When Walnut Grove’s Prabhasha Wickramaarachchi is asked where she finds the time to do everything — as she often is — she usually responds that it’s all about doing what you love, what you are “passionate” about.
“For me, it never feels like a burden,” Wickramaarachchi explains.
At 18, the Walnut Grove Secondary student is a champion athlete and outstanding student, who has won an athletic scholarship to a U.S. university.
And now, she can add the Pete Swensson Outstanding Community Youth Award to her ever-lengthening list of accomplishments.
Awarded annually to a Langley student in grade 11 or 12 to recognize athletic achievements, scholastic effort, community involvement, and personal qualities, the award is in memory of Pete Swensson, an internationally recognized athlete and originator of the Langley Walk (Wickramaarachchi was one of several local residents recognized for their outstanding achievements in different areas by the Township of Langley in July).
As a member of the Walnut Grove track and field team, who trains with Universal Athletics Club, she has won fistfuls of medals in local, provincial, and national competitions.
Wickramaarachchi is a three-time Fraser Valley champion, one of the best track and field athletes in B.C., and one of the top 400M hurdlers in Canada, who won the club award for most improved athlete for the 2019 season.
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All this while maintaining an average of 97 per cent, making Wickramaarachchi one of the top graduating students at Walnut Grove Secondary, with academic awards for pre-AP biology, pre-calculus, and French.
She was also the Concours D’art Oratoire French Speech Champion for Langley in both 2015 and 2018 and topped her school’s chemistry contest.
And that’s not all.
Wickramaarachchi has committed over 400 hours to her school’s humanitarian club, is part of Langley’s youth homelessness initiative, serves with the Starfish Backpack program and ocean research team, and raises funds for several causes.
As well, she is the founder of operation safety, health, and education – which purchases supplies for a girls’ orphanage in Sri Lanka.
People sometimes ask her if she ever sleeps.
“Yeah, totally,” an amused Wickramaarachchi will reply.
She comes from a family where getting an education has always been very important to succeed, while athletic prowess just hasn’t been part of the equation.
At least, not until she started racking up medals.
“Track is still kind of new to me,” she commented.
“When I first joined, it was like a hobby. [But] I wasn’t ready to drop it.”
The result; an athletic scholarship at the University of Idaho.
In a statement announcing her signing, the university described her as “very talented hurdler and jumper.”