Thigalolibavan – A genius from Jaffna
Magheandran Thigalolibavan is a young genius who scored 198 out of 200 at the Grade Five Scholarship Examination last year, coming in at second in the island and first in the Jaffna District. Originally from Thondavil, Jaffna, Thigalolibavan currently studies at Royal College, Colombo 7. He shared his success story and how he’s adjusting to life at a boarding school with The Sunday Morning Little Stars.
How does adjusting to life in the hostel feel? Do you find it difficult?
Not at all. I really enjoy being with my friends at the hostel. We have to follow a schedule every day, but it helps us a lot in finishing our work on time. All the time the other kids spend going for tuition, we spend reading or playing. Since we have enough time to study, we get to play all we want with friends here. I like the different food we get to eat, and having to follow a timetable. I think what makes life enjoyable here is that everyone is very kind to each other. They are always very helpful.
Tell us about your life back in Jaffna.
My hometown is located in Thondavil, Jaffna. I attended Jaffna Hindu Primary School for my primary education. That was where I sat for my Grade Five Scholarship Exam as well. I have an elder brother and younger sister in Jaffna whom I miss dearly when I am in Colombo. My brother helped me immensely in getting through the scholarship exam. My father’s name is Magheandran and my mother’s is Nalleeswary. They were all very happy about my achievement. Back home, I enjoyed cycling and watching my favourite Tamil programmes on television. Now, I am always eagerly waiting for term-end holidays so I can go home to my family
You were able to score 198/200 at the scholarship exam. How did you feel when you found out your results?
I felt so happy and proud of myself when I got to know. I wasn’t that surprised. I must thank the God I believe in for providing me the strength to achieve this, and my parents and teachers for always supporting me and motivating me to face the exam well.
Did you follow any special method when studying?
Not really. I studied every day like a normal student. I mastered everything we were taught in school. My brother was my strength and he was always there when I needed help. He is in grade eight now and is still motivating me to do better.
Now that you are in upper school, what are your favourite subjects?
I like maths, science, and English.
Do you engage in any extracurricular activities in school?
Yes – chess, swimming, football, basketball, and table tennis. I am also a member of the Tamil club, drama club, and library club. Out of these, my favourites are chess, because it’s a brilliant game, and the library club, because I love to read.
Reading seems like one of your hobbies. What is your favourite book?
Yes. I read whenever I have time. I like reading story books. My most favourite is the Harry Potter series and the books written by Tamil author Sothy. Sothy’s stories have many morals we can learn.
Apart from the scholarship exam results, what are your other recent achievements?
I still didn’t get many opportunities to participate in competitions after joining Royal College. But I participated in an art competition recently and received a top rank. Back in Jaffna, while I was attending Hindu College, I was able to bag the all-island chess Governor’s Cup, play in football league matches, and participate in many table tennis competitions. One of the most memorable achievements for me was when I became the all-island first in English poetry and reading at a competition organised by Era Academy. Other than this, I participated in several other English language competitions organised by private organisations.
What is your most precious memory?
My visit to Japan is the fondest memory I have. I returned from Japan only a couple of weeks ago. I was presented an opportunity to visit Japan as a part of a scholarship programme for top rankers of the Grade Five Scholarship Examination. It was such a joyous programme. We had a lot of fun and learnt a great deal. My hosts were Yashrio Noda family and they were really kind to us. We spent more than three weeks there. It was a good experience for me; the most difficult challenge was learning to use chopsticks, but it was so much of fun. We were able to participate in many cultural programmes and share our knowledge.
What is your ambition?
I want to become a surgeon one day so I can serve people in pain. And I will serve these people free of charge.
If your friends want to visit Jaffna, name a place they must visit.
I would tell them to definitely visit the Jaffna Library. It is such a quiet and magnificent place. It was burnt down long ago, but it’s renovated and open for everyone to visit now. I think it is a must-see in Jaffna.