“There are two things in this world, the possible and the impossible. We do what’s possible, strive for the impossible, and let God handle the rest”.
– Ashane Francis, Head Prefect, S Thomas’ College Mt. Lavinia
I had the privilege of interviewing the Head Prefect of the College, Ashane Francis recently. We touched on an array of topics but the three that stood out most for me were his views on, prefect ship and its responsibilities, sports and its value, Christianity and his faith. Let me share with you some of the experiences and thoughts of this outstanding student.
On Prefect ship and responsibilities
Ashane expressed that he is privileged to hold this prestigious position in the College but he also stated that “with great privileges come great responsibility” responsibilities he is ready, willing and able to undertake. A large portion of student discipline and student coordination falls under the purview of the Head Prefect of the College and it is not a task that can be taken lightly.
The Head Prefect of the college has to be someone charismatic enough to inspire us all and of course Ashane has not fallen short on that score. It is our Warden’s philosophy to lead by example, an ability possessed by Ashane, and one which many of us may find extremely difficult to do. I asked Ashane which character trait of his singled him out to be appointed Head Prefect, his response was, all his fellow Prefects have equal skill and he cannot consider himself better than any one of them, but he simply said “It is an opportunity granted to me by the Lord to influence and inspire people in whatever way possible as the Head Prefect”. Ashane’s attitude no doubt is a lesson in humility to us all. As I said earlier the Prefect body has many responsibilities and many duties to fulfill. But apart from that, one of the more unique features of our College Prefects is that they set goals which they strive to achieve during their tenure of office. The current batch of prefects is no different. Ashane has drawn up plans to uplift the standard of discipline in the school that will turn boys into men of great character and valor, true to the mighty name of a staunch Thomian.
The question that’s on everyone’s mind is how does this busy student manage to balance all the duties that come along with being Head Prefect and Captain of two sports and with that all important commitment he has to make to academics. It’s no simple task and Ashane doesn’t downplay it at all, he says that apart from the large amount of time he spends in the pool he makes it a point to spend time with his books. Ashane’s parents stand in the background ever ready to give him the required support for which he is definitely grateful. Dineth Francis Ashane’s elder brother, who was also a College Prefect and Vice-Captain of water polo in his time at College, has been a guide and mentor to Ashane, and despite being in America he still finds time for Ashane and is a great source of inspiration for him.
Being appointed a Prefect, let alone the Head Prefect is a privilege which is set apart for the finest of students, and to be amidst the few who do make it, is something to be proud of. I think that we should have infinite respect for these outstanding students because to be quite frank, they have earned it.
On Sports and its values
Ashane is a sportsman par excellence, who has dominated every sport he engages in. At College Ashane rules the swimming pool, captaining two main water sports, water polo and diving and is the Vice Captain of swimming. He has the rare distinction of having represented the country in water polo and was Vice Captain of that team as well. Now as Captain of these two sports in College, Ashane has taken it upon himself to maintain the high standards set by his predecessors to bring glory and honor to his alma mater. The team spirit which lies with the teams is one that has taken them far and along with help from the coaches, this task is very real and achievable.
Some people may fail to see the value in sports because unlike a university degree, the knowledge and skills gained through sports can’t easily be put onto paper, but it does reflect through the lives of sportsmen and sportswomen. Ashane says that perseverance and determination are two qualities sports has taught him but more importantly he said that it has taught him humility and discipline and went on to say that these qualities will be useful for anyone to be successful later on in life.
Apart from all of that, sports grants you experiences in life which are invaluable. Ashane’s most cherished memory is scoring his first goal when he was 16 years old, at the Dr. R.L.Haymen encounter in 2013, which incidentally was won by STC after a lapse of two years, making it that much more memorable for him. I think Ashane will agree with me when I say that his sporting career has helped him in countless ways and is something that he values greatly.
On Christianity and his faith
That Ashane is a devout Christian is common knowledge. Every speech he makes begins by giving thanks to God, such is his devotion. “My journey towards where I am has not been an easy one. There have been a lot of ups and downs but the person I am today is because of my faith in Jesus. Everything I do I believe that he has a plan and purpose for me in life. I know everyone will not agree with me on this but according to my view I believe that anything can be done through faith and prayer” was Ashane’s response to my question on his faith.
The Student Christian Movement (SCM) has been one of the oldest religious societies in College. Ashane was the President of SCM and has made many a contribution to the College and Chapel through the SCM. He said “I myself was once a student who went astray and turned back on to the right track because of the SCM. Over the past few years in our annual residential camp many students come and confess and give their life to Christ. I believe that more opportunities like this should be given to the SCM to bring back the boys who have gone astray.” Ashane’s faith has played a big role in his life and his faith is indeed admirable.
There are many things that can make a man great; there are only a few things that make him a gentleman. I hope I was able to share some of those things with you through Ashane’s achievements and experiences.
I will leave you with Ashane’s message to everyone “Life is always not about success. In order to be successful there will be many ups and downs in life. Whatever you do in life do it to the best of your ability, start having faith in your religion and be courageous and stay humble. For all Thomians young and old remember, ‘you belong to one of the best schools in the world. A school with splendid traditions and a most honorable name and I charge you to try and handover those traditions and name to those who come after you untarnished and unimpaired’ “
STC Media Unit