West Pembroke student breaks world record
Many youngsters grumble when they have to study, but Vikashni Ragunathan loves it.
The eight-year-old memorised the world's flags last month — for fun.
She might now be on her way into the Guinness Book of World Records.
The current record for the most flags named in a minute is 104. The Royal Gazette watched as the West Pembroke Primary School student named 105 flags in 54 seconds.
“It started as a school project to celebrate 100 days of school,” said Vikashni. “We had to come up with 100 things and I put together 100 national flags.”
Before she started the project she could only identify about 25 of the flags.
“When I took the project to my teacher, Denise Booth, I said the names of the flags really fast,” she said. “The teacher said, ‘My goodness, I wonder if that's a world record?' I named them in front of the whole school and they were really impressed.”
Vikashni's mother, Lavanya Balakrishnan, looked into the process of being considered for a world record. Ms Balakrishnan found out that to apply, an official from the Guinness Book of World Records had to be flown in or the event could be video recorded and witnessed by a member of the press.
She'll know if she has broken the record in six weeks.
Vikashni started practising this month — after she'd finished her homework.
“It took me about four days to learn all the flags,” she said. “I had to do about five tries before I could say the flags in less than a minute. The first time I did it, it was in a minute and five seconds.”
Through the process Vikashni learnt something of the world.
“I had to look up Haiti and Fiji, because I'd never heard of those places,” she said.
“Also, I decided I wanted to visit France and see the Eiffel Tower.”
Her favourite flags by far, are Bermuda's and India's.
“That's because my parents are from Chennai, India, and I was born in Bermuda, she said.
Vikashni said she gets top marks at school, and hopes to become a doctor one day.
Her father, Ragunathan Ramanathan, is chief technology officer at Fort Knox Bermuda Limited; her mother is the technical solutions firm's electronic publishing manager.
Vikashni did the count in front of her parents' colleagues shortly before she met with The Royal Gazette.
After her demonstration, at least one staff member tried but stumbled after naming four flags and had to be guided by Vikashni.
“I want to be a doctor because I love science and maths,” she said. “I think it is a good fit.”
When she's not studying, she loves drawing and playing chess.
If her record is accepted the reward will be a certificate and an official listing in the Guinness Book of World Records.
“It will be exciting to see my name in a book,” she said.
When this record is dusted, she plans to work on saying the periodic table in less than a minute. The current record is 9.38 seconds.