Hikes and Football in Hanthana

From the View to the Leeches and Everything in Between

Around a month ago on April the 15th, I got the privilege of being able to travel with my family and a few friends to a region in Sri Lanka called named Hanthana (which by the way, for any film buffs out there, is where Indiana Jones the Temple of Doom was filmed!)

We set out on a rather long journey of about 5 hours (which arguably felt longer due to the migraine inducing effects of holiday traffic) from Colombo to the hillside where our villa resided. It was rather rainy by the time we got there so we immediately assumed the worst and thought we wouldn’t be allowed to go on our much awaited hike the next day. However, much to our excitement the staff at the villa said it wouldn’t be a problem.

The next morning we woke up at around 6 am and put on our gear, which for me was lacking an element because I had forgotten to pack my leech socks (yikes) and ate a very light breakfast of about 2 scones and left on our way. This was going to be the first proper hike that I had ever been on, given that the one that I talked about in my earlier post about in Hatton didn’t technically count because there wasn’t much of an ascent and since it was on practically paved ground.

As we moved towards the starting point I made sure to stick next to the guide all the way up at the front because the last thing I wanted was to be behind around 10 kids and 5 adults trying to slowly amble their way up a mountain and also… because we had a dog climbing Hanthana’s third peak with us, and no, I am not exaggerating when I say he really climbed to the very top of the mountain with unbelievable ease – Bantu the dog was always 5 steps ahead of everyone else.

It was rather tricky from the get go, in fact it was a lot steeper than we expected it to be and the footpath, well… there wasn’t one, which meant that it was a lot of loose rocks, barely there hand holds and the constant fear of slipping. On top of that our littlest hiker, Evan,  (you’re probably familiar with him being one of kids I coach football with)  was all the way at the front with the guide and he tripped a few too many times in a way that  that took the guide out and nearly took me out as well! However, thankfully, it was pretty uneventful except for a few incidents along the way where someone couldn’t adjust to the altitude and naturally the occasional scream of “LEECH! I HAVE A LEECH!!” which was quickly taken care of.  Much to my relief I never ended up with a single leech on me despite the complete absence of leech socks.

Physically it was quite strenuous because of how far up you had to reach and how much balance you needed to have, but in hindsight I felt as though overcoming the mental hurdles of climbing up a mountain unassisted was a much greater challenge. Needless to say about halfway to the peak we came across a gorgeous plateau which literally looked like something out of a dream. It was covered in reeds and cocooned by pine trees and overlooking the edge we were just above the clouds, it was genuinely a breathtaking sight.

Soon after taking a short break and climbing what felt like the narrowest part of the mountain we reached the peak, but there was another smaller boulder on top which the braver ones of us climbed. It was an amazing view and I was able to snap up some amazing pictures. All the while I was ignoring the dull ache in my legs and the fact that I was panting and out of breath; the view was simply too good to be true, it was one that was worth it all.

The climb down was a whole other fiasco if you will. Evan kept tripping up sending both himself and the guide down on multiple occasions, and somewhere on our way down I stepped on a rock as foothold which came completely loose and I nearly ended up falling off the mountain if not for the guide who grabbed me (he had Spiderman like reflexes there is no there is no other explanation for how he literally jumped about a meter to get me because he was tending to Evan earlier). It was slightly odd considering how unfazed I was I just stood up and kept walking without anything more than a few cuts and scrapes. I am eternally grateful however that nothing happened, but hey, no pain no gain right?

Regardless of all the ups and downs I had a lot of fun, conquered a new experience and overcame a few fears, while also getting some physically intensive activity in which all in all, I would call a successful outing. Even more so, it was a much needed break from the screen to  embrace nature, get some fresh air and enjoy the real world and even got to coach a few more children than I usually would before the lockdown was officially imposed afterwards! Majority of the other kids that came to Hanthana were my brother’s age meant that we had a massive open space to play in and that they were younger and willing to be coached aside for the worry that they were going to get bitten by a leach that is. Once the hard part of convincing them to come outside to play for a small while was done, I taught them correct passing techniques and other technicalities like throw ins, headers and corner kicks and finally ended our session with a small scrimmage and an opportunity for them to score at the goal, helping them boost their shooting confidence and accuracy.  At some point I even decided to play along too which was great because I had been impatiently waiting for an opportunity to get back on the field again for months on end and although it didn’t feel the same as playing competitively with my team, it was a nice game for a good laugh and some rewinding in my downtime, and I am happy to say that the kids came away with more knowledge about the game than what they started with!


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coaching

My Return to Coaching 

As a part of one of my CAS experiences that applies to both service and activity, I decided to take on the challenge of becoming a co-coach of Decathlon’s La Academia on a voluntary basis. I had about 2-3 months of total work experience, where I coached kids aged 5-11 each Sunday before COVID forced the club to shut down due to health precautions. Precautions which are still applicable as of now, especially considering that these kids are rather young and since the club can’t really afford to take any liability for the spread of the pandemic. So in the absence of my half internship half part time job, I decided that I could find other alternatives to do the same but in a different context.

After hearing about my time as co-coach, I was approached by a few of my parents’ friends who were wondering if I could spend one on one time coaching their kids. This was a brilliant opportunity for me to both practice my ability to coach and to share some of my experience so I immediately said yes.  Now, naturally there would be no pay involved, but I would take any excuse to play the game and even teach some kids a few things about something that was so important to me growing up so there really is no loss in taking it up. So starting last Sunday, I began leading my own sessions, I have 4 kids who come for training as of right now, mostly 7 and 8 year old’s from the OSC community itself  along with another kid who is a neighbor  (we don’t have a field to play in as of now which I am not too worried about since we currently play in one of my mom’s friends backyard’s with two goal posts as well).

Although the initiative may seem small in numbers right now, I think that it couldn’t really be more ideal. For one thing, I have known most of these kids since they were little so engaging with them is much easier, on a second note I’m a single coach whereas at Decathlon there were two others so I prefer keeping it low in terms of numbers as it’s easier to manage especially since they’re at a very talkative and mischievous stage, and lastly, like I said earlier, there is very much a pandemic raging on right now so it’s safest to keep the numbers small.

From first day experience I can only describe is a both fun and draining. The kids that I got introduced to are quite energetic (that might be a little bit of an understatement) so retaining their attention for extended periods of time has been by far the trickiest part of coaching, but thankfully with my earlier experiences I now know how to deal with that.

I began their sessions with a few laps around the garden, some basic stretches and warmups and passing drills. Next I put aside cones for them to dribble around, and we spent a good amount of time making sure they knew where to pass from and how to keep control of the football. Next we practiced some heading since I knew it was important to alternate my drills between educational and somewhat fun to keep their interests. Towards the last 30 minutes of my two hour session with them I decided to let them play 2 v 2, even playing the role of goalie when none of them wanted to be in goal. It was also important to give them little tips here and there to communicate, not clutter around and pass the ball and judging by their laughs they were having as much a blast as  I was watching them race to take shots. I have to say that  I was pleasantly surprised by how good they played for their age level. Just before they headed off I decided to incorporate one last fun piece, which was to try and teach them each a skill move before they went home; last week it was the nutmeg which they absolutely loved, but they played rock paper scissors to decide who got to pick the next skill they wanted to learn.

Overall, it was incredibly rewarding and I really look forward to doing it again in the coming weeks  :))

^ Evan practicing his ball control on day 1 of practice

Overlay Effect Practice

Continued Experimentation on VideoPad and Filmora 9 Pro

Hey, here’s an update on what I’ve been up to in my process of learning how to edit using Filmora 9 Pro and VideoPad for my video edit account.

General Update

The last few months have been a bit hectic in the editing scene, especially in terms of how much free time and inspiration I had which honestly wasn’t too much. On top of that Instagram introduced a new algorithm which limit’s an editor’s reach, for example, likes no longer matter and for more people to see your posts, more people have to save and share them. This can obviously be a bit disheartening considering that we put hours of our time into making videos that get under 500 views, which explains why my archives have more content than my actual feed, since how much your edit succeeds is pretty random. On the brighter side however, there have also been certain positive outcomes! For example, I just hit 1,266 followers and I had a video of mine pass 4k views! And as the icing on the cake… I got recognized by 3 players, two of who I look up to immensely and my favorite club, Manchester United WFC!!!

The players were Manchester United and the Spanish National team’s Ona Batlle, the USWNT and Arsenal veteran Heather O’Reilly and Sky Blue FC’s  Paige Monaghan. In all honesty, I didn’t know much about Monaghan  since  I didn’t keep up with the NWSL anymore, but I do hugely look up to Ona and Heather. While Ona is  one of the most skilled defenders in the league with amazing achievements in both in the FA and international games, Heather O’Reilly is one of my all time favorite veteran USWNT players who also played with Arsenal till her retirement in 2016. Which… come to think of it means she also shared the pitch with some of women’s soccer’s most iconic names like Abby Wambach and Shannon Boxx. Either way, she has somewhat of a legendary status in women’s football so I certainly found myself a bit stars truck that she knew my name.

 

Editing Practice

And now for the actual editing…

While I usually prefer to use only one software since it conserves a lot of time, I also know that using both to create an edit creates a much more sophisticated looking end product. I may have a decent following on my edit as of right now, but I am physically a long way away from the kind of editor I aspire to be. This takes days and days of practice especially when it comes to learning new transitions, overlays, effects and colorings etc. in order to produce smooth and creative posts. While in my previous blogs I looked at coloring and the velocity features, these past few months I have been trying to improve my use of the overlay effects.

Usually, any editing software has certain premade features which can be added on top of your regular timeline to create additional effect such as glow or grain, or even in Filmora’s case, certain color gradients.

So what would happen is that I would crop and add transitions to my regular video, but then drag in a gradient overlay say, for example the red one. I would then go to the tab called composting, choose a blending mode, such as lighten and then adjust the opacity in a way that you could still see the video beneath it, only now it would be tinted red. This way I could add multiple tints to my videos so that the coloring could change on beat, which gives a cool effect.

As a an experimentation edit (which I later ended up posting), I made video of the 2019 world cup. I had previously made the sequence on VideoPad and added the old film and glow effect to give it a signature black and white film look and used velocity to slow down and speed down certain parts that focus on skill moves. After exporting my clips, I then opened Filmora, changed the aspect ratio and began adding my overlays. At first I added the chromatic abrasion feature which separates the color spectrum and does so on beat,  that can only be used in small amounts. As for the color gradients, I then proceeded to add blue red and white blank overlays, I chose darken as the blending mode and reduced the opacity.

Here are some screenshot of the final outcomes – (white didn’t make that much of a difference since that was the edit’s original color anyways):

Final edit snapshots:

Link to edit (you might want to watch this in HD and in the picture in picture setting) : 

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1zSuP10RYkFFegy0_sNqcGWkaH4cNI4nH/view?usp=sharing

 

Easing Into Normalcy – Sports Edition

SURFING IN WELIGAMA + BADMINTON TRAINING + BIKING

During the past 2 lockdowns, I have had limited access to resources that enable me to do two things I love to do; to travel and to be active. Unfortunately as a result of the pandemic many people including myself were limited to the confines of our houses with travel restrictions, lack of access to sporting facilities and training opportunities etc. As someone who likes to be kept on their feet all the time, the withdrawal of playing my favorite sports or even not being able to travel hasn’t exactly been my definition of smooth sailing; but thankfully, the provision of vaccinations has made it possible for me to slowly ease my way back into most of my favorite activities.

BADMINTON TRAINING

As I mentioned in my earlier blog post, football restarted and as did badminton only this week. This was exciting primarily because it’s been a while since I was allowed to go back into the courts since we trained in closed spaces with fairly large numbers.

A few things have changed however, in regards to how our sessions operate, though I can’t complain because it’s all being done in an effort to prioritize our health. For example, as opposed to group classes with a large number of students, my brother and I were given the option of private lessons, that is till it becomes safe for more people to be in close proximity again. Although the downside is that I won’t be able to compete at the moment with players who are at my level, I get more one to one time with my coach to perfect things like technique and focus more on fitness, similar to what I have been doing recently in football practice.

Primarily our lesson this week consisted of agility training, quite a bit of cardio, and a 6 shuttle drill where you place them on 6 parts of the court and sprint to collect them before your opponent. As for personal areas for development I was told that I could work on my serving which I’m sure I can get down in no time, it usually takes some time to know where to make contact, positioning and stance etc.  I practiced clearing shots from my coach as well and he was quite happy with my work although I missed two shots because of bad reaction time.

Overall, I’m really excited to get back into shape and hopefully I’ll be able to play some actual matches soon in order to be fully prepared by the time next SAISA season rolls by!

Video From Training: Clearing Drill

https://drive.google.com/file/d/14u35-5NoFWyWl_pktGverfqPlOSqOYI3/view?usp=sharing

 

SURFING IN WELIGAMA

Another thing I was able to accomplish this month was learning how to surf :))

I had been wanting to go surfing for the longest time since I was young, and even more so now that  it was one of the only water sports that I hadn’t really tried out except for kitesurfing and water skiing. So  being given the ability to travel after not being able to go to the beach for a very long time was the perfect opportunity for me to go catch a much needed serotonin boost at beach on the long weekend.

My experience with surfing began as we headed down to the Marriott at Weligama Bay for a little vacation after our trip to Hiriketiya for my beach cleanup.

After taking some much needed rest, we decided to wake up at the break of dawn to have some breakfast and then head down to a sparsely crowded beach at around 6 am. There, both my brother and I got introduced to our guides and we had land training where they taught us how to position ourselves on a board, how to catch a wave how to stand up and where to jump off before we reached the shore. My little brother, Dimitri, admittedly picked it up faster than I did because he had gone surfing before.

When we had gotten the technique down and tried it out in the shallow water, our guides took us over to the point where the waves form, for the first couple tries they would hold onto the board and give us a cue to push off and stand up.

Much to the amusement of my onlooking mother, my form was a little wobbly at the start and I had to do a lot of not so smooth looking jerky arm movements to retain my balance, but I swear that I eventually got the hang of it!  It was a fun yet exhausting 4 hours, having to paddle all the way back to the wave point each time, and I even once forgot to jump off before it got too shallow and ended up getting a nasty cut on my knee, but it was time really well spent. I can safely say that I am no pro at surfing but I very much look towards learning how to a become better surfer thankfully I got good enough to move to a more challenging part of the beach which made my experience that much more exciting. Hopefully though,  the next time around I’ll be able to catch some of the bigger waves and stay on with minimal struggle, because after seeing the older surfers on the beach I was a tad star struck, especially by this girl my parents pointed out to me who was maybe my age or a little older taking on some GIANT waves with ease and doing all these really cool flips on her board; which I have a gut feeling that it took way more than two tries to learn to do something of that caliber because it was so well executed.

Intro Session to Surfing ^

First try: 

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1BMZnQOlkYBqDnVkX0RaaCTNTi8ykso36/view?usp=sharing

BIKING:

Another sport that caught my interest a while ago was biking, you might remember a post I made a few months ago on my time biking at Ullagala, well, thankfully, I’ve been able to do it much more frequently thanks to getting my own bike fixed. After getting back and getting it serviced, I’ve been using it quite frequently, in fact, it’s a pretty neat commute to all the nearest stores and this gorgeous lake / paddy field areas right next to my house! The roads close to home are fairly safe to travel on and are arguably well paved so I get the opportunity to take nice bike rides in the evening or even very early in the morning which is a nice change from the exercise bike that I had been using all lockdown long.

When we were on holiday, it was pretty amazing since even that resort had a bike service and all we had to do is ride it and return it before we left. Now, the views weren’t quite as nice as at Ulagalla but the track was seemingly a bit longer and had more routes to take which was great. It was extra fun this time around because all my friends who came on the trip had a lot of fun with it, playfully racing each other to the end or even trying to do cool tricks like riding with no hands on the handles. (We came away without so much as a scratch much to everyone’s relief!)

It’s been great so far being able to cycle around at different times of the day because it has an incredibly laid back nature to it especially when I’ve gotten a pair of headphones on and am just trying to take in the scenery by myself and of course, this goes without saying that it’s improving my general fitness and my lower body strength in particular :))

biking! ^

 

Football Training :)

Back on the Pitch

I went back to training for the first time in over  a year today!!!

I can’t emphasize enough how much I’ve missed playing football with actual teammates, and how upset I was when I noticed that around 2 weeks ago we could’ve been on our way to SAISA for our tournament. Needless to say, though I am a little sad about not getting to train with my school team, it was refreshing to be back with a football at my feet.

Since it was the first training back for a lot of us at the academy, we spent majority of the session focusing on drills, simple dribbling, passing, skills and accuracy. It was clear that most of us had lost our top form so it was really a matter of getting us back to our regular fitness levels so that we could play full 90 minute games. The second part of our session was spent on cardio and stamina, i.e. running the beep test… What a nice well come back right? 😂  Even though I despised exhausting myself that early in the afternoon, it was clear I needed it, as a player it’s not just good enough to be able to kick a ball, you need the mental and physical capacity to grit through some rough plays and seemingly endless minutes on the pitch, and it was clear that a lack of playing time for near a year was taking a toll on most of our endurance.

And finally… the most long awaited part of the session, a scrimmage! YES, you heard that right, an actual 6 vs 6 game, with REAL players!! We played our hearts out channeling all the irritation of not being able to play into that one game and before we knew it my team had 6 points in the bag! The other team had 2 but that was a pretty good margin considering we played one man less in the goal. I managed to get 2 of our shots in on the top right hand corner while giving 2 other assists to two of the other players, Jehan and Nic.

All in all, by the end of the game I was beyond ready to get a full nights sleep and every muscle in my body was screaming for a rest but it was well worth it and I very much look foreword to going back again and being fully fit, hopefully by the time that next SAISA rolls around :))

Dribbling, first warmup back:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1igBeqkcIztaPs8QyfNdnC-XlmIXMzqyv/view?usp=sharing

IVY GIRLS – Pt. 2

IVY GIRLS – ACTION PROJECT

In my last blog post, I introduced everyone to the IVY GIRLS Lead project which I became a member of in late December 2020. However, although in my earlier post, my focus was on the guest speaker element of the project,  another major part of the program that  I want to talk about is the service task which we were asked to complete after our first 2 weeks as a trial to see how well we were able to apply what we were taught to real life.

We were each asked to pick out a topic on which we wanted to work on and then assigned groups with random members based off of our interests. We were then asked to brainstorm a project outline, create an effective plan and then present it to a panel of judges on our final day of week 2. Once approved we were expected to complete our tasks over the span of 3 months (or more) to hopefully end up accomplishing the intended end goal.

I had a difficult time choosing between two topics, gender inequality and ocean pollution. The deciding factor in the end ended up being the fact that I had to choose something that was doable during the COVID situation, and while I was passionate about sport I had doubts that others would think the same way. This is why I decided to continue my efforts which I started out in the 10th Grade with my MYP 5 Personal Project, only this time, with added elements and it being more of a group effort. This would also ultimately help me in fulfilling my CAS goals.

Our progress check in was actually due yesterday, here is an excerpt from what I submitted on behalf of my group members…

Towards the start of  the of Ivy Girls Lead action project, the Reef Revival group consisting of Thimanya and Ayesha and I took on a very venturesome initiative to raise awareness on to raise awareness regarding the issue of ocean pollution amongst social media users; while, taking a personal course of order to do our part in combating the issue in question within Sri Lanka’s oceans. 

Over the course of the past few months we have done our level best to stay true to our goal despite many major challenges we were met with.

Here are few of the biggest obstacles we have faced:

  • Although I reached out to 5 dive centers in order to initiate underwater cleanups and only one responded, we were able to carry out two dives but they shut down too due to the lack of business and risk of COVID (i.e.. having to re-use equipment). 
  • We could not have as much physical engagement as we liked considering the pandemic situation so we were forced to do this within our families and close friend circles in a much less official way. 
  • Thimanya could not get a lot of beach cleanup participants considering the COVID-19 situation as well.
  • School work and distance interfered more with our project than we anticipated, while Thimanya and I kept continuous correspondence via WhatsApp and G-Mail our third group member who was supposed to take on the role of the researcher did not interact with us at all despite how many times we emailed her or used slack, which meant that Thimanya and I had to carry out her share of the tasks ourselves.

Overall, the obstacles that we were faced with, to a degree reduced our productivity and narrowed down the limits of how much we could achieve with our goal during this period of time, however, I am very proud of how we decided to stay true to our initial plan and took up our goals to the best of our ability. 

Here are a few of our greatest accomplishments:

  • We officially launched our social media campaign, Reef Revival which gained the desired amount of traction and so much more than we anticipated we hit 50 followers in 3 days!
  • Our first post, which was a trailer / awareness edit that I made as an introduction to our initiative, reached many activists around the world who congratulated us on our efforts, our friends and family were also very supportive and reposted and shared our content etc. We were pleasantly overwhelmed by the support.
  • Thimanya who was in charge of the beach cleanups carried two out successfully at Pinawatta  within her family and with the help of the municipal council in her district. 
  • I was able to carry out two successful dive cleanups at Swami Rock, collecting over 30kg’s worth of debris, most of our haul consisting of plastic bags and bottles with additional surprising collections of a massive cement block, fish cage wiring, a few corroded poles, lots of rope and ceramics. 
  • We came into contact with a major ocean pollution advocate and social media influencer named Arlian Ecker on Instagram. He’s only 16 and is already an ambassador for Project AWARE with over 2k followers! The Ocean Purpose Project panelist has been a great mentor and has actively encouraged us to follow through with our project. We even discussed the prospects of doing a Q and A or collaborative project with him in the near future! (which we are very excited for! )
  • Our project was kickstarted with the help of many other popular awareness blogs such as SEAFOAM , Bali Dive Time and Aqua5 who loved our content and helped spread the word about our initiative.
  • Our first post had a 36 person share rate which is pretty major for an Instagram post!
  • I was also able to carry out my own beach cleanup with the help of my family and friends at a beach in Hiriketiya which was very polluted to the begin with; the content we recovered ranged from bottles of poison to fishing lines and an overwhelmingly large collection of washed up shoes. 
  • We were able to engage with our followers via the IG story feature, regularly quizzing and educating them on our action; we decided that stories would be more efficient than releasing posts because they get a bigger reach due to notifications that followers get, but we also release a few posts designed by Thimanya.
  • I was also able to log my Data successfully onto Project AWARE’s diver profile which is available to the general diving community and scientists who analyze the data that divers collect. 

What the future holds for Reef Revival:

Hopefully we are able to continue our efforts in the following months especially with the COVID situation easing around the island, we are hoping that for the sake of the project and the local community that Dive Centers are allowed to go back into business so that we can have greater engagement with the community, have more cleanups and make it a more engaging experience. As for the near future, we are currently looking forward to doing the Q and A with Arlian Ecker (plastic free boy)  and hopefully get many more activists involved in the project, maybe even at local capacity. We also plan on  carrying out the installation of the bins in the beaches close by with the money that Thimanya has raised for that purpose and more generally, expanding our following and engagement.

Creativity – Designing Posts + Stories

Activity – Diving 

Service – Raising Awareness + The Removal of Rubbish

 

Detailed Action Plan:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Cb46XrVRakONA2p7vJkNC-jin__8nwmI/view?usp=sharing

Progress Check- In ( click link for more images & details ): 

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1nabsBU7EQ7T7pRWvcbQKyxZjEjADtBiXa0jZ6PNACW4/edit?usp=sharing

^ hiriketiya beach pre-cleanup

[OUR LOGO] 

CAS GOALS

“Success comes from curiosity, concentration, perseverance and self-criticism” – Albert Einstein

Overview

The CAS program has a rather crucial role in helping DP students in balancing their lifestyles in the midst of closing in on the the daunting workloads we are expected to complete over the course of the next 2 years. It it is important to me that I achieve personal growth in the areas of Creativity, Activity and Service as I find the healthiest and most holistic students are most often capable of extending themselves to these ideas, applying themselves to extracurriculars (as well as the school’s academic work)!

Below is a flexible plan I have devised in order to help me complete my DP CAS Program successfully. Despite being in the midst of a global pandemic that has created a massive grey area of what could be expected of the future, I have set myself goals that will show my personal perseverance as well as, ability to grow outside of my comfort zone in this time. I have also separated my goals into areas wherein the reader can identify if the goals can or cannot be completed during lockdown; with clear mentions of implied backups that could be used  in the case of there being to be no improvement in the outlook of the current situation; demonstrating my adaptability to the situation. This structure should help in enabling me to complete my CAS projects to the best of my ability regardless of the challenges I will have to encounter on the way.

My CAS Goals

KEY:

r (can only be completed without the constraints of CO-VID)

h (hybrid goals can take place regardless of the situation)

Creativity 

This academic year, I plan on applying myself to the area of creativity by building my skillset in the areas of music and videomaking (mastering a new editing program).

Goals – 

  1. To participate in the school’s guitar ensemble over the course of the next two years, in hopes of  effectively improving my performance skills by the time I would have completed a spring or winter Gala performance presented by the school. This goal would also improve my aptitude in musical knowledge as it requires me to learn guitar notation and fingerstyle guitar which I have never taken up nor learned before. This project would also improve my awareness of different musical genres as I will be transitioning from learning pop acoustic pieces to classical guitar rather abruptly. This is a continued program from last year, an effort which unfortunately got shut down due to the closure of school amidst the coronavirus. However, with the start of a new term, we have decided to continue zoom ensemble lessons to learn pieces until we re-group in school and will continue to do practices regardless of the certainty of the Gala performance. (h)
  2. To take supervised guitar lessons for half an hour each week (with regular practices of 15-30 minutes each day in between). I have been learning this instrument on an off since the 2nd grade and have taken a great liking to it, however, I have decided to make a clear commitment to teaching myself how to play simple pop songs of my choice this year, with the help of a mentor. This way, I can also simultaneously improve my performance skills by playing for family and friends when the occasion arises. (h)
  3. To continue to create and post video edits that I have made over the course of the last year and upcoming years on a social media site such as Instagram in order to promote, empower and advocate for the women’s game in football / soccer and even basketball. This was an effort I took up leisurely a couple of years ago; I consider myself incredibly passionate about sports and find myself shocked on a daily basis at the blatant disregard and hatred expressed towards females in the sporting industry who fight, not only to compete for medals, but for respect and things as basic as equal pay. I created an edit account which gradually gained popularity over time, my following resting well above 1k followers having received from various sporting icons and celebrities such as US Women’s National Team players Carri Roccaro and Lindsey Horan and FIBA player Sushantika Charvrotty to name a few. This effort tests my technical abilities as I have to learn the ins and outs of using a complex editing program like Filmora 9 while also learning how to manipulate audios to fit a certain timeframe and to transform it to avoid being copyrighted. Overall this is one of the most exciting endeavors I have taken on and I hope continue to build on my successful start. (h)

Activity

For my activity goals, I intend on improving my overall technique, skills, strength and health with the purpose of helping me prepare and retain my fitness and competency for competing in SAISA badminton and football.

Goals- 

  1. To make the SAISA Football team – like I mentioned earlier, football is one the most important things in my life right now. I have been playing the sport since I was in the second grade and it has easily won over my heart, become one of my favorite past times, whether it be watching or playing. I have been travelling competitively for the sport since I was 12, and just last year, I had the honor of making my first SAISA trip for the game. Unfortunately the arrival of the pandemic cut my time with the team short and it still remains unclear if SAISA will happen this year… Regardless, I believe that it is essential to prepare for the game; to be at peak fitness even after a void in practices. Therefore, I plan on coming up with my own training regime to help me keep in shape. I plan on using the exercise bike for 30 minutes a day, spending another half an hour a day to practice skills, shooting and passing drills with the help of the internet,  to regularly completing targeted body conditioning and other workouts. In addition I will occasionally try and meet up with a teammate who lives close by (when safe) to practice together. Once school starts, I would join the after school scrimmages the high schoolers play on Thursday afternoons for extra game time and experience. These actions should ideally keep me in shape for when the tryouts roll around again and make my transition into the team much smoother. (h) 
  2. To make the SAISA Badminton team – another of my goals is to make a 2nd SAISA team during the academic year, this time, with focus on badminton. Last year’s tryout period concluded with me securing a position for myself on the A team, only for the tournament to be cancelled last minute because of corona. While it was disappointing, I am now more prepared than ever to take that challenge on proving my perseverance to the sport and my intentions to improve my match performance. I have started taking lessons for 2 hours each weekend outside of school, thus giving me time to practice competing with others my age from across the country while also enabling me to improve my technique and skills like speed and agility with the guidance of a coach. These practices are currently halted due to a relapse of the pandemic situation but are sure to start again with a smaller group involvement that allows for lessons to be conducted safely. In the meantime, I will take up practicing with my brother in the backyard to playin recreational matches, while also applying and adapting my football workout regime to best suit badminton’s requirements. This should serve the same purpose of helping me stay fit during quarantine in the time leading up to potential tryouts. (h)

Service 

On the subject of service, I intend to apply myself in a way that I can make valuable contributions to my community and causes that I am passionate about supporting and advocating for.

  1. To continue my participation in the Hope for Kids Service Program – In the upcoming years, I hope to show continued contributions to the Hope for Kids program which has enabled for OSC students to visit the CCC Cancer Home in Maharagama, in order to interact and provide for the children that are cancer patients at the home. I started my involvement in this service last year, and since have not been let down by my participation in it. The results of the work that we do is always incredibly fulfilling, seeing the children and their parents light up with smiles- it really warms my heart to say the least. In the past, my experience has made me realize how often we take things for granted, and has reminded me to give my best efforts to make the kids’ uncertain childhoods something memorable and happy. I intend to contribute in any way possible interacting, spearheading and working towards miniature projects we will later establish to aid the children and their families. This year, our visitation rights to the home will most likely be limited, understandably, considering that the virus possesses too much risk in our interaction. The continuation of the service is currently undecided, but if it were to continue even virtually, I would be sure to partake in it. (h/r)
  2. To take up a volunteering based position of co-coach at Decathlon’s The Academia Football Club to teach football to young children between the ages of 5 and 11 – I have thus for pointed out my dedication to the sport time and time again in my writing, so once again I reference it, in my most recent service project. As of October 2020, I took up a non-paying role as co-coach at Decathlon’s football club under the supervision of two professional coaches. They have been mentoring and monitoring me through the process of engaging and teaching this sport the children who I have been introduced to and have thus far, had the opportunity of coaching multiple times during the past few months. It has been an absolute honor, spending my weekend teaching my favorite thing in the world to these young excited and energetic players. It has been equal parts draining and fun getting work experience to an extent in this field and it has not only taught me responsibility, but good work ethic and perseverance. Most importantly, I have been developing my leadership skills as a 16 year old coach. I have loved my experience so far and look foreword to continuing it (as of right now via zoom calls, hopefully to be changed in future after the threat of the pandemic subsides).(h/r)
  3. To plan, organize and carry out seasonal dive cleanups in Trincomalee with the additional task of logging data onto the Project AWARE Dive Against Debris Campaign -this goal would be a continuation of my MYP 5 personal project, an endeavor I took on, which was to carry out a single dive cleanup in Trincomalee’s Swami Rock dive site to remove debris content from the popular tourist and pilgrimage location. I am now an advanced open water diver and I try to visit Trincomalee as regularly as possible to retain my skills. After careful consideration, I have decided that want to make the dive clean ups a regular occurrence (once – twice each season). I will plan and organize a series of dive cleanups in partnership with Sri Lanka Diving Tours (my dive center), and visit locations around Trincomalee and perhaps Negombo to conduct the cleanups. This time my prospects could even potentially be improved as I could organize a larger dive team by advocating within the school. After the cleanups are completed, I will log the data regarding what I collected and other logistics onto Project AWARE’s campaign website which is a global catalog for ocean pollution data used to pass laws and protect reefs legally using evidence that divers across the globe collect. This course of action can only happen when there is a minimal risk of coronavirus involved for the sake of the safety of those involved. (r)
TAISM School ©
Skip to toolbar