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Leading by example: Samadhi Jayasuriya

When it comes to leading by example, few are better placed for success than 2021-2022 Head Girl, Samadhi Jayasuriya. In addition to her responsibilities as an outstanding student leader, the multi-talented teen was heavily involved in the inaugural Inspired Student Leadership Conference and the driving force behind the launch of a popular student newsletter.

Since beginning her secondary education at AIS in 2016, Samadhi Jayasuriya has loved her time at the school – from its close community feel to the musical events, camps and conferences, and the support and assistance of her teachers. So in her final year, she was determined to give back to the school that had given her so much.

Making the most of every opportunity that has come her way, the Year 13 role model focused on representing the student body during her senior years. As a result, she provided a fresh new perspective and energy as she contributed to the school’s development.

“This year was quite weird as several months of schooling were completed online due to Covid-19 restrictions. So it was important to work with my fellow Prefect team (including our Head Boy, Phi Bao Khanh) to encourage and engage our school community as much as possible.

“There are a lot of factors involved in being a good leader. For me, it means being a strong pillar that supports your teammates or community, and at the end of the journey (that being our school year), everyone feels proud about themselves, their peers, and what has been accomplished. This year, BK and I tried to make sure that everyone could voice their thoughts and feel proud of what they contributed to the community.”

But Samadhi didn’t just help guide the AIS student leadership team. She also brought a more global perspective to the school after participating in the Inspired Student Steering Committee.

Currently educating over 55,000 students, Inspired is a leading global premium schools group operating across Europe, Asia-Pacific, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America. As an Inspired school, AIS continues to deepen its international outlook through events such as this, preparing its students for tomorrow’s world.

“Last year, I was one of eleven students selected to form the Inspired Student Steering Committee,” Samadhi explains. “We were tasked with organising and hosting the first Inspired Global Student Leadership Conference.” 

Held over two days, the virtual conference was attended by Inspired students from around the world, ranging in ages from primary to college level. Its focus was directed toward two main areas – boosting environmental awareness and enhancing leadership skills and abilities.

“We arranged numerous presentations to highlight issues and educate the participants on various topics. The full-day programmes included renowned TED speakers, discussion sessions, workshops and debates. We were joined by over 300 students, which allowed young people from around the world to connect, communicate and collaborate.”

Additionally, Samadhi was responsible for launching a student newsletter which she created to not only share the school’s events and happenings but to highlight pressing global issues as well.

“My inspiration came from a conversation with a friend. I was telling them about a serious global issue they had never heard about. Since we are an international school, I figured it was essential to keep a connection with the rest of the world. I began by recruiting interested students, and we released newsletters monthly. They provided updates on what was happening in school and covered global topics such as women’s rights, Suicide Prevention Month, COP26, Transgender Awareness Week, Breast Cancer and Dyslexia Awareness.”

And if that wasn’t enough, the highly motivated 17-year-old was also juggling a full schedule of classes for the challenging International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme while immersing herself in a wide range of co-curricular activities.

"Since we needed to complete a CAS (Creativity, Activity, Service) project to pass the IB, I started pushing myself to try newer things in Years 11 to 13. I joined the Model United Nations team and was co-leader of the Global Issues Network Environmental Awareness group. I’ve been involved in the volleyball, football, soccer and dance squads, and I joined a couple of our school's musicals, helping backstage and even performing on stage for a few."

With plans to study commerce in Australia, the recent AIS graduate has already received offers from a wide range of top international universities. And regardless of the destination Samadhi selects, she is confident the lessons she has learnt from her time at the school have prepared her well for the future.

“The most important lesson I have learnt from AIS is that the things you do will impact someone, somewhere, even when you think nobody notices what you do. So keep that in mind and continue doing good things for yourself and your community. It will have a snowball effect, the positive effects growing larger and larger to benefit everyone.”

Samadhi with AIS Executive Principal, Davina McCarthy