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St. Sebastian's Balika Maha Vidyalaya, Kandana celebrates 75th anniversary

Principal of the Vidyalaya Rev. Sr. Mary Goretti.

by Monika Perera  Daily News Thu Mar 6 2003

On 1st of March, 1928 St. Sebastian's Kanishta School, Kandana was started with the blessings of Saint Sebastian. This year it proudly celebrates its 75th anniversary, as St. Sebastian's Balika Maha Vidyalaya.

The school brings back the memories of its history with dignity. Just as a small seed which grew into a large tree with a mass of foliage, the school has spread its name throughout the country as well as beyond the shores, by nurturing many a brilliant girls under her guidance.

The school was started with sixty five students and three teachers conducting its studies in English medium. Blooming the efforts of Rev. Fr. Romould, then Parish Priest of St. Sebastian's church, Kandana; Sebastian's Balika Vidyalaya continued its progressive journey with the contributory responsibilities of then principal, a reverend sister of Good Shepherd Congregation.

Children at the school library.

St. Sebastian's Balika Vidyalaya is duty - bound to respect everyone who contributed much in the past, by reminding them at this great Occasion.

Rev. Sr. Mary Angel who was the first principal is remembered with great respect. Later Reverend Sisters Mary Felicitas, Mary Margaret and Mary Theres who were appointed principals of the school respectively, are very much remembered with honour. Rev. Sr. Mary Albert, the principal appointed in 1957, is remembered with honour, at this hour of celebration, because of her contribution of active governance which enabled the school to reach the peak of success.

Her dedication and efforts to make St. Sebastian's Balika Maha Vidyalaya a leading Girls' School between the Negombo Zone and Colombo Zone is very much appreciated.

The services rendered as principals by Rev. Sr. Mary Benedict, Mrs. A. Jacob and Mrs. Sita Cooray, after 1973 are also very much appreciated along with the great honour of the school. Furthermore, Mrs. W. M. S. Weerakkody, who became the principal in 1976 is also remembered honourably for her great service which enabled students of a recorded number to enter the university in Arts and commerce streams.

After that the school was brightened up with the reforms of governance brought forward by the principal, Rev. Sr. Mary Ranjani. It could achieve success in education as well as in co-curricular activities during her period of service. Apart from that her effort to equip the school with essential physical resources, by holding 'fairs', must be remembered with respect.

Then, under the principal, Rev. Sr. Mary Angel Guardian, the school could possess more physical resources and it could advance towards success in both education and co-curricular activities. Heartfelt thanks also must be offered to her for initiating the special programme launched for the welfare of the teachers and the students, which is still being continued successfully.

St. Sebastian's Balika Maha Vidyalaya has gained success in many fields of education and practical skills in the zone bearing its motto. "Through knowledge to virtue', under the keen and diligent guidance of the present principal Rev. Sir. Mary Goretti.

It must be mentioned specially that the school has been able to rise above the national level at the G.C.L. Ordinary Level results and percentage of students who enter the university in Science, Commerce and Arts Streams prevails at a high level every year.

Furthermore, the school has launched many programmes in order to make the students more active and live in their skills and talents. Many senior and junior associations are conducted in the school, holding Sinhala, English, Science, Commerce and Home Science "Days" annually which help the students to improve their skills in reading, writing, speaking and singing abilities in both English and Sinhala languages.

In addition to that, students exhibit their skills in needlework and handicraft annually by bringing a great pleasure to the teachers and the parents proving that this school as the best place for the girls. Apart from that girls of St. Sebastian's Balika shine above all in Aesthetic skills. They have been able to win Gold, Silver and Bronze medals at Art Competitions held in Sri Lanka as well as in other countries.

They have also secured places at Zonal and Provincial level competitions and competed at national level competitions of Western and Eastern bands.

Besides that, achieving the victory at divisional level events of sports, students have been able to take part in all-island competitions bringing honour to their Alma Mater.

There is a well-equipped library in the school to pave way for the students to improve their habit of reading. At the dawn of 21st century the school gained a great victory by possessing an Advanced Level Science Laboratory. It is a golden opportunity for the students to have a clear path revealed by the present principal, to step towards their future successfully.

In order to get a better understanding of satellite technology, students of physical science section, established an 'Astronomy Association'. Having links with the Institute of Arthur C. Clarke, the members of the association were able to engage in many activities which helped them to observe the stars and the planets in the sky. By 1999 this association spread its programmes among the students of grade 10 and 11 and was able to get the membership of the 'Inter-school Astronomy Association'.

It is expected to provide necessary training and leadership through the students' parliament, in order to pave the way for the women representation in the political arena of Sri Lanka, which is a necessary requirement at present.

Students are also enabled to conquer the 'World of Computer' through the 'computer lab' which was opened on 7th of February, 2003, can be considered a special gift for the students in this jubilee year.

In addition to that, many religious programmes are being conducted to enhance the virtues of the students. Holy mass on first Fridays and special programmes for 'Lent' and 'Christmas' are generally conducted in the school. Students also share the happiness of Christmas with the poor students in Buttala by offering them donations through an annual programme.

The principal and the staff of seventy teachers are always ready to devote themselves to achieve the objectives aimed on a clear philosophy.

It is their sole determination to, mould courageous women who are able to face the future challenges contributing their academic skills in moral assessments and to aim their competitive spirit towards togetherness practising the school motto "Through knowledge to virtue".

Finally it must be stated at this moment of celebration of its 75th anniversary, that the students are very fortunate to get a set of teachers who act according to such a philosophy.

The writer is the Assistant Principal of St. Sebastian Balika Maha Vidyalaya, Kandana.