Oh The Places She Will Go

Shanika Silva, senior at Friendswood High School has made the Business Professionals of America (BPA) club proud by taking home many awards and titles at public speaking competitions across the country.

Silva, started her journey at Cline Elementary as a kindergartener, and she is proud to be graduating May 2015 as a “12-year FISD student.”

At the start of her freshman year, Silva was eager to get connected within the school to find her place as a Mustang.

“I think I signed up for every club my freshman year, in hopes of finding what I would enjoy! ” she said with a chuckle.

Beginning her high school career in Lisa Sargent’s – Intro To Business class, and Melissa Victorick’s Speech course helped Silva declare her path of public speaking in the BPA club.

“My teacher, Mrs. Victorick, had everything to do with my passion for public speaking! She was an amazing teacher and I loved the class and she has worked with me every year since. I thank FISD for hiring her as a teacher every time I’m preparing for a speech competition,” Silva said.

Preparing a speech for Silva starts with inspiration, followed by thinking of a topic, making an outline, and completing a speech of five-seven minutes long.

Silva finds motivation through volunteering and tending to those in need. She has served as the president of the nonprofit organization Youth Sri Lanka American Association of Houston. (YSLAAH) This foundation has raised money to support treatment costs for cancer patients, the Wounded Warrior Project, and volunteer work around community. Additionally, she is a part of Revive to Survive, where she has her own project called The Big Picture. Silva uses her love for art to enhance therapy for youth patients at UTMB and National Cancer Institute Sri Lanka.

Silva has also finds inspiration through her favorite children’s book Oh The Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss. The message of the book reflects a valuable lesson of life, which Silva quotes and incorporates in all of her speeches.

Freshman year, Silva wrote a BPA competition speech about customer service, and incorporated “Step with care and great tact and remember life’s a great balancing act.

Sophomore year, her BPA speech was about attitude of business. This speech is where she earned her place as a National Alternate, and once again used the words of Dr. Seuss.

You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You’re on your own, and you know what you know. And you are the guy who’ll decide where to go.”

Junior year, Silva took first place at Nationals with her speech topic bringing business back to America. “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”

As a Senior this year, Silva is not only preparing for the spring speech competitions, but also her college career after she graduates high school. Along with plans of continuing public speaking, Silva hopes to earn a degree in business and mathematics and is applying to schools across the nation. Silva is the daughter of Thusitha and Gayani Silva of Friendswood.