The star of this story is just 9, and a star she is, indeed. In fact, she is more than worthy of all the praise that comes her way!
Meet S Subbalakshmi – the nine-year-old nightingale who is no average girl; her journey of hard work and perseverance has resulted in her achieving brilliance at such a young age.
Hailing from an economically challenged family, her story began when she joined the Satya Bharti School, Pethachikudiruppu, Sivaganga, Tamil Nadu. Her parents always wanted her to study and excel in life. They were uneducated but recognized a keen interest in learning in their young daughter. They wanted her to receive the right guidance that would shape and mould her into a successful person.
Subbalakshmi was a brilliant student and excelled in almost all the subjects taught in school, and particularly enjoyed Mathematics. While she excelled in studies and showed great enthusiasm for all subjects, she still kept a part of herself hidden from the teachers and her classmates. It was during one of the outbound activities that her teachers stumbled upon her gift by accident. One day, all the children from her class were engaged in activities, but she sat alone quietly under a tree. She was so engrossed in softly singing her favorite song that she didn’t notice her Head Teacher approaching. Hearing her sing, the Head Teacher stood still and didn’t disturb the little girl. When she had finished, the Head Teacher was impressed by her talent and told her so.
Soon after, she became a part of the Student Empowerment program in the school. In the student engagement activities, mentor teachers encourage students to stretch their boundaries and ask them to participate in multi-disciplinary events, workshops, clubs and other special projects.
The teachers encouraged her to participate in the recital of Thirukkural, a classic Tamil Sangam piece of literature comprising of 1,330 couplets, composed by the poet Thiruvalluvar.
Every day after school, she and other students stayed back and practised the recital of this famous piece. In the beginning, it was very difficult for Subbalakshmi to understand or even pronounce certain words from the verses. However, her teachers encouraged her to keep practicing and not to give up. With time, after a lot of practice, she began to clearly and correctly enunciate the verses.
During one of the Parent-Teacher meetings, her teacher mentioned the upcoming event at which their daughter would be reciting the ‘Thirukkural’ verses. Her simple parents were taken aback at the news and noticing their reaction, the teacher realised that Subbalakshmi had not confided in them. However, they reasoned with her parents and thus, her journey continued in the world of singing.
Today, Subbalakshmi’s parents make sure that they attend all Parent-Teacher meetings to stay in touch with her progress. Their eyes shine with pride when their daughter’s achievements are featured in local newspapers and media. And the young girl is not resting on her laurels; she excels at academics and has already won several certificates and prizes for excellence. Her love for Mathematics is matched only by her prowess in recitation.
She is a sparkling example of the Bharti Foundation’s aim of providing holistic development and quality education to underprivileged children. Recently, the State Government also recognized Subbalakshmi’s talent through a scholarship, so that she can continue her studies upto Class XII, along with a cash prize of Rs. 10,000 – a first ever for the school and the district.
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