See My Story - Samantha Modder

I’ve always loved to write and for as long as I can remember, I have been fortunate enough to have people around me who have nurtured and inspired me to do so. Gateway has been such a source of encouragement and support.

I joined Gateway in Year 3. It was my first “proper” school and I am grateful that my parents chose to send me here. The great thing about Gateway is the genuine interest and concern they show each of their students. I am part-Nigerian, part-Sri Lankan, and the teachers at Gateway have always made me feel welcome and at home, especially in those early years when I was very conscious of being different.

At the age of 10, I was fortunate enough to be able to publish my first book of poems. Gateway did more than just support me. They hosted and organized my first book launch, something my parents were not able to do. I especially remember Mr. Alles, who travelled all the way from Colombo to be present on the day. Looking back, acts like these made Gateway so much more than a school; it is a second home.

Last year I published my second book of poems, “In a Head Like Mine”, and once again my school has supported me completely.

Gateway has helped me gain self- confidence and given me a platform to explore my talents. Debating, public-speaking and drama are a few of the areas that I have been exposed to. Thanks to the full support of our English Teachers, the Principal, and a lot of hard work, our debating team is the current Champion at the Lanerolle Debate Championship in Kandy, the highlight of English Debating in Kandy. I was very fortunate to be given the award for best 4th Speaker.

The Drama Teacher at Gateway also encouraged me to take part in Toastmasters. It was something I had never done before, but the school saw it as an opportunity to widen my horizons; they gave me their complete support. For all the rounds that were held in Colombo, the Principal made sure that the school van took me for each of them, and that I was accompanied by a teacher. I was the only student from my school who won a place at Toastmasters, and last year I was placed 2nd Runner Up at the Champion Juniors Speaker competition. My family and I are so grateful to Gateway because I would never have had the opportunity or the resources to participate in the competition in Colombo.

The great thing about my school is that they recognize your talents, and if you’re willing to put in hard work and be completely committed, they support you 100 percent and give you whatever it is you need to succeed. It could be teachers staying after school to give you that little bit of extra help, or the management offering you a word of encouragement and looking for new ways to have you explore your talent; Gateway is like a family always wanting what is best for you.

Despite all the extra-curricular activities I am involved in, my academic work has not suffered. I have my teachers to thank for that. They have always helped me to catch up on any work that I missed. During my IGCSE O levels, I felt no need to go for any tuition classes at all, because the school made sure that complete revision was done in all the subjects, including finishing and discussing past papers in class. I was very happy with my O level result of 10 A stars, one A and one B, which won me a full Gateway scholarship for my AS level year.

Gateway has given me a wonderful gift: the opportunity to express myself, and strive to be better. For all of these things, I am very thankful.