The love for languages among city students was evident when the board announced the list of prize winners from subject-wise toppers of the Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) examinations. Of the five students from the city who were on the list of prize winners, three have excelled in a foreign language.
Harshada Lonkar, the daughter of an autorickshaw driver from Kondhwa and a student of Marathwada Mitra Mandal’s College of Commerce, was awarded Sarang Sathe Award for getting 81 out of 100 in Japanese language, a score which helped her top the Pune division.
Ecstatic about her achievement, the student admits it was her love for Anime (Japanese cartoons) which made her take up the language.
“Since school, I was crazy about Japanese cartoons and it was the first time I realised that I want to learn the language too. Hence, after passing my Std X board examinations, I directly joined the Ranade Institute of Foreign Languages for their certificate course and the next year I took a diploma course which I did alongside my HSC board exam preparations. Now, I am hooked to the language and going for an advanced diploma course,” she said. However, unlike most students who take up a foreign language to pursue a career related to it, Lonkar says she is not so sure.
“I want to take a commerce graduation degree but I am not sure if I want to pursue a career related to Japanese language, I am learning it just out of passion,” she said.
The second prize winner in Japanese language, 17-year-old Ayli Pramod Ghiya from S P College who scored 76/100, said her interest in Japanese started two years ago when she went on a cultural program to Japan in order to perform in a play in that country.
“Japan is a wonderful country and fascinates me,” said Ayli, adding that it was the language which piqued her curiosity. Ayli admits that Japanese was difficult for her in the early stages but now she can speak as well as read and write Japanese with a fair amount of fluency. In the future, Ayli wants to study architecture or interior design and is particularly fascinated by Japanese architecture. She also hopes to return to Japan at some point in the near future. “I can’t wait to go back because this time I’ll be able to speak to the people in their language,” exclaims a beaming Ayli.
The third language scorer was Apoorva Karambelkar, a student of Brihan Maharashtra College of Commerce, who stood first in Pune division by securing full marks in French in her HSC examination. The 17-year-old who has been awarded Y K Soni and Roma Kantak Award, thanked her parents and teachers for their support.
Topping exams though is not new to her as she has topped her school in SSC and has been the board topper in Sanskrit and Social studies.
“Languages have always fascinated me and that’s why when I had a choice, I took up Sanskrit. I didn’t have the choice then for French or I would taken it up,” said the teenager. A badminton player, who has played up to the district level, she wants to pursue a career in Chartered Accountancy (CA) and is currently preparing for the Common Proficiency Test exam.
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The fourth winner was Riya Thakur, another student of Brihan Maharashtra College of Commerce who topped the Pune division by securing 92 marks in English in HSC examination. Winner of the Shrimati Seetabai Kale and Dr Bapuji Shalunke award, Riya said that she started preparing for her exams from the beginning of the year and self-studied for four hours every day.
“I believe in studying smartly and qualitatively rather than cramming up at the last moment”, she added. She too hopes to be a chartered accountant. Apart from academics, Riya is fond of making portraits and sketching and which she kept up during her free time.