Guidance For Higher Studies For Highschool Students - 2011

In keeping with its commitment to promoting higher education among Tamil youths, yet another Career Counseling Workshop for Highschool Student was organized by the Association of Sri Lankan Graduates of Canada(ASGC) in partnership with the York Region District School Board (YRDSB) and the Canadian Tamil Alumni Association(CTAA). This extremely useful event for highschool students and their parents was held on Saturday October 29th, 2011 from 10am till 3pm at Middlefield Collegiate Institute. As usual, ASGC conducted the event free of charge and provided free lunch to about 300 students and parents who attended the workshop.

The plenary session of the workshop started with the welcome speech by the ASGC President Mr.Yaso Somalingam. Following the welcome speech, Mr. Cecil Roach, Superintendent of Education of YRDSB expressed YRDSB's happiness in supporting such an excellent workshop and appreciated the services provided by ASGC to the highschool students. Thereafter an inspirational keynote address was made by Dr. Meera Selvakone of Pinnacle Health Sciences Centre and York Central Hospital. In her address Dr. Selvakone highligted the importance of the workshop to students and parents in introducing career goals and suggesting paths to achieve these goals. She told the parents that the children may not follow the career paths they have chosen, but children are going to listen to the partens' advice and will need their support. Also she emphasized the important role of parents in guiding their children which cannot be undersestimated or taken for granted. Meera related to students by reflecting on her own experience of growing up in Vancouver. A final word of her advice to the students was to research all of the opportunities before coming up with a decision on a career choice and to be prepared to change as conditions change.

Ms. Suganja Sinnathamby, Workshop co-ordinator, while explaining the format of the workshop said that two sessions, one in the morning and other in the afternoon would cover fields of study : Life Science, Engineering and Applied Science, and Social & Business Studies. Each field of study would be addressed by 6 or 7 guest speakers, chosen on the basis of their academic and professional success. The students would be able to ask questions and the discussions would take place in an informal and friendly atmosphere. She also mentioned that the parents would have a separate session to deal with the issues specific to parents. Mr. Thaves Ponnampalam and Mr. Sukeevan Kailayapathy briefly introduced all the presenters to the audience. The list of presenters with their qualification and their places of work are given at the end of this article.

The highschool students were able to receive vital informaiton about the selection of courses and the career paths of different professions from the young graduates in the Tamil community. Similary parents collected very valuable information from a panel of speakers who have been involved with parent-school-community issues.

Finally, all the students and parents gathered in the main auditorium for summary and recap of the discussions. The moderators of each group presented a summary of the items discussed in their sessions. The panel of presenters and moderators answered the questions raised by the participants. Towards the end certificates were presented by ASGC to the presenters and to the volunteers in appreciation of their contribution.

Compiled by Dr. V. Manivannan
Executive Director
Association Of Srilankan Graduates Of Canada