See My Story - Marliese Liyanage


I am privileged to have attended one of Sri Lanka’s most prestigious international schools – Gateway College, Colombo. I joined Gateway when I was 7 years old, and as I grew, I watched the school grow. Gateway celebrates you – and encourages you to be the best you can be.

Gateway gave me every opportunity to realize my talents and also to showcase them. Achievements are always recognized and aptly rewarded at Gateway and as a result I received a double promotion in Primary school from Year 2 to Year 4. I was appointed the Head Girl of the Primary school, when I was 10 years old, and this instilled a deep sense of responsibility and cultivated leadership skills, at an early age in my life. Then I had the honour of being appointed as the Head Girl of Gateway College, Colombo in my final year of school, which was a challenging and yet rewarding year for me.

The school believes that academic excellence alone is not sufficient to build a well-rounded individual, and not enough to prepare a student to face the challenges that lie ahead in this competitive world. So every initiative is taken by the school to ensure that a wide variety of interesting extra-curricular activities are provided. I held many office-bearer posts in several school societies – such as President of the Environmental Society, President of the English Literary Association, Director of the Model United Nations Club, Chief Editor of the school newspaper “Gateway Chronicles”, Director Finance Interact Club, House Secretary etc. I was a member of the school Swimming Team, the School Choir and Western Dance Troupe. I excelled in piano music sitting for Trinity Guildhall and ABRSM examinations. Gateway gave me numerous opportunities to perform to school audiences, which reiterates the fact that student talent is recognized and rewarded.

Debating at Model United Nations conferences was an activity of paramount interest to me. I have participated in several island-wide conferences and represented Gateway at international Model United Nations Conferences and Simulation SAARC Summits, and throughout the years this sharpened my public speaking skills and negotiating skills. In fact my first experience with public speaking was when I compered Gateway’s Awards Day for the Kid’s School of Computing at the BMICH, at the age of 10.

Having won Best Delegate Awards at Sri Lanka Model United Nations (SLMUN), I was appointed the President of the Human Rights Council and an Executive Officer for the SLMUN Conference 2011. I am proud to say that I was offered the coveted position of Secretary General of Sri Lanka Model United Nations 2012 by the Charge D’Affaires of SLMUN. However, most regretfully, I had to decline the post as I accepted my Scholarship from the University of Canterbury.

With such an array of extra-curricular activities, I was occasionally told by my parents that I was biting off more than I could chew. However, my dear dedicated teachers who were so passionate about the subjects they taught, made learning a truly interesting experience. I am grateful to them for assisting me to obtain 6 A Stars and 4 As at IGCSE, 4 As and 1 B at AS Level and an A and 2 Bs at Advanced Level.

My most recent achievement was being awarded a full academic Scholarship by the University of Canterbury, in Christchurch, New Zealand, for which I was nominated by Dr. Harsha Alles, Director of Gateway College. I am thankful to the Gateway Directorate for being so supportive and giving me every opportunity.

The fundamental essence of Gateway’s success is the family feeling – there is a sense of unity and everyone is made to feel that they belong. Our Founder and Chairman, Mr. R.I.T. Alles, one of Sri Lanka’s renowned educationists, was a father figure to us all. I enjoyed my school days immensely and I am greatly looking forward to life at University of Canterbury!