Winner takes all

Nearly two months into Pathbreakers Aspirations Conquest, and we are in the grand finale. Who will be the winner?
By Madhushala Senaratne

Pathbreakers Aspirations Conquest started off with around 50 school children who were tested on various aspects of their knowledge and skills. Of this, 10 students were selected for the second round and the last five weeks saw them battle it out in the middle, accumulating points as they went on. From a street drama to answering some very tough questions, the tasks were indeed both challenging and interesting.

But tonight, only six will remain. And they will have to face the tasks ahead of them, where one will be crowned the winner. We don't know the final six yet, but, in a few hours, you will. And for now, let's hear what the 10 finalists have to say about what it has been like the past few weeks.

Twice captain in team challenges, Thamina Adnan (15) regards this as an unforgettable experience. Although she found the tasks "challenging and tough" at the beginning, Thamina says, towards the later stages, she found them easy. Currently studying for her O/Ls privately, Thamina was the only girl in round two. "I got to know a lot of people and got to know what it's like being in front of a camera. I am lucky to even have come here and I hope I've got enough points to get into the third round," she says.

For Kushan Felix (17) from St. Peter's College, Pathbreakers helped him learn a lot from working with others in a team and facts about the world. "For the past five weeks, it was the same group. We learnt a lot about each other, we also got to know the crew", he says. Of the questions, Kushan says, "They never gave us easy questions. We couldn't always guess and get away".

Kishan Goonewardena (18) also thought the questions were tough, but interesting nevertheless. "We had to take part in debates and a street drama. I learnt that winning is not everything, what's important is the experience you gain". To all those youngsters out there, Kishan from Royal College has this to say. "Do take part in extra curricular activities in and out of school. There's a lot you can learn."

Leading the points table is Pamith Kodikara (19) from Nalanda College and as leader, there's some pressure. "We had to do things the larger way, we had to work hard. And apart from knowledge, I also made some very good friends. The experience was vast and I look forward to the finals."

Having somewhat messed up certain questions, Muditha Mahindaratne (18) from Ananda College says, "If there's an opportunity, grab it. Sometimes, I messed up the questions, answered them wrong, and that limited my chances of going into the next round". He adds, "I also learnt that being bossy is not all that negative. People say I keep nagging them at times, but when it came to certain tasks where we had to get a lot of work done, it helped".

Dreno Mortier (17) from St. Peter's College regards this as a "cool" experience. "I gained a lot of confidence, developed leadership skills, met some very nice people and learnt some very important lessons. I'm proud that I got to come this far," he says. Dreno adds that he is grateful to his family, friends and teachers as well as Aspirations Education and ETV for giving him the opportunity to participate in such a programme.

Fahmy Rahman (18) from Gateway College values the opportunity he got to speak in front of the camera and develop his leadership skills. "I learnt how to be a leader, I learnt about sharing ideas and a whole lot more, all of which would be a huge benefit to us in the future", he says.

Clyde Rodrigo (18) from St. Joseph's College says he wouldn't trade this experience for anything else. "I never expected something like this and I am glad to have been part of it. It was all about innovation, creativity and team work. Everyone here was different, but awesome," he says.

Radhika de Silva (18) loves the consistency of surprise. "When I first came here I didn't know what to expect and every week there was something different. Every moment was a surprise," he says. Radhika, a student of Royal College has something else to be proud of. "I was at the bottom for around three weeks. But I managed to work my way to the top. I worked really hard and it paid off".

Team work was something Vinura Welgama (15) from Royal College looked forward to, because, as he says, "here we got a chance to use the unique skills of individuals to the best of their ability." Of the next round, he says, "We have no idea what it's going to be. It'll probably be very difficult and there might be some written work. But, I'm up for the challenge".

To see who made it through to the grand finale and what exactly they've got in store, tune into to ETV tonight at 8pm, and Derana TV at 8.30am, for the final episode.

Parthbreakers Aspirations Conquest is presented by Aspirations Education (Pvt) Ltd and produced by Vanguard Management Services (Pvt.) Ltd /ETV. The main sponsor for the event is Navitas, while the print media partner is The Sunday Times.

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