Avinya Foundation

Series 2, Blog #14 – Spotlights, Culinary Delights and a Tapestry of Chronicles

In this week’s blog, we shine the spotlight on our Educator, Dilani, renowned for her unique ability to strike up conversations with trees and inadvertently treat us to comments that never fail to leave us in stitches.

Read on to get a glimpse of the past week from her perspective.

Hi there everyone! 

Lovely to be back to pen my thoughts about the past week’s happenings at Avinya which whizzed by with a flurry of activities. One thing for sure is that there is never a dull moment at our school!

On Friday 17th November, Avinya Academy hosted a very successful event – the grand finale of Project Showcase, the exhibition. It was a celebration of creativity, innovation, and the collective efforts of our talented students. The atmosphere was charged with excitement as parents gathered to witness the culmination of weeks of hard work by their children. 

The exhibition featured the four projects completed so far including:  My Digital Passport, Face Your Face, Golden Rubbish and Project Runway. In the lead up to this event, it was lovely as an Educator to see my students go the extra mile creating eye-catching displays and welcome signs, as well as making slideshows, adding an extra layer of professionalism to their presentations. Practicing their speeches with a newly acquired tool – cue cards, the students honed their public speaking skills, showcasing not only their academic achievements but also their newfound confidence.

During the exhibition,  the joy that emanated from the parents was palpable,  as they saw their children confidently explaining their projects in front of an audience – a sight that, for most, was a first-time experience. For us Educators it was extremely gratifying to see how far each student had come from the time they first entered our gates. 

It was a very busy week for all Educators as in addition to ensuring a well organized exhibition, we also spent a few evenings, after school,  having 1: 1 meetings with parents. These personalized interactions provided a valuable opportunity for parents  to gain insights into their child’s progress and discuss individual strengths and areas for growth. The echoes of appreciation were the emotional highpoint for me last week. I believe this feeling would have been shared by my fellow Educators.  It was extremely touching to hear every parent express their sincere gratitude to me as an Educator. They also were extremely appreciative of Avinya’s vision and our Founder, Dr Sanjiva. I had one mother visibly moved, shedding tears of joy as she spoke about how her child, who was once bullied at his previous school, now loved coming everyday to Avinya. Almost every parent I spoke to was grateful for the opportunity their child received to take the stage and speak with confidence. It was a poignant moment as parents expressed their sincere appreciation not only for the academic growth but also for the boost in their children’s self-esteem. It is these moments which truly make our jobs as Educators, the best in the world! 

With the completion of Project Showcase we dived directly into our next project. We have embarked on a gastronomic journey – Project Fun with Food! Students have started to delve into the global tapestry of cuisine, prioritizing nutrition and healthy eating. Through research, they’ll unravel the secrets of diverse world foods and their recipes. This project will culminate in a feast of creativity with each student team presenting a fusion recipe to a panel of judges, who will critique them on originality, taste, and presentation. With Avinya’s budding chefs eager to showcase their culinary flair, this project promises to be a delectable hit!

Amidst all of these activities, The Eagles Class also managed to steal the spotlight with a wonderful assembly on Monday 20th of November, undoubtedly making their Homeroom Teacher, Isuru, very proud.  The Eagles showcased an impressive array of talents. From fun dance routines to a meaningful drama on helping each other to rise up,  to a heartfelt speech and soulful singing, the students demonstrated their diverse abilities with finesse. The weeks of dedicated practice and collaboration were obvious as the class presented a unified performance, highlighting the strength of their teamwork. Adding a touch of humor to the event, teachers participated in a lively quiz, rating each other for distinctive characteristics!! Vihan emerged as the winner, earning a sweet victory in the form of a chocolate prize which of course he was forced to share with all of us Educators. 

All in all, last week was a true testament of the power of education as well as what Avinya Academy stands for – nurturing and empowering lives by giving a child a second chance in their educational journey. In the words of Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, “If you fail, never give up  because fail means First Attempt in Learning”. 

– Dilani

Thanks Dilani, for that amazing summary of the week from the academic side. 

As Dilani highlighted earlier, a standout moment during the Project Showcase was the impactful final presentations, providing parents with a firsthand look at the remarkable development and progress of their children. The experience was both emotional and enlightening, reaffirming our unwavering dedication to our mission.

During this event, we seized the chance to not only showcase student achievements but also to enlighten parents about diverse career options. We actively encouraged increased female participation in the workforce, aiming to break stigmas associated with various vocations. Kudos to our dedicated Educators for approaching these initiatives with immense passion and dedication.

In other news, our very own Sanduni from the AI team took to the streets (sorry corridors) to interview one of our steady but sturdy aspiring IT students who graduated from our very first Empower program back in August 2023.

Explore more about Chathuka’s journey and insights below.

We encourage our new batch of young minds to take inspiration from Chathuka’s advice and maximize the opportunities presented in their current program. 

Our collective goal is to impact lives positively and work together to bring about transformative change slowly but steadily.

Moving on to our IT Vocational students, they have wasted no time in starting on their projects from last week. The two teams are working on an Inventory Management module and an Admissions Leads module. Witnessing their progress is eagerly anticipated, and we look forward to seeing the final results. Under the expert mentorship of Yujith, our Lead Software Engineer, and the consistent guidance of Geeth, their dedicated educator, the students will no doubt steadily advance towards their goal. 

We also had a great conversation with the Dialog HR team this week about potential collaborations for internships and job opportunities. Simultaneously, their ongoing Telecommunications Technician foundation training is making significant strides, providing our IT students with valuable insights into a new domain.

In Operations news, Nalaka led a brainstorming session this week with the Educators about changes we can make to our next batch from an operational perspective to make things more efficient and streamlined. 

Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.” – Ryunosuke Satoro

Shifting gears to some exciting news, our very own Dinesha (Dee), the Head of our Empower Program, delivered a captivating talk at Tedx Amrak Institute of Medical Sciences on Saturday, 11 November. Dee’s presentation was nothing short of fantastic, featuring a memorable mic drop moment that left us truly inspired. She delved into the intriguing question of how the insights she shared could be seamlessly incorporated into the corporate world and whether these skills should be integral parts of our educational curriculums. Under the theme “Bridging the Gap: Building a 21st Century Workforce,” Dee explored the evolving landscape of skills essential for success in today’s professional realm. Her thought-provoking ideas challenged conventional norms and sparked discussions on the need for a paradigm shift in the way we approach education and workforce development.

Dee’s talk served as a beacon, aligning seamlessly with Avinya’s core passions and values. We are overjoyed that she had the opportunity to shed light on these crucial topics, contributing to a larger conversation about shaping a more dynamic and adaptive workforce for the future. It was indeed a proud moment for us to be a part of such an event, where other inspiring talks further fueled our enthusiasm for driving positive change. The link to watch her full talk will be out soon and we will definitely share it with you all!

On the topic of events, this Tuesday, Dee and I were fortunate to attend the Women in Tech initiative launch. The event left us feeling inspired and invigorated, especially after the insightful panel discussion which was a feature event. Personally, Prof. Arosha Adikaram, stood out for me, as she not only shared compelling statistics but also spoke passionately from the heart about the challenges faced by women, not only in the Tech industry but across various domains. This is a cause close to my heart, and we eagerly anticipate witnessing and supporting their journey. Beyond the enriching content, the event provided a wonderful opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals, share ideas, and draw inspiration once again.

All in all, It’s hard to believe that the Academy is just shy of a year old, after officially setting sail in January this year. The whirlwind of experiences has unfolded like chapters in a captivating novel, and with each passing week, we find ourselves wiser and more attuned to the extraordinary journey we are on. I cannot believe we are now on the brink of the penultimate chapter of November. When we are asked how old the Bandaragama Academy is, it’s a humbling moment to reflect on the journey so far with its highs and lows and to think just a year ago it was a mound of earth and now we have bustling corridors and classrooms buzzing with hope.

Ending on a bit of a nostalgic note, Eleanor Roosevelt’s poignant words, “I am who I am today because of the choices I made yesterday,” resonate deeply at this moment in time. As we look towards what lies ahead, these words serve as a gentle reminder – that every decision shapes our narrative and contributes to our unique and collective story. 

Every day, every week, every moment counts!

See you next week 🙂

– Anju