By Pavan Pitiwaduge
It was a Sunday filled with anticipation and excitement as the University of Moratuwa’s Gavel Club prepared for its highly anticipated Installation Ceremony. The air was filled with a sense of both reflection and anticipation, as we gathered to honour the dedication and hard work of the current board members and to warmly welcome the incoming board.
Once inside, we were in awe as the conference hall welcomed us with a captivating display of yellow and blue decorations, the theme colours of the event.
The incoming board members, exuding confidence and grace, adorned themselves in impeccable suits and stunning sarees. Their attire added an air of sophistication to the event, setting a distinguished tone that was a departure from the usual casual dress code of most gatherings. We, along with all other attendees, embraced the formal attire, ensuring that the ceremony was imbued with elegance.
Our outgoing Gavel President, Suthira Wijayawardena, commenced the meeting with his usual finesse, setting the stage for the rest of the event. It was a bittersweet moment for all of us, as it was his last day as President of the club.
With the passing of the Gavel and controls, he entrusted the role of Toastmaster of the Day to Nirodha Sandaruwan, who took charge with unwavering poise and confidence. Nirodha’s presence added an element of anticipation to the room. As usual, we knew that his role was crucial for today’s meeting, as he was the one to conduct the “President’s Bash”, the reason for our anticipation and eagerness to proceed with the meeting.
The excitement in the air was palpable as the President’s bash began, with various Gaveliers sharing their thoughts on Suthira.
Zafra kicked off the bash with a humourous take on Suthira’s typos in WhatsApp groups. Shehan spoke about how Suthira was the best cheerleader he had ever seen as he recalled how Suthira screamed at a speech competition to cheer for him. Dinidu, the Immediate Past President of the club, shared the story behind how Suthira became the Gavel President, highlighting how he looked like a true leader. That story was an inspiration for us all. Although it was supposed to be a bash, it was really a heartfelt moment for us all. Some Gaveliers at the end of their bash on Suthira, also added their delightful memories of Suthira. Finally, Ishini read a written statement by Suthira’s roommates, which touched on his qualities as a person and a leader.
After the President’s bash, the controls were handed over to our talented Table Topics Master of the day, Shehan Paul. A very interesting and amusing fact: Shehan although being the Vice President – Public Relations of the club and a profound speaker, had never been the Table Topics Master before. He gave an introduction to the topics which were pictures of Gavel memories from last year and then he started the session. Dulmi spoke about her experiences at Gavel Mora. Next up, Muditha talked about the beauty of smiles and friendship, while Ami shared her story about finding a mentor and being recognised for who she was. Then Udula regaled us with the tale of rigging votes, the late start of a long journey, and whining about hikes. Malintha spoke about how Gavel Mora has become closer to his heart and made a fantastic remark at the end stating “Viva el Gavel” which meant “Long Live Gavel”. Finally, Jayoda shared how Gavel was like home to her and how she cherishes the memories she has made with the club.
After the Table Topics session, the emcees of the day, Chemini and Udesh, officially commenced the Installation Ceremony and invited Suthira, the President of the club and Zafra Rifky, the Vice President – Education of the club on stage.
Together the recap of the year that they gave, took us down memory lane. It was a staggering list, which mentioned about 40 educational meetings, a Women’s Day meeting that was memorable for all the right reasons, Gavel Orientation for the 21 batch, themed meetings, two Awurudu meetings, one physical and one online, Speaker’s Odyssey, a joint meeting with the Nanyang Scholars Toastmasters Club, and more.
They highlighted Speech Olympiad XV, the intra-university speech competition organized by the club where top speakers go head-to-head in a battle of wit and oratory skill. They also reminded us that the Christmas meeting was a festive affair, and the 500th educational meeting was a milestone for the club. And once again the Gavel Trip for the year was recalled. They went on to state that there were 33 CCs and 5 Open Mics done last year, which was a big accomplishment as a club and mentioned the competitions that the club members had won.
Moving forward Assistant Vice President – Membership, Thinithi Palayangoda shared more about the accomplishments of the club members. A video was played on the screen, highlighting the club’s many achievements and milestones.
As customary Assistant Treasurer of the club, Chathuni Sooriyarachchi then delivered the financial report of the year, providing a detailed analysis that gave members insight into the club’s income and expenses.
Then came a crucial part of the day’s event. The announcement of the Gavelier of the Year. Past Gaveliers who had won the Gavelier of the Year award were named, with Nirodha being the previous winner. It was Thulasithan Gnanenthiram who won this prestigious award this time, and it was a proud moment for all the members. Thulasi had his moment. Mentoring, as Thulasi said, is how we give back to Gavel.
Amirthvarshani Ananthan was awarded another special award for her outstanding oratory skills! This is a well-deserved recognition for her hard work and dedication. Congratulations, Amirthvarshani! We are so proud of you.
Next came up the most heartfelt moment of the day, as we all officially said goodbye to the previous board. It was an inspiring and interesting event as service letters were handed out by the outgoing President Suthira. The emcees added to the excitement by giving funny and interesting introductions of the board members.
- Vice President – Education – Zafra Rifky
- Vice President – Membership – Nirodha Sandaruwan
- Vice President – Public Relations – Shehan Paul
- Secretary – Shimzara Zakariya
- Treasurer – Kavishka Cooray
- Event Coordinator – Muditha Adhikari
- Sergeant-At-Arms – Yohan Abeysinghe
- Promotions & Online Media Coordinator – Kavindya Wijayarathna
- Assistant Vice President – Education – Niruthikka Sritharan
- Assistant Vice President – Membership – Thinithi Palayangoda
- Assistant Vice President – Public Relations – Charithma Hettiarachchi
- Assistant Secretary – Hasali Perera
- Assistant Treasurer – Chathuni Sooriyaarachchi
- Assistant Sergeant-At-Arms – Lathika Wathsara
- Assistant Event Coordinator – Harith Meehitiya
- Assistant Event Coordinator – Thisara Sanjana
- Assistant Promotions & Online Media Coordinator – Ishini Saparamadu
- Assistant Promotions & Online Media Coordinator – Viraj Wijesooriya
The audience was engaged and entertained throughout the event. Finally, Suthira delivered his outgoing President’s speech.
The air in the room was thick with anticipation as the new board was about to be appointed. The moment was finally here, and the crowd erupted into cheers as Gavelier Umesha was announced as the new president. She took the stage and welcomed the rest of the board, who were introduced by the emcees.
- Vice President – Education – Selani Indrapala
- Vice President – Membership – Oshan Yalegama
- Vice President – Public Relations – Inodee Fernando
- Secretary – Malintha Fernando
- Treasurer – Savin Gunawardena
- Event Coordinator – Anuki Pasqual
- Sergeant-At-Arms – Dasis Wickramasinghe
- Promotions & Online Media Coordinator – Buddisha Dissanayake
- Assistant Vice President – Education – Thulasithan Gnanenthiram
- Assistant Vice President – Membership – Amirthvarshani Ananthan
- Assistant Vice President – Public Relations – Shenali Liyanage
- Assistant Secretary – Saeedha Nazar
- Assistant Treasurer – Vinasirajan Viruthshaan
- Assistant Sergeant-At-Arms – Jayamahendran Nithuran
- Assistant Event Coordinator – Namina Wijethunga
- Assistant Event Coordinator – Sanjana Kapukotuwa
- Assistant Promotions & Online Media Coordinator – Kethmi Ruwanima
- Assistant Promotions & Online Media Coordinator – Yathursiya Gnanenthirarajan
- Webmaster – Sandil Ranasinghe
Umesha then gave a speech, thanking everyone for their support and outlining her vision for the club. Finally, she adjourned the meeting, bringing an end to the only meeting in which the outgoing president called the meeting to order and the incoming president adjourned the meeting. It was a historic day for the club, and everyone was excited to see what the future held.
The day was not yet over. In order for the day to truly end, the Gaveliers needed one more thing: a feast. We went out and celebrated the day with good food and great company. And that, ladies and gentlemen, marked the end of the day.
The sun was setting as we gathered around the table, and the air was filled with the sound of laughter and conversation. We ate and drank and talked until the late hours of the day, and when it was finally time to go, we all felt a sense of satisfaction and contentment. It had been a perfect day, and we knew that we would never forget it.