Formation & Objectives of Group and
Participation in Revival
with Mr. Upali Jayawardena (Hony. Secretary)
with Mr. P.S. Duleepkumar
with The Bishop
& Objectives of Group and
presently Snr, Superintendent of Police gathered a few of us in
1993, for the purpose of constructing a Stadium and Pavilion and
thereby converting the grounds at Gurutalawa into a modern sports
complex. (It was to be named after Mr.A C M Laffir who devoted his
lifetime to sports at College). He had the support of the then Ministry
of Sports with several old boys including the Minister ready to
give all assistance required.
The Old Boys involved were mainly those who joined Gurutalawa with
him in 1958 and left in 1962. The group also included those who
joined a few years before 1958 and who left Gurutalawa a few years
after 1962. Hence the <1958-1962>
The Project could not see the light of day because there appeared
to be objections from the Board of Governors as well as certain
sections of the OBA itself and hence was abandoned. These objections
were to our mind born of petty -jealousies and fears that our group
would be able to successfully complete a gigantic Project without
the active participation of the OBA.
Sarath Suraweera however, attended to some renovation etc of the
existing pavilion and had it named after Mr. A.C.M. Laffir by having
a plaque inscribed therein opened by Mrs.Hayman on one of her subsequent
visits to College.
Thereafter Mr. Sarath Suraweera invited us to join him for the AGM
at Gurutalawa in 1998 and since then a handful of us who were in
college around that period have attended the AGM normally held in
February each year at Guru.
On our visits to Guru for the AGM we had observed the manner in
which the OBA conducts its affairs at the AGM, the Dinner etc thereafter
and at the Re-Union as a whole at Gurutalawa. We also observed the
conditions prevailing at Gurutalawa. We had received various representations
from those at Gurutalawa with regard to the situation and conditions
at college. To cut a long story very short it appeared that unless
some remedial action was taken immediately college would have to
close down because even the Tutorial Staff were about to come out
in open rebellion against the Head Master, the College and the establishment
as a whole. It appeared neither the Manager, the Bishop nor the
Board of Governors had any interest in the affairs or activities
of College or were aware thereof.
In this situation last year, a new Bishop was installed and soon
thereafter a new Headmaster was also appointed. Both appointments
seemed to auger well for college. We attended the installation of
the New Head Master and the Prize Giving which followed immediately
thereafter in September last year. We were pleased with the signals
the new Head Master as well as the New Bishop were sending out in
their speeches, and their behaviour. Previously, the Board of Governors
did not appear to be interested in Gurutalawa and the Headmaster
With the permission of those that mattered, three of us i.e Sarath
Suraweera, Jabir Junaid and Lakshman Jayatilaka took lodging at
Bandarawela, travelling to Gurutalawa daily, inspecting the buildings,
dormitories, toilets etc and interviewing members of the Tutorial
Staff, Administrative Staff ,Minor Staff as well as Students and
Parents in school and outside. We compiled a fairly comprehensive
report which we had intended giving the new Headmaster expecting
him to take some remedial action. By the time we concluded our inquiries
and completed our Report we found that its contents were far too
sensitive to be handed over to the Headmaster direct and so we broke
with protocol and met the Bishop who is the Chairman of the Board
of Governors direct, bypassing the OBA which we had found to be
absolutely ineffective lethargic, and not responsive to all our
appeals and requests.
We have considered and discussed the Report with the Bishop and
Pioneer Old Boys of 1942 and thereafter, of the calibre of Mr.Bradman
Weerakoon, Mr.Ronnie Weerakoon, Mr.Duleep Kumar and Mr.Sisira Nanayakkara
and several others. They have commended our Report and recommendations
and indicated to us that they were fully supportive of our actions
and were willing to give us all the help, if need be to change the
Ex-Co and get in ourselves.
As far as the OBA is concerned we found that the same few individuals
keep getting themselves appointed to high office at every AGM for
some reason best known to them and were least interested in the
OBA itself or the College. We say so as otherwise the OBA would
not be in such a sorry plight and the situation in College would
not have come to this.
The vast majority of the members of the OBA have been kept in the
dark. They have no contact with the OBA. Our efforts to make the
OBA alive and to expose the shortcomings with a view only to rectify
and improve the organization have met with stiff and stubborn resistance
from within, which is incomprehensible. Our offers of help have
been spurned with malice and contempt by them. The documents in
our possession prove the point in ample measure.
Therefore, in order that we can try to make the OBA a more dynamic
organization, we are gathering around us as many Old Boys of Guru
as possible so that the OBA and its Ex-Co is representative of all
sections of Old Boys and existing members who are sincerely interested
to help college and eventually to see an executive committee in
place which is the best and most helpful to college.
We feel that the best team of Old Boys should once again lead
the OBA until at least College is put back on its feet. OUR GROUP
IS NOT INTERESTED IN SECURING OFFICE IN THE OBA. We feel there are
people who are much more competent, capable and mature. We are trying
to identify them and persuade them to come in. We have made some
progress in that direction.
Outside the OBA there are several old boys who do not wish to have
anything to do with the OBA but wish to help college in their own
way. They are joining our Group, and they find that they are welcome
in to our group and we will together help college where the OBA
is not interested, and/or cannot be made to take an interest.
We are also using the '62 Group so that all old boys can keep in
touch with each other wherever they may be residing whether in Sri
Lanka or outside.
It is no secret that the OBA of Gurutalawa is not effective and
has recently proved to be a failure. We intend to change that. Our
group was able to Muster for the first time about 20 members who
belong to our era for the usual OBA dinner in October this year.
Normally the number was around 05.
Our Group organized its 40th Anniversary Fellowship Dinner in November
this year at which we were able to gather more than double the number
that assembled in October.
Trying to make contact with and cultivate their interest in College
and in one another and to reactivate people, who have lost touch
with each other and College after almost 40 years is no easy task.
Our Fellowship Dinner was a resounding success and will be talked
about for as long as those who attended it, live. We were able to
felicitate for the very first time Pioneer Old Boys of the 1940's
who have helped College and set up the OBA itself. We were also
able to felicitate the 03 Masters who taught us who are the sole
survivors of that age. The impressive Plaques given to them rendered
them Speechless. We will continue to meet, discuss and find ways
and means of resuscitating college, reuniting the OBA and re establishing
our relationship which was born in college several decades ago.
We have already succeeded in bringing back to the OBA the most senior
Pioneer member who had drifted away due to various differences of
opinion in the OBA itself.
In these endeavours we are happy that we have been able to secure
the support of the Bishop, the Entire Tutorial staff of the college,
the Staff of our time who are still surviving, the very Senior.
and pioneer Old Boys of Gurutalawa and almost all old boys of Gurutalawa
who were in college around our time.
We must add that our doors are open to everybody. All old boys who
were in college from the 40's, as well as old boys who were in college
in the 90's and to date have joined us in our efforts. The Founder
Members of our Group however are those of the <58-62> era.
WE MUST EMPHASISE AND STRESS THAT, OUR GROUP IS NOT A SPLIT OR BREAKAWAY
OF THE OBA. WE ARE ENCOURAGING ALL OUR MEMBERS TO JOIN THE OBA.
WE ARE PROUD THAT IN THE LAST FEW MONTHS WE HAVE ENROLLED TO THE
OBA MORE MEMBERS THAN IN ANY YEAR SINCE 1959. WHERE THE OBA IS TOO
SLOW FOR OUR LIKING WE ARE ON THE FAST TRACK TO HELP OUT COLLEGE.
All Guru Old Boys are welcome to join our group and we accept you
to our group enthusiastically.
We will be happy to be informed of the Names, Office and Residential
Addresses, Official and Residential Telephone Numbers, Cellular
Numbers, Fax Nos, and E-mail addresses, Occupations, Period in College,
any special achievements in college etc etc. of any and every old
boy who may be interested in joining us. We assure you that we shall
respond within 07 days the latest.
There is no membership fee or formal Application Form. What we seek
is a common bond of Thomian brotherhood, sincerity and loyalty to
one another and to the college to which we owe so much and where
we spent a small part of our childhood learning how to become men
It is too early to collect funds for Guru just yet, without first
identifying projects and outlining priorities which we hope to do
after putting the house in order at Guru. We had earlier indicated
about two dozen projects which we desired to proceed with after
things are brought to some order at Guru. They are mentioned in
our Report to the Bishop. We need at the present moment to have
the endorsement of our actions from all Old Boys wherever they may
be and their commitment and promise of support in the days to come.
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