PUDUKKOTTAI: K Jayalakshmi, a Class 11 government school student, is all set to visit National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in May next year, after having won an online competition. That the girl is a Tamil medium student and had taken English coaching classes for a month, scoring ‘Grade 2’ and coming up as best performer makes the victory sweeter.
Jayalakshmi has sought help from the Collector to meet her travel expenses. Being her family’s sole breadwinner, she has to take care of her mentally challenged mother and younger brother. She is taking tuition classes for Class 8 and 9 students, besides selling cashews to make ends meet. Jayalakshmi is one of the select few who will be getting a full tour of NASA and an opportunity to interact with astronauts.
The winners will also be taken to nearby tourist attractions like Disney World for five days. She is a science student at the government high school in Adanakottai. It was by chance she came to know of the competition conducted by Go4Guru. “APJ Abdul Kalam is one of my inspirations. As I studied more about space, my interest increased,” she said.
‘I hope to inspire others from govt schools’
"When I was practising for a carrom match, I saw a newspaper lying beside the board. It had a story about Dhaanya Thasnem, who won a chance to go to NASA last year. I was intrigued and immediately went home and registered for the exam," she said.
Jayalakshmi has also won numerous scholarships such as the National Means Cum-Merit Scholarship. However, the trip to NASA poses a challenge. Travel expenses are likely to be around Rs 1.69 lakh.
"My father lives separately and sends money once a while. My teachers and students pitched in to help me get a passport. The passport officers also offered me Rs 500. I have requested the Collector to help me with expenses," said Jayalakshmi. She hopes her victory would inspire others from government schools to take part.
Jayalakshmi tasted her first victory when a younger student asked her about the details of the contest. "I want to make a rocket-like Abdul Kalam. No one from a government school has won this trip. I want to inspire government school students. If I can do it, so can they," she said, making her school principal and teachers proud.
The beaming principal said, "She is a very talented girl and has been winning several competitions. The sky is the limit for her."