16-year-old Thivyashalini Ramkumar may be anticipating her national exams this year, but she has already begun 2018 on a successful note. Along with winning the ‘Best Speaker’ award at this year’s Sorkkalam, the biennial Tamil-language debate competition telecast on Vasantham channel, she also won the finals with her schoolmates. The vivacious and eloquent student attributes her interest in debates to the public-speaking and story-telling competitions she participated in as a primary school student. “After making it until the quarter finals in 2016, it is so heartening to have won Sorkkalam this year,” she said.
Thivyashalini credits her parents and her tutors at STEP tuition with helping her manage her time between the competition, studies, tuition and co-curricular activities. She joined STEP in 2010 as a Primary 2 student, and has since built her foundation and polished her basics in Mathematics and Science through the programme. “I always had opportunities to clear my doubtsand that helped to gradually improve my grades. My tutors guided me with patience and sincerity, and their lessons were not only engaging, but enjoyable too.”
When asked what motivates her, Thivyashalini cites the thought of success and the support she gets from her parents, teachers and relatives. “Work hard, don’t procrastinate and stay committed to your goals,” she says as a word of advice. “Always remember the people who have helped you and don’t forget to reciprocate their kindness.”