Knowledge Strengthens the World
Honorable Mention



2018 High School Winners

2018 Advancing Women and Girls


By: Shanuki Wickremasinghe

Walnut High School
Walnut, CA


Shanuki Wickremasinghe is from La Puente, CA and is a sophomore at Walnut High School. She has been learning about population and its impacts in her Human Geography class where her teacher introduced the World of 7 Billion contest as an extra credit opportunity. She earned that credit and then some, submitting videos for all three topics! Shanuki moved from Sri Lanka when she was eight, and says she feels it is an amazing privilege to have equal education for boys and girls here in the U.S. She wants every child in India, Sri Lanka, and the rest of the world to have the same opportunities, which is why she focused on education in her video.

This was Shanuki’s filmmaking debut and she relied heavily on internet research to explore the topic, contest rules, and prepare herself for production. The technical aspects of creating her video – such as keeping the camera in place and still while drawing, and recording the voice over information – were the most challenging part of the process for her. When asked what advice she might give future participants, Shanuki encourages them to look at the big picture impact a video could make. She says “the world is what they want to make it, and making a video is doing something great.” She believes the World of 7 Billion videos can really help “other people understand the daunting problems we face” as a global society.

In her time outside of school, Shanuki loves cooking and spending time in nature, especially in the red wood forests near where she lives. She enjoys various artistic pursuits, playing the trumpet in her school’s marching band and drawing. In the future, Shanuki shared that she might want to be an architect who designs environmentally sustainable buildings. As for her prize money, Shanuki plans to use it to help some families in need she knows back in Sri Lanka.