She is known as a ‘portrait girl' among her friends. There is a reason: as a student, she had the rare opportunity of meeting several VIPs, including A. P. J. Abdul Kalam when he was the President and also Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi and draw their portraits on the spot.

P. S. Bharathy, a Class X student of S. E. V. Matriculation Higher Secondary School here has also displayed a portrait of success in the Board examinations this year by scoring 486 marks and securing third place in the district.

“Drawing is my hobby and I have won several prizes at the national level. A memorable moment was when Mr. Kalam gave me the chance to do on-the-spot portrait (soap carving) during one of his visits to Madurai as President. I met him at the Circuit House,” she said.

Her father being a drawing master at Al Ameen Higher Secondary School in the city, Bharathy's teachers described her passion for drawing as a “genetic influence.” The girl's sketching success also includes various other eminent figures such as A. B. Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh.

The Madurai student said that she did a project to show that drawing had a positive impact on the mental ability of challenged students “and it was for this project that Mr. Kalam sent a note asking her to meet him and explain the details.” Art and craft, clay modelling, portraits, natural sceneries, collage, soap carving and the determination to become a scientist are among the things that are going on in her mind right now.

S. Ayyappan, Principal, S. E. V. Matriculation Higher Secondary School, was a happy man when the student's name figured in the district toppers' list. “She has visited Singapore to participate in international events. Bharathy has won international certificates and the girl's plus point is her humility,” he said.

The girl's father Shanmughasundaram said that his daughter was very much interested in extracurricular activities and she had also started teaching drawing to students. This girl was among the district toppers who were felicitated by Collector C. Kamaraj at the Collectorate on Wednesday.