1.              In these days of technological advancement and social upliftment, it is difficult to believe that a college girl watches limited TV programmes only during vacations, hardly uses mobile, keeps away from Facebook, does not socialize and maintains 100 % attendance in College. This one of its kind girl happens to be the daughter of a car mechanic in Anand (Gujarat) whose monthly earnings happen to be a meager Rs 4000.She has created a record of sorts by winning not one, but fifteen gold medals, in the tenth convocation ceremony of Anand Agricultural University held in Jan 2014.These include the Vice Chancellor’s medal for the best student, subject wise toppers for each semester, and semester wise toppers. She also won two cash prizes worth Rs 14,000 instituted in the name of Dr Verghese Kurien, being the topper among girl students.
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It is my privilege to present before you Ms Silvia Sequeira, the gold medalist of SMC college of Dairy Science, Anand .Her father Mr Jerome Sequeira hails from Mangalore, and is a car mechanic in Anand.He studied only up to class X, but has high aspirations for his daughter, as he wants her to acquire the highest qualifications. He believes in simple living and high thinking.

After I managed to get his contact number, I rang up Mr. Jerome twice on a Sunday morning, to get some details for this success story but there was no reply. He called back after ten minutes, saying that he was in church, so could not attend my call. He spoke to me at length, giving me an insight in to the success story of his daughter. I hold him in very high esteem, for calling back an unknown number using his limited money.

The economic crunch in the family can be gauged from the fact that Mr. Jerome used to cover the hole in the sole of his shoe, using a piece of cardboard. Remembering the days when Silvia was studying in class XI, he recalls “she wanted to go for tuitions, but I could not afford it, so I told her to attend the class, but when the tutor would ask for the fees, then she should give me his contact number. I spoke to the tutor and explained my financial condition, and also emphasized the fact that my daughter had been attending classes every single day. They got convinced and never again demanded fees.”

He said when his daughter scored 78% marks in class XII examination; she got admission in Electrical Engineering, but she wanted to pursue a course in Dairy Technology. Being from the general category, Silvia has been hard hit by the reservation system in admission to educational institutions. In spite of getting high marks in the admission test, she had to accept a payment seat, for which Rs 25000 per semester were to be deposited. Initially Rs 50,000 was to be deposited for the first two semesters. This posed a big challenge. Finding no way out, Mr. Jerome had to borrow Rs 50,000 from the owner of the garage where he was working. Next year Silvia took an education loan of Rs two lakhs, to meet the expenditure of the remaining semesters.

Silvia is presently pursuing M.Tech in Dairy Microbiology from National Dairy Research Institute, Karnal, Haryana.She aspires to become a Professor and guide needy and deserving students to achieve their goals. She gives all the credit of her success to her father and mother, whom she considers as her role model with pride. She is also grateful to her teachers for helping and guiding her. Some of them even paid her fees in times of need.

She likes to read the Reader’s Digest in her spare time. Silvia has been inspired by the life and philosophy of our ex President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam whose book “Wings of fire “is among her favorite books. She believes that ,if you dream with your eyes open, rather than while sleeping, the chances of realizing your dreams are pretty high. When asked to give a message for the upcoming students, and share her secret of success, she said “studying with single minded devotion, without any tension or worry and having faith in God”. In fact Silvia has total faith in God, who has been guiding and helping her in all the difficult situations of life. “Whatever I have achieved in life, it is because of the blessings of God” she adds with a smile, which exudes confidence.

(The above success story is based on the interview of Ms Silvia by Maj Pradeep Khare)