Bicentenary jubilation of educational excellence | Daily News

Bicentenary jubilation of educational excellence

The hectic programme of the bicentenary celebrations at Christ Church Boys’ College, Baddegama, triumphantly reaches its culmination with the two hundredth year Christ Church Walk on September 28.

Under any criterion, a long period of two centuries of existence in the sphere of education deserves due recognition in an island nation of our caliber. The significance of this great event is worthy of reckoning because of the very fact that this great seat of learning on the southern tip of the tear drop of India makes a colourful fusion between the colonial period and the post-independence renaissance of Mother Lanka.

In the annals of its luminous history, this Alma Mater edifice of many a southerner has rendered a yeoman service to the nation by producing scholars of multi-faceted talents through their potentials.

In the above light, the writer himself a past student of this success story, opines that this is high time to peep into its eventful history and unearth the memorable steps it has treaded through the vicissitude of time.

Its history’s face tells us the arduous journey braved by the pioneer principal of the college Hon. Rev. Robert Mayor and the reputed planter R M Winter in their search for a suitable land for a church and subsequently to establish a school for the children in the vicinity. Their boat journey started from Galle and ended at Mapalagama. Ever idyllic Hiniduma in its panoramic beauty is said to have given a grand treat to their eyes. Haycock Hill has got its name from them because of a pile of straw like look of the hillock and a jungle fowl they had spotted coincidentally. On their return journey, they had seen the two hill tops on the left bank of the winding Gin Ganga on her hurried flow to embrace the sea at Gintota. Their entrusted CMS mission was essentially to erect a church and take the message of gospel to the spiritually hungry people.

Our colonial masters had confronted with the dire necessity of generating a scholastic local population to run their administrative machinery, smoothly. Therefore, they had to prepare the necessary background to launch a viable educational programme to realize their cherished goals. Literacy of the locality thus became their immediate concern and their prowess of attracting the village dwellers proved fruitful. Rev. Father Robert Mayor being an erudite scholar left no stone unturned to bring the young to his feet for a noble task. It is said that his wife had managed to make a magnetized effect on the women folk to attract them to their gigantic task of building a school for the uplift of this sleepy hamlet. The village of Baddegama was as quite as asleep till then and the genesis of this great edifice, now has blossomed to a full pledged seat of learning in the south, lies there.

The crest of English education of the south in that era was at Christ Church

Boys’ College, Baddegama. The good name the school earned at the very beginning could be attributed to the untiring efforts and genuine dedication of the fore fathers of the school.

With the introduction of the vernacular system of education, the standard of English of the school suffered a death blow. The late principal K S Hapugoda who steered the school for a long time after the demise of the first principal involved in a hard struggle to give the due place to English education of the school. Yet, it was during the late Principal Dhanapala Pathirana’s time that a constructive effort was made to inject new blood to resurrect the required standard of English. The inauguration of the Wisdom Watch English programme to arrest the declining standard of English at school was a step in the right direction and the products of the project make their voice at English speaking high courts, public and private sector, security forces and many an institution where English enjoys the pride of place. ‘Be a feather in our cap, wisdom watch’ is at every one’s finger tips since its beginning. The mammoth plaque of William Shakespeare that adorns the front wall of the school auditorium was once admired by one time Minister of Education Dr. Bandula Gunawardene and says, “Honour and fame from no condition rise, act your part well, where all the honour lies’.

These lines form the motto of the Ashgrove State School in Brisbane, Australia. The success saga of my Alma Mater is evident in almost all the spheres of education. The college has produced sportsmen of international acclaim. Medical, engineering, law, accountancy, teaching, agriculture, Foreign and administrative services and every field of public service bears ample testimony for the contribution of the school.

On the eve of the culmination of the bicentenary jubilation of the school, a generous past pupil Mr. Nimal Suriarchchi marked the emerald series of celebrations by erecting a statue of the pioneer principal Rev.Father Robert Mayor in the school premises with a colossal expenditure of their hard earned money by his three sons namely Rasika, Amila and Isuru.

The main entrance of the college was renovated by the dedicated old boys to be copatible with the pristine grandeur of this great edifice.

Alfred Lord Tennyson in his famous poem ‘The Brooke’ writes the following immortal lines to refer to the everlasting value of the water courses and the writer sees a great relevance of the said lines to the existence of this great edifice.

“ Men may come and men may go,

But I run forever.”

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