celebration of St. Thomas' College, Kotte
THE late Rev. Fr. Z.
Dabrera, the founder of St. Thomas' College, Kotte was a
Catholic priest par excellence. "You are the light of the world
after my demise," said Jesus of Nazareth to His followers.
Light dispels darkness,
darkness of ignorance, lack of education, the stumbling block
and hindrance to the progress of humanity. Evidently, disorder,
commotion and suffering among humans are due to ignorance.
Adhering to the
counselling of his master, the founder set up the St. Thomas'
College at Kotte to impart knowledge to students in a religious
atmosphere. At the outset there were no buildings, no formal
staff, no proper equipment, but there was the iron will of the
Obviously, he believed in
the adage, "If there is a will, there is a way", and also the
saying, "Do your best and God will do the rest."
The new school was set up
in the small verandah of the mission house, the founder's
residence. Before long, the number of students increased and the
two wings of the small church (now demolished) were used as
classrooms. Yet the demand for new admission was a cry out for.
However, the courageous
founder set in motion a new spacious building (now demolished)
on a shoe string budget. Promptly, the members of the staff,
students, parents, past students and some parishioners rallied
round the Father by providing money, materials and some even
Observing the rapid
progress of the school, the educational authorities raised the
school to a grant in aid school under the manager of the
To meet the ever
increasing demand for new admissions, the Government built a new
In addition to St.
Thomas' College, Rev. Fr. Z. Dabrera had put up schools at
Nugegoda today a leading Parish school a Tamil school at
Kirillapona the Christ the King school at Pannipitiya and three
more schools at Angoda Maharagama and Navinna.
In appreciation of his
noble service to the people of the Kotte area in education,
social and spiritual progress the members of the Mahajana Sabha
(The people's Assembly, Kotte branch) elected Fr. Dabrera the
vice-president, an outstanding honour to a Catholic priest in a
predominantly Buddhist area.
Having completed his
mission successfully, Father left Kotte in 1941, without any
eulogy, as he always detested ostentation as an ascetic priest.
Recognizing the rapid
progress of the College in academic, sport and other school
activities Dr. Howes, the then Director of Education raised the
college to a Grade One Educational Institute in 1954. Potently
the standard of a school is not judged only by its large
There are other criteria
as well such as good results at public examinations discipline
of the students success in sports and athletics co-operation of
the members of the staff with the head co-ordination of the past
students and parents with the school authorities.
It is evident St. Thomas'
College, Kotte that got under way humbly seventy-five years ago
is blossoming today with all these constituents and is a beacon
of light for some other institutes.
The Diamond Jubilee
Celebration of St. Thomas' College Kotte will be held under the
distinguished patronage of Rt. Rev. Dr. Oswald Gomis, the
Archbishop of Colombo on Saturday July 23, 2005 at the College