When Maulashree Shanbhag, a Class 9 student of Smt Sulochanadevi Singhania School, Thane, was pulled out of her class by her father last month, she did not know why. When he told her that she had won the Hindustan Times’ scholarship, she was overjoyed.
“I was surprised and thrilled,” said Shanbagh, who is among the 50 winners of the Hindustan Times Scholarship Programme 2012.
Each winner will receive Rs 50,000 and a trophy and certificate at a felicitation ceremony at Shanmukhanananda Hall in Sion on Friday. Tennis star Leander Paes, filmmakers Amol Gupte and R Balki, and mountaineer Arjun Vajpai will participate in a panel discussion.
In its second year, the programme received more than 42,500 applications from 275 schools. Students wrote an essay on ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’
“The program motivates students to work hard and accomplish their goals,” said Arjun Vajpai, the youngest Indian to have scaled the Everest.
“Every child must conquer a mountain to reach the top in their respective fields.”
HT Mumbai’s resident editor Soumya Bhattacharya and deputy resident editor Pravin Nair interviewed the 150 shortlisted candidates to select 50 winners.
“It was a delight to interview the children. All of them were very bright and aware. Each pupil was talented, articulate, intelligent, full of ideas and originality,” said Bhattacharya.
A delighted Siddhant Iyer, 12, a Class 8 student of Gundecha Education Academy, Kandivli, said he was happy that his thoughts were appreciated. Iyer, who wants to be a neurosurgeon, had written about how he would like to be a good human being first.
“I wish to give back to society,” Iyer said.
Jayashree Narayan, vice principal, Gokuldham High School, Goregaon, said, “The initiative was great and gave us an insight into the minds of the younger generation.” Parents are also pleased with the prize money.
“The programme is encouraging for students,” said Maulashree’s father, Bhushan.