Gateway students delve deep into history to uncover the unsung female heroes of Sri Lanka

This year’s ‘Inter-house Drama Competition cum Drama Day of the senior students’ titled “Billie” at Gateway College Colombo, proved to be a most fulfilling, novel experience and a resounding success that awed both the organisers of the drama club as well as the large audience which the event attracted. “Billie”, an affectionate, colloquial alias for the world’s most famous bard - William Shakespeare, has been selected as the title for this grand event, which encompasses the annual inter-house drama competition, an open-mic event to showcase the students’ talents in performance arts and a mini-carnival, with the vision of encouraging the students of Gateway College Colombo to form a lasting interest in the fine arts.

The entire event revolved around the theme, “Four female figures who made a difference in the history of Sri Lanka”, with the student directors, producers and the script-writers of the four houses of the school, namely, ‘Dudley’ ‘Stephen’, ‘Solomon’ and ‘Lionel’, devising scripts based on the unsung contributions made by the queens, Kuveni, Viharamaha Devi, Soma Devi and Sugala Devi, respectively. The challenge presented to the students was to reveal in a new perspective, the selfless sacrifices made by these brave females in the name of the sovereignty of our nation and to draw their figures out of the shadows of their kings.

Billie 2020 was especially challenging to the student script-writers as the heavy burden of producing engaging plots while maintaining historical accuracy required them to conduct extensive and intense research. Their scope of research was expanded even to the extent of accessing the texts of ‘Mahawamsa’ and ‘Chulawamsa’, in order to maintain, as authentic and objective an appreciation of the numerous contributions made by the aforementioned queens, as possible, much to the admiration and astonishment of the audience. The experience of viewing these performances staged by the four houses at the challenging setting of an open-air space, impressed the esteemed judges of the event themselves, who all praised the efforts of the students at creating a valuable learning experience for both children and adults.

The drama club of Gateway College Colombo which was established in 2013, under the tutelage of renowned theatre practitioner, Kalakeerthi Mr. Jerome L. de Silva, has borne many admirable fruit within a very short span of time. Since its inception, the drama club of the school has successfully staged four productions at The Lionel Wendt Theatre, namely “Midnight Saga”, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, “Robin and The Sherwood Hoodies” and “Romeo & Winifred”, which were all favourably received by large audiences.

Despite being a young school, Gateway College Colombo has always encouraged the members of its drama club to participate in one of our country’s most prestigious drama competitions which is the ‘Inter-school Shakespeare Drama Competition’ and has witnessed its students succeed at accomplishing many nominations as well as achieving some of the most coveted awards of the event over the course of the past six years, with Aquila Abdeen securing the award for “Best Actress for the Year 2016” for her portrayal of Cleopatra, followed by Dion Sethunge tying for the award of “Best Actress for the Year 2019”, also for her portrayal of Cleopatra.

Gateway Regional Robotics Competition 2020 in Kandy with STEAM activity day

In an endeavor to promote STEAM Education with an activity based approach where Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics are integrated to harness student inquiry, dialogue, creativity, and critical thinking, Gateway has launched a series of Activity Days and Regional Robotics Competitions throughout the country. The first such event was held at the Grand Kandyan Hotel in Kandy, recently. The focus of the Gateway Group, as always is to prepare its students intellectually, emotionally and spiritually to become upstanding citizens.

The STEAM Activity day and Regional Robotics Competition was organized in collaboration with Colombo Hilton Kids Club and the Grand Kandyan, to encourage children from the Central Province to participate in an exploration platform. Over 150 children eagerly engaged in many fun activities which triggered their curiosity, creativity and innovative thinking capabilities. The exciting activities in Drama, Story Telling, Arts & Crafts, Cookery, Robotics and STEM brought true meaning to STEAM in a manner that children could easily grasp and truly enjoy.

The Robotics Competition conducted by Gateway School of Computing in collaboration with My STEM Labs India, had an eager participation from many schools in the region. The competition was organized to promote Robotics and STEM education in the country, in an interactive competitive platform, by providing students with hands-on experience to design and build programmable robots that can complete an assigned task.

Gateway College Kandy, won the Championship in the Senior category and Badulla Central College, were the Champions of the Junior Category. Mahamaya Girls School and Girls’ High School, emerged 1st Runners up and 2nd Runner up respectively in the Senior Category. Hilton Awards for the most innovative robot designs of the Senior and Junior categories were awarded to Girls’ High School and Badulla Central College respectively. An award for the Best Girl Powered team was presented by Grand Kandyan to Hillwood College.

The next event of this nature is planned in August at Weligama, for children of the Southern Province. All regional award winners will be invited to participate at the Grand Final scheduled to be held in October to commemorate Children’s Day at the Colombo Hilton as they vie for the Gateway Robotics Championship 2020. The event was put together by the collective effort of the Gateway Schools of Computing, Language and Speech & Drama, located across the island, that offer a broad range of enriching programmes for young learners, teenagers, school leavers and professionals, in all areas of STEAM education.

Further information on STEAM related courses offered can be obtained from Gateway centres: Borella: 011 2670632, 011 2670633, Nugegoda: 011 2816815, 011 2829334, Bambalapitiya: 011 2502100, 011 2583858, Panadura: 038 2240386, 038 2240387, Galle: 091 2233677, 091 4384177, Matara- 041 2222083, Kandy- 081 2233587, 081 4475372

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