PRIZE GIVING AUGUST 06,2004
Welcoming the Chief Guest
REV.Sirs, our chief guest Mr.Jayawardena, MRs.Jayawardena,
Deer Parents, Old Boys, Well-wishers, Members of the Tutorial
Staff, Members of the Administrative Staff and Children of
Today, We warmly welcome into our midst this morning our
Chief Guest Mr.U D Jayawardena, a distinguished old boy of
The College and Mrs.Jayawardena who had been kind enough to
accept our invitation and be present here to share with us
the happiness of this very special day.
I am also privileged to welcome the Parents, The Old Boys,
The Members of the Tutorial Staff, The Members of the Administrative
Staff, The Well-Wishers, All other employees of the College
an the Students who are present here to witness these events,
to cheer the prize winners and also to encourage colleagues.
I came to know Mr.Jayawardena in his early years as a bright
student of Lower Fourth form, when he used to carry away most
number of prizes, if not all, at annual prize givings, such
as today. I am sure his thoughts without his knowledge might
begoing back several years, the time he was a student here,
looking eagerly forward to collect many a prize he had won
with his parents anxiously awaiting the arrival of the happy
Mr.Jayawardena as far as I am aware need no introduction,
still I consider it my duty to mention a few of his achievements
in the field of studies, which any Thomian could be proud
of, a distinguished old boy, initially at Gurutalawa and later
on at Mt.Lavinia excelled in studies before gaining admission
to The University of Moratuwa, form where he passed out with
a second class honours degree in Electrical Engineering. His
academic excellence saw him been appointed a fellow of The
Institution of Engineers of U.K. and also a Fellow of the
Institution of Engineers of Sri Lanka. He, at present is the
Chief Executive Officer of the Lanka Transformers Group of
Companies, better known as LTL a pioneer transformer manufacturer
in Sri Lanka, by virtue is a very crucial player in The Power
and Energy sector today. A company that commenced its business
with a modest capital of Rs.15 Million today is a giant in
its field, was able to achieve its present successes without
doubt due to the untiring efforts and dedication of Mr.Jayawardena.
The profit it had recorded in excess of Rs.500 Million speaks
volumes for his capabilities and determination and courage.
It is also under the guidance of Mr.Jayawardena, I am sure
that Lanka Transformers were able to diversify its operations
to other fields of engineering such a Manufacture of switch-board
gear, construction of a Grid sub-stations and transmission
lines, Hot-dip galvanizing, Power generation, steel fabrication,
Mini-Hydro Power Development, IT Solutions and Energy Services,
to mention a few.
Although, Mr.Jayawardena is a man of few words I have been
made to understand that he is about the most popular C E O.
in town to day who very well understands problems faced by
employees, get actively involved with view to finding solutions
with a humane touch. He, I am fold is not only concerned about
employees working in companies under his charge, but also
about the society at large. Mr.Jayawardena, let me tell you,
that, it is an honour to have you with us today as an epitome
of an old by of S.Thomas’. You certainly have done us
Our country, Sri Lanka is facing many a challenge today,
on the one hand those leading to advancement of the society
such a Globalization, Developments in the field of Information
Technology, Open Economy and Privatization. On the other,
events of the not too distant past, not experienced up till
then, the long protracted ethnic hostilities, extreme poverty
sharing in the eyes of a majority of rural folk and grave
unemployment problem common to all strata of the society,
which demands immediate attention of those in authority at
From this perspective, education cannot be considered aloof
from societal needs. The society needs to be sensitive to
all the changes taking place around us. It is the responsibility
incumbent upon all of us as grown-ups to prepare the younger
generation to face up to these challenges and show them the
way to get on top to face challenges of the twenty first century.
In this context, the report of The International Commission
on education for twenty first century published by The UNESCO
in 1996…. Quote
“EDUCATIONEVERYWHERE IN THE PRESENT WORLD MUST BE ORGANISED
AROUND FOUR PILLARS OF EDUCATION”…… unquote.
They are namely,
• Learning to know-that is, acquiring the instruments
• Learning to do – that is, to be able to act
creatively on ones environment
• Learning to live together –that is, to participate
With other people in all human activities.
• Learning to be – that is, education must contribute
development of each individual.
Consequently, the role of the teacher too has to change gradually.
A teacher’s task is to facilitate learning and create
a desire for learning in children, throughout life, instead
of being a conduit for transmitting dead and inert knowledge
to passive learners. Unlike in the past we need to equip our
children with multi-competencies such as,
• Competencies in communication
• Competencies relating to ethics and religion
• Competencies in play and use of leisure
• Competencies relating to learning to learn which are
also reflected in the four fundamental types of learning mentioned
Further, the schools should contribute to the development
of critical and divergent thinking, creativity, initiative,
problem solving and proper social attitudes, leadership building
and effective use of English and Information Technology. In
fact what the future demands, is to specialize in the impossible
and children learning to live in an ever evolving and changing
Our School provides learning and caring disciplined environment
to our children and I invite all our parents and well-wishers
to be partners in this purpose oriented noble endeavour. I
believe the parents in particular should change their mind-set
to look emphatically at their children’s point of view
too. It is necessary for the parents to be open minded and
take into their confidence the children and then they too
will unfold their problems with confidence and without any
doubts of what the parents reaction would be.
It is no easy task to bring –up children in such a perplexed
world, as it is to day. There are no ready-made solutions
or short cuts to any of our deep-rooted issues. However, education
has to play its role by equipping children to be self-governing
autonomous individuals, which of course is the challenge of
education of the present generation of teachers and parents
and the society at large.
O B A Activities
I am also grateful to the Old Boys of the college, officials
of The O B A. for their unstinted co-operation extended to
me and the college during the year under review, as had been
the practice always, contributing so lavishly particularly
to improve the lot of the college farm and for the magnificent
response received every time a clarion call was made for assistance
in the names of Mr.Asanga Seneviratna, for his donation for
purchase of sports equipments, Mr.U D Jayawardena, for the
donation, Mr.Lal Edirisinghe and Mr.Mahinda Padmasiri for
the donation made to purchase much needed expensive trumpets
for the College band.
It is also pertinent to mention that The OBA had very close
rapport with the college throughout the year. Apart from The
OBA celebrations held at The College premises, the executive
committee held three meetings at Gurutalawa and two in Colombo.
The OBA was very particular about discipline in the College,
Standards of English, Sports and extra curricular activities.
It is very encouraging to see them extending a helping hand
to The Headmaster in numerous ways.
The most noble project. The OBA undertook during the course
of the year, was the museum dedicated to Dr.Hayman memory,
consisting of various items personally used by Dr.Hayman,
during his tenure as The Headmaster, very much of historical
and sentimental value too. This museum will provide useful
information to younger generations at Gurutalawa and those
would be Thomians in year to come.
The OBA was instrumental in bringing out the college magazine
once again after a lapse of so many years, which was indeed
a very commendable effort. Another fine gesture was the donation
of sports gear by the Old Boys.
Anot6her distinguished old boy, Mr.Sunil Watawala, Vice President
of the OBA was the Chief Guest at the sports meet held in
February. Mr. & Mrs. Watawala were present during the
whole duration of the sports meet thus giving much needed
encouragement to youngsters. I am certain, their presence
along with that of other invitees acted as a catalyst for
the children to reach commendable standards.
Whilst on the subject a word of thanks to The Senior Vice
President Mr.P Duleepkumar, The Secretary Mr.Mahen Ranasinghe,
The Treasurer Mr.Bandula Wanigasekera and also to Mr.Gamini
Fernando who were ever willing to give whatever assistance
required by the college. A magnanimous gesture of the part
of Mr.Lakshman Seneviratne resulted in a Tube Well being donated
to the Keble House, which had experienced severe inconvenience
due to water shortages for years over during times of drought.
We all at college express our sincere gratitude to The OBA
for its ready willingness to help the college, any time such
assistance was required.
P T A
Several meetings of The P T A were held during the year.
The last meeting was held towards the latter part of the year,
2003. it was, though, by no means a well attended meeting,
was quite encouraging to note the presence of about 100 parents.
Parents traveling from far away places in public transport
may have skipped participation owing to problems faced by
them in getting back. Though their problems are well understood,
certainly participation by a greater number would have given
the much needed boost. The major topic that came up for discussion
was the standard of English and conduct of classes in the
English Medium. The parents were made to understand in no
uncertain terms that the qualification for admission to English
medium classes was the aggregate of marks scored at the admission
Improving standards of English
An announcement about the commencement of Elocution classes
for students in Grades 1-7 in the year 2003, was also made.
I am happy to announce that all students who took up the I
E M S examination in English, Music and Speech passed with
This year we were able to take one step forward with the introduction
of conversational English to students in the dormitory of
The Keble section, I am happy to say that we are quite encouraged
by the results shown this far. The next step is to introduce
conversational English to the entirety of the Keble section
followed by extension of the program to students in the junior
dormitories. Hopefully, in the year 2005 we expect to expand
this program to cover the entire student population of the
college, viz years 9,10 and 11. As things are there is tremendous
interest and enthusiasm among students not forgetting parents
who are equally keen.
The College expects the parents to play their part in molding
children to be useful citizens of the country, when they grow
up. It is appropriate to mention at this stage of the assistance
given by a few parents in so many ways. On behalf of the college
I wish to express our gratitude. The college will at any stage
welcome any assistance that would be extended by parents.
It will be a case of indirectly helping, any be your own child
. the parents of the children of the Primary School, I am
happy to mention has contributed lavishly for the purchase
of equipments for its band, to be set up shortly.
The College during the period under review had done reasonably
well in sports. Our aim is to do better in the coming year.
One drawback is that our finances do not permit the investments
the college would like to make. Yet, we are determined to
make best use of whatever resources available. It is also
our aim to reach once again the pride of place occupied by
the college in the not too distant past.
I owe my sincere gratitude to members of the tutorial staff
for the co-operation extended for successful conduct of affairs
of the college, particularly to Mr.W M Sumanapala, Mrs.Seetha
Jayasekara, Mrs.Chintha Dias, Mr.G Nesaseelan, Mr.V W Dikkumbura,
Mr.S Medawala. Rest of the tutorial staff too played their
part without which the college would not have been able to
achieve most of the set goals for the year. It is also my
duty to offer my grateful thanks to the former chaplain Rev.
Nihal Fernando for his commitment and dedication to uplift
the college should consider it as very fortunate to have Rev.Goodchild
back in its fold. It must be mentioned that Rev.Goodchild
in addition to his teaching responsibilities, enjoys giving
guidance to children in extra curricular activities, besides
his pastoral duties, which he is very particular about. Rev
Goodchild voluntarily devotes a lot of his free time to improve
the standard of English in the College. It is commendable
that he some how finds time to train juniors in swimming.
He seems to enjoy it very much. His involvement in the scout
movement had created an enhanced interest among the boys.
On top of everything he still finds time to do counseling
services to the needy. I owe my deep gratitude to him. I also
wish to recall the long period of dedicated service rendered
to the college by Mrs.A M Dahanayake Yapa, who retired from
service at the end of the year. We wish her a pleasant retired
The Senior Prefect, along with his team of prefects too contributed
their share in all school & hostel activities. They too
deserve a word of appreciation.
I also wish to thank the members of the administrative staff,
Mr.Manamperi, The Administrative Officer, Mr.Ranasinghe, The
Secretary, Mr.Vas Gunawardena, The Accountant, Mr.Harischandra,
The Food Warden, The Support Staff for the manner they handled
I consider it may duty to thank the two volunteers Mrs.N
Farook who helps the boys in the English stream, conducting
classes on Saturdays and Mr.Kamalakannan for the guidance
given to boys in sports, particularly swimming.
The Board of Governors
Last but not least, I most respectfully thank the Chairman
of the Board of Governors of the college Rt.Rev Duleep De
Chickera, The Bishop of Colombo, The Board of Governors &
The Manager of the college Mr.Upali Panditaratna for showing
the way and giving guidance whenever such necessity arose,
to successfully conduct affairs of the college, forthcoming
I wish to conclude my speech with the positive-behalf and
confidence that we can transform our society to be a better
place by our commitment and dedication towards our most valued
treasure, that is “THE CHILDREN OF SRI LANKA.”