PRIZE GIVING 2001
S.THOMAS’ COLLEGE GURUTALAWA.
Rt.Rev. G. Duleep K. de Chickera,
Lord Bishop of Colombo and
Chairman of the Board of Governors,
of S.Thomas’ Colleges our Chief Guest,
Madame Geetha de Chickera,
Members of the Board of Governors,
Mr.Upali Panditharathne, the Manager,
Old Boys, Parents, Guardians,
Well Wishers, Members of the Staff,
My dear Students,
My Lord, I consider it a great privilege to
receive you on your maiden visit to this prestigious college
after my Lord’s consecration as the Bishop of Colombo.
You were born, Your Lordship, on the 25th of
March 1947 as the third child of Mr.Guy de Chickera, Lawyer
and Mrs. Sybil Brohier, teacher. You received your education
at the Royal College, Colombo. You were a brilliant student
in the college. You also played in the College Basket Ball
and Rugby teams. You were a member of the English Debating
team. You were a sergeant of the cadet corps and a prefect.
For the best G.C.E. “A” Level results in Arts.
On completion of your secondary education you responded to
the call to full time Ministry and entered the Pilimathalawa
Theological College. You obtained the Bachelor’s Degree
in Theology from the University of Serampore in 1972.
Ordained as a Deacon in 1973 you were appointed
Assistant Chaplain of S.Thomas’ College, Mount Lavinia.
Priested the following year, you were appointed the Chaplain
of S.Thomas’ Mt.Lavinia and six years later, proceeded
to the Oxford University. You obtained a Master’s Degree
in Education. Returning to Sri Lanka you were appointed Sub
Warden of S.Thomas’ College Mount Lavinia in 1983. In
1990 you were appointed Vicar of the Church of St.Michael
and All Angels, Polwatte and five years later took charge
of the parishes at Maharagama, Liyanwala, and Molkawa.
During the Academic year 1998/99 you were invited
to be a Visiting Fellow at the College of Ascension, Birmingham.
In the year 2000 you were awarded the Bossey Diploma, equivalent
to a Master’s Degree in Theology, by the Faculty of
Ecumenical Theology of the University of Geneva. Back in Sri
Lanka, you assumed responsibility for the Peace and Reconciliation
Desk of the Diocese whilst looking after the parish at Molkawa,
a mixed Tamil/Sinhala parish in the Bulathsinhala Electorate
working among Sinhala peasantry and Tamil estate workers.
Many thanks my Lord, for Gracing this occasion
as our Chief Guest.
Madame Geetha de Chickera, I have great pleasure in receiving
you at the college. You are a lawyer hailing from a respectable
family. Your parents who were teachers had five children and
several out of them were contemporaries of mine in two universities.
They were students who selected different fields such as Medicine,
universities. They were students who selected different fields
such as Medicine, Engineering, Law, Education and Economics.
Many thanks for gracing this occasion and it gives me pleasure
to introduce you to all those present here.
I think it is my duty to enlighten Guests on
the achievements of the college during the last two years
with me as the Headmaster. I could recommence the G.C.E.Advanced
Level classes in the Tamil medium. A nursery class was inaugurated
in order to facilitate entry of better students to Grade one
of the college. Utilizing the donation of two computers by
the Parent-Teachers Association and the new computers purchased
by the school. I was able to commence computer-training classes.
There was a request by the parents that new recruits to the
staff should be conversant in English, Fulfilling that request
I was able to recruit teachers and other staff who could work
in English. The college Canteen which was running at a loss
was converted into a profit making venture. The student population
increased by 60 students. There were several legal cases filed
by present and former employees of the college and a contractor
at the District and Magistrate courts the Labour Tribunal
and the Labour Department. I could take action to settle all
these cases except two. A Coin Box was installed in the college
as a donation of mine fulfilling a long felt need in obtaining
telephone calls and easing the pressure at the college telephone.
Thanks to the great efforts of the OBA the top floor of the
three storied Administration Block and the Kitchen of the
College could be opened. 500 new plants were planted in the
college premises, the nine-acre block and the water reserve.
I welcome Mr. G.C. Mendis, the new Headmaster
at this occasion. You take over the School Sir, after administering
the Blind School, Ratmalana for a lengthy period of 21 years.
I visited the place and saw for myself how well you have managed
and maintained the institution where you had to generate your
own funds for development. You are not a stranger to this
school as you had been a young teacher here may years ago.
I pray God and wish that you will manager and improve this
college with the same enthusiasm that you took at Ratmalana.
I must sincerely thank R.Rev.Kenneth Fernando,
the former Bishop of Colombo Mr.C.S.Ratwatte, the former Manager
and the members of the then Board of Governors for appointing
me as the Headmaster of this college on 15.08.1999.
I take this opportunity to thank the present
Bishop, the present Manager, the members of the Board of Governors,
the members of the OBA, the parents and well wishers, the
members of the Tutorial Staff, the Office Staff and the Minor
Staff and the students who helped me in various ways to administer
this school during the last two years.
Finally, I thank God for our past achievements
and seek His Guidance to proceed further into a better future.