Shalini Natarajan, a junior wing NCC cadet of St. Joseph's Convent Anglo-Indian Higher Secondary School here, has gained rich experience representing the Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Andaman and Nicobar NCC Directorate contingent during the Republic Day camp held at New Delhi last month.

The highlight of the camp was the visit of the cadets to the Rashtrapathi Bhavan and the residences of Prime Minister, Chiefs of the Army, Navy and Air Force.

Young Shalini Natarajan attached to 4 Tamil Nadu Girls Battalion, NCC Tiruchi, was a proud participant of the Prime Minister's Rally and got the golden opportunity to witness the colourful parade at the Rajpath.

Being a part of the All India Central Cultural Team, she got an opportunity to present cultural programmes at the Rashtrapathi Bhavan. She was lucky cadet to have received a gift hamper from the Prime Minister during visit to his house.

Manmohan Singh had a word of praise for Shalini when he said “I congratulate your extraordinary work in this young age”. “It was a thrilling experience to visit Rashtrapathi Bhavan and Prime Minister's residence. The kind words of Prime Minister still rings in my ears and I will cherish this golden opportunity for ever,” she said with excitement writ on her face. On their return, the Tamil Nadu contingent members visited the Raj Bhavan and presented cultural programmes in the presence of Governor Surjit Singh Barnala. Prior to the RD camp, Shalini Natarajan participated in a dozen camps besides three selection camps. She was adjudged the State-level Best Cadet. At the Chief Minister's Banner Function held at Chennai, the State Youth Affairs Minister presented a cheque for Rs. 3,000 to Shalini in recognition of her achievement.

She also won the gold medal in firing. The 4 TN Girls Battalion NCC, presented her a cheque for Rs. 2,500 and a special prize. Shalini is thankful to Sr. Mangala Mary, Headmistress of her school, Lt. Col. Sanjay Anand, Commanding Officer, 4 TN Girls Battalion NCC, Chiquteta Antonette Pinher, Associate NCC officer and CHM Dharmarao, the drill instructor, who accompanied the contingent to New Delhi, for all the support extended to her.