It was one fine evening of December vacation and I was chilling with my girls having a chat with them. Then suddenly I saw a message from Thareesha Akki in the Gavel Poddas group saying that they had exciting news for all of us. All of us Poddas were curious about what was going to happen and everybody started guessing what it could be. We had so many wonderful guesses in the poddas groups that was active before. After noticing that we had not even come closer to what was going to be revealed, our Madam President Loshini Akki finally introduced what it was, calling us for the Organizing Committee of VORBITOR’23. All the Poddas were wondering what this VORBITOR could be. Then Loshini Akki stepped forward and introduced us that it was the Intra-University Speech Competition organized by the Gavel Club with a long history.
I was not interested at all in applying for the OC, but Loshini Akki encouraged me to do so saying that it’d be a great memory in my life. I took up the challenge and had the interview for the organizing committee selections with Thareesha akki and Siluni akki. Fortunately, I could face it easily, although I had a fear of facing interviews. After some time, I got a message from Thareesha Akki mentioning that I have been selected for the OC. I was overjoyed by seeing that, and my joy was doubled when I heard that my friend Tavishi also had been selected.
Days passed, and we had our first OC meeting one night. The whole OC was comprised of 38 amazing individuals and was divided into seven teams, namely: Events, Logistics, External Relations and Finance, Media & Editorial, Delegates, and Public Relations. The meeting started with an interesting ice-breaking session where we had to tell two truths and one lie about ourselves and others had to guess it. Then we were introduced to the tasks that we had to fulfill along the journey by our Madam President and the other Co-Chair akkis.
I was in the Team Delegates, where at first, I had no idea of what exactly I should do. Nirantha Akki was our Team Head who was a kind, affectionate, cute, and loving soul and we had two other members in our team along with me. We had our first team meeting and we could win the heart of Nirantha Akki by attending the meeting on time :). Since then, we had plenty of work to do as a team: finding delegates, sharing flyers with all the faculties, maintaining the registrants, and much more. Not only our team but also the other six teams had the same amount or more than that to do as parts of the OC: creating flyers, making captions, finding logistics, looking for sponsorships etc.
The VORBITOR Registrations initially started on the 22nd of December, to be exact. Since that very moment, we had a great count of registrants until the registrations were closed. Then afterward Team Delegates had to do the biggest task of handling all those registrants. It was an unforgettable experience indeed and we got to know many people from different faculties who had different personalities.
The Preliminary Round of VORBITOR was scheduled to be held on the 14th of January, so we wanted all of our registrants to be well-prepared for the competition. Thus, we had three successful workshops before their Preliminary round. The very first workshop was conducted by the well-known Toastmaster Dilan Joseph on the guidelines of preparing the script of the speech whereas the second workshop was led by the Toastmaster Ravi Uduwela on body language which is really important when delivering a speech. The final workshop before the Preliminary round was conducted by Nicolo Warnakula Aiya, who was a past Vorbitor winner and a past Gavelier. I believe that all these three workshops were of great support for our registrants and of course, they were interesting as well.
Finally, everything was ready for the Preliminary round. We had it at the Science Auditorium of the Faculty of Applied Sciences and the majority of the registrants were present on that day. Registrants were divided into four panels and I played the role of the Sergeant-at-Arms in Panel 01. We got to listen to exciting and motivating speeches of our own friends and I felt how smart all of them were. The competition was over, and everybody was excited to know who the winners were. Preliminary Round winners were announced, but for me, everybody was a winner at that very moment by taking courage to participate in such a competition.
After the formalities were done, we had our own time with our fellow gaveliers. Everybody was busy taking photos with everybody. I could see laughs on everyone’s faces as they have done a difficult task with great success. We had our lunch at the Gavel room itself and the whole Gavel room was filled with lots of fun talk. Everybody had something to say; they cracked jokes, took funny videos and photos of others, and not to forget that we spoiled the most innocent girl of our poddas as well. That day ended by having the tastiest ice creams from Cremeo and at the end, our hearts were full of happiness, satisfaction, and memories.
The first hurdle was done, and then came the next: the Semi-Finals of VORBITOR!. The 12 enthusiastic semi-finalists were getting ready for the next step in their journey. Meanwhile, we had a food stall as well in pursuit of finding funds for VORBITOR which was really fun and our gavelier Nisali introduced us to her special mojito recipe as well. Just like it was for the Preliminary round, we had two insightful workshops before the Semi-Finals as well, which were conducted by Toastmasters Chamin Athauda and Shamen Sameera. Unfortunately, we had to postpone the Semi-Finals by two days, but we held it successfully on the 31st of January. We had the Semi-Finals at the Munasinghe Hall of the Faculty of Management Studies and Commerce in an evening, and all the semifinalists showcased their invaluable talents on the stage. When the competition was over, we ended up having 6 talented finalists!
We were getting ready for the final hurdle of the journey: the Grand Finale! Everybody in the OC had a hard time preparing everything to perfection for the finals. We, as the Team Delegates had to call and invite all our past gavelier akkis and aiyas to the Grand Finale in which some of our friends also gave us a hand. That was also a good experience indeed.
Then I woke up to the day which I was long waiting for! The 11th of February, the Grand Finale of VORBITOR’23! All the OC members were dressed up in sarees and full suits which brought glamour to the event. From the early morning, we had lots of work to get done, although we did some decorations the day before as well. However, at around 9 o’clock in the Sri Sumangala Auditorium, the event started. In the first half of the event, we had intuitive speeches from the chief guest, guest of honor, and other guests who were present on that day. Eminentium’23, the Annual Installation Ceremony of the Executive Committee, and the Induction of new club members of the Gavel Club also took place in the first half of the event.
Then we had the final round of VORBITOR in the second half of the event. Six enthusiastic speakers showed their talents off in a way that the whole audience got attracted to their way of speaking. After the competition was over, our own poddas performed an entertainment item to which all of us were spellbound! By and by, we came to the end of the event. The winners were announced and all of them seemed happy about what they had just achieved! After the event, as it always happen, everybody was in their own worlds, busy taking photos. We were lucky enough to listen to a song from our Madam President Loshini Akki as well at the end which was so fascinating. Then we gathered around and had a sing-along session with our Loku Lokkas which I will never forget in my entire life. That marked the end of the VORBITOR’23 journey which gave us lots of undying memories for the rest of our lives! WE DID IT!
As gavelier Gihan always says, “Gavel is all about people!”. I agree with every letter of it. It’s a feeling, it’s a bond, it’s one whole family which we nourish each and every single day. So for me, VORBITOR’23 was not just an event that the Gavel Club organized, but an event that strengthened the bond we had for each other!