is located.

That same piece will always remember the five-year-old boy standing in the dark toy store with the pirate ship clutched to his chest, saying, "I knew if I just waited here, Christine, you would find me."

Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul on Love and Friendship
 


Pradeep Champaka of Thihagoda, a member of the four member team of Scouts from Rahula College who went on an expedition to Mount Everest was felicitated at a ceremony at the Kamburupitiya Batuwita Vivekaramaya recently. Nation Building Minister Gunaratne Weerakoon who was the Chief Guest handing over a presentation to Pradeep as Former MP Ranjan Wijewardena looks on.
Picture by A.W. Gunawardena, Matara Central correspondent

 

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