5th Student at Harvard in 8 Years

Harvard3    Steffan-edited3    Harvard1

Congratulations to Steffan Paul, our Captain of School, who has been offered a place at Harvard, the world’s top rated university, to study Molecular and Cellular Biology. Harvard normally accepts only one Sri Lankan student each year, but Steffan will become our fifth student in just eight years to go there, which is an incredible achievement, and perhaps unprecedented for a Sri Lankan school.

Harvard is the oldest university in the United States, founded in 1636, and is regularly ranked 1st in the different rankings of world universities. Alumni include 8 US Presidents, such as Franklin D Roosevelt, John F Kennedy and Barack Obama; 62 current billionaires including Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg; and actors, musicians and authors including the poet T.S. Eliot.

When he goes to Harvard later on this year, Steffan will join a previous Captain of School, Yohann Sequeira, who is currently in his second year reading Economics. Yohann had his entire education at Elizabeth Moir School and excelled in all areas of school life. He was Basketball Captain in his final year and played in goal when our Football team won the Inter International School tournament for the first time in 2012. He also represented the school in cricket and has continued to play at university, helping Harvard win the Ivy League Championship this year.

He will also join Sabrina Ghouse, who will graduate in May but spend a final term at Harvard after this to complete her thesis on environmental policy. Sabrina has recently returned to Harvard after taking a year out to work for the United Nations. The foundations of Sabrina’s success were laid at our Junior School, where she was Head Prefect. She went on to gain 10 A grades at O Level, winning an Edexcel Award for the best results in Sri Lanka, and 4 A grades at A Level. At Harvard, she has been very involved in community service projects, as she was in school, and was one of five students chosen to go to Beijing to work in orphanages as part of the Harvard China Care programme. Sabrina says: ‘After spending 11 years at Elizabeth Moir School, my teachers and peers became my family. Throughout my time at school, I was able to contribute to every club, activity and event I was passionate about.’

Sabrina’s classmate, Atul Bhattarai, has now graduated with a degree in Government. He joined the school in Form 3, when his family moved to Colombo from Nepal. A star student, he gained 9 A grades at O Level and 4 A grades at A Level. Having been President of the Press Club in school, he became an Editor of The Harvard Crimson, the oldest college daily newspaper in the US. He has also had several articles published in the Harvard Political Review (a national magazine founded by then Harvard student Al Gore, among others), his first entitled: ‘A Moral Conundrum: How American Business Money Changes the International Landscape’. Atul remains grateful to the school for laying the foundations for his current success, and said: ‘It was through the school’s careful guidance and support that I achieved what I did academically, and through its extra-curricular emphasis I discovered my passion for writing.’

The first of our five recent students to attend Harvard was Nirasha Guruge, who has now graduated with a degree in Economics. She was Co-Captain of the Women’s Squash team at Harvard, having been named to the CSA All-American team for the three previous years. Nirasha was Sri Lanka’s National Squash Champion from the age of 14 and was one of three Elizabeth Moir School students to represent Sri Lanka at the 15th Asian Games in Doha in 2006. As well as excelling on the sports field at school, she also found time to gain 3 A grades at A Level. Looking back on her time at school, Nirasha said: ‘What stood out for me about Elizabeth Moir School were the teachers, who all played such an enormous role in our school lives. Everyone was incredibly friendly and this meant that the two years that I spent at the school was the best time of my life.’

When asked to explain the success of the school’s students, Mrs. Elizabeth Moir, the Head of School, said: ‘Obviously good exam results are important: last year, about half of the papers sat by our students at A Level were graded A or A*, and three-quarters at IGCSE. We compare ourselves to the top private schools in England, and these results rank with some of the very best. More than results, however, it is the wider interests and all-round excellence of our students that make them stand out. I have been sending students from Sri Lanka to top universities for thirty years so we know what they look for. We also have a full-time universities adviser to ensure that students are guided through every step of the application process. In fact, our recommendations are valued so much by top universities that several have asked us to nominate students for scholarships on an annual basis.’

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