By Lihini Dinushika
With the end of another year in the Gavel calendar, it was time for the new board to come into light. The spirits were high when the new president, with his everlasting smile, initiated the 276th Gavel meeting by welcoming the members and the special guest of the evening, DTM Srianthie Salgado.
The National anthem was led by Shehan Jayasinghe before the meeting was handed over to one of the many philosophers in the club, Mohamed Athif, as the Toastmaster for the day. Highlighting the new beginning in the Round Robin session, Athif invited the house to recollect what’s best about the club and what the new board should improve. The next few minutes inside the room was full of recollections of fond memories the members shared with the club with some valuable insights into what should be changed.
With that began the Table Topics session with Shehan Avindra as the Table Topics master. Out of the topics for the day, one took special attention with different views coming up and creating the Gavel version of a debate; “Practice makes perfect”. An experienced speaker, Piyumi Bandaranayake took the stage with her memories on her journey to France, where she learnt that practice cannot prepare you for all that you have to face. Sometimes we have to face life as it comes, embracing the experiences and challenges alike.
Sometimes even when it seems we have to give up many options, it may be creating the path to what you have to gain; for you cannot gain anything without sacrifice. Chamode’s inspiring speech was followed by Kasun’s hands-on experience with racism. He spoke passionately on how he would like to go back and change the day he felt neglected just because his skin was not white.
Reminiscing about his journey on his path to prove himself more than what he seemed to be, Kithmin shared stories of his school days as a prefect, giving out the message “Man is not finished when he is defeated. He is finished when he gives up”
“Love what you do, take advice from a good adviser and practice deliberately while making smart changes as you go along.” Adding on to the popular topic of the day, President Merl Chandana’s speech gave three very important points on how practice can indeed make a person perfect. It was followed by Ashwin’s speech on how practice made him a good student.
“If I had the power to change the world…” Shehan enlightened the audience saying how he would like to see a world that thinks of the consequences of their actions. For this he brought up a story from the history of China where Mao Tse-tung began a move to eradicate sparrows to save their crops without realizing the adverse consequences that it would bring about.
“We wouldn’t have Microsoft and Facebook today, if two gentlemen hadn’t given up the path they were on”; Sandaru’s speech was rich with new ideas about how practice together with dedication could make a person perfect.
Samitha’s passionate speech on a traveler’s life was followed by another emotional speech by Ushani who spoke about a dark period in her life when she moved into a life she couldn’t live in. “If not perfect, practice can at least make you an average person at something you thought you were a failure in”. Kanchana gave a conclusion to a much debated topic relating a story from the time he taught his friend to ride a bicycle.
The son of “Pera”, Abarajithan, came forward with a story of how he got out of his comfort zone in Peradeniya to move to Moratuwa. The Table Topics session was brought to an end with Asitha’s powerful words: “It’s ok to lose some battles in the war. Life is not about falling down; it’s about getting over it, getting up and moving forward.”
After the reports of Ah counter and timer and evaluations of speeches came the time for the prepared speech of the day. With DTM Srianthie’s introduction, Kithmin broke the ice with the speech “An experience to share and a passion to care” In his speech he shared the story of how one sentence changed his life, inviting the audience to care enough to be the person who could change someone’s life for the better.
DTM Srianthie evaluated the speech and gave some useful comments on how every speaker should improve their time management skills. After the reports of the Grammarian and General evaluator, the President brought the end to another beautiful evening in the Gavel club
Toastmaster- Mohamed Athif
Table topics master- Shehan Avindra
Evaluators-Merl Chandana & Sandaru Karunasiri
Grammarian- Rochelle Silva
General evaluator- Piyumi Bandaranayake
Ah counter- Ashwin De Silva
Timer- Warunie Adikaram