English Day 2017 – Awards Ceremony

The Awards Ceremony of the John Keells English Day was held on 25th  August 2017 at Cinnamon Red Colombo with management of the John Keells Group and Gateway Language Centre, students of the winning items,  their parents, teachers and respective branch managers in attendance. The first award at the event was handed over to the winners in the drama category – the Matara branch, for their performance of the play “Little Red Riding Hood” and the award and medals were handed over by Dilani Alagaratnam, President Group HR, Legal, CSR and Sustainability. Carmeline Jayasuriua, Head of Operations, John Keells Foundation handed over the award and medals to the students of the Negombo branch, who were adjudged the in the poetry category, (coincidentally!), for their performance of “Little Red Riding hood”. Devanshi Fernando, project coordinator CSR, handed over the award to the best performer , Damidu Sri Nayanapriya Bandara Wijesinghe from the Kandy branch, for his performance as The Sherriff of Nottingham. The award for the Best Teacher, Ms. Damayanthi Dayaratne of the Colombo branch was handed over by Ms. Wathsala Dissanayake of the Gateway Language Centre.

The awards ceremony also included  few speeches; students Jayani Mahesha, Prabha Minukshi, and Damindu Wijesinghe spoke of their experiences of the JKELSP while Carmeline and Wathsala spoke on behalf of the John Keells Group and Gateway Language Centre, respectively. Kumudu Munasinghe Project Champion emceed the event. The students along with their parents, teachers and branch coordinators, were invited to visit the Cinnamon Red rooftop on arrival, for an aerial view of the city and group photos and on conclusion of the awards ceremony, were provided lunch at Cinnamon Red and thereafter taken to the Planetarium for an afternoon of entertaining education.

This year, the John Keells Foundation deviated from the 2-tiered competition format the English Day was held in, in previous years (2013-2016), and held branch level English Days at 17 locations in the country. In 2017 the foundation made it mandatory that all students at Foundation Level, take part in an English Day item, in order to complete the course and (for students who passed the exam) to receive their certificates. The objective of the change in format was to ensure that every student received the opportunity to perform on a stage in English, to emphasis the importance the Foundation places on confident spoken English through this programme. This initiative to change the format was commended by teachers, parents and school principals who were invited to watch the performances these branch wise events, held at theatres / auditoriums (such as school halls, town halls) in each area.  The winners in each category were chosen by Hans Billomoria and Sashi Mendis, who have been  judges at previous John Keells English Days as well, and are professionals in the areas of English language education and English theatre.

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