Marking a milestone in academic history | Daily News
Mahamaya Girls' College celebrates 90 years

Marking a milestone in academic history

The present principal garlanding the photo of Ven Aththadassi Thera
The present principal garlanding the photo of Ven Aththadassi Thera

Mahamaya Girls' College, Kandy, completed 90 years on January 14, 2022. Present Principal of the school, Sashikala Samithanganie Senadheera celebrated the 90th anniversary in a grand scale with the assistance of the staff and students having the former principals of the school as guests.

Mahamaya Girls' College was started on January 14, 1932, amid the chanting of pirith. Lewke Ratwatte Kumarihamy cut the ribbon at the auspicious time of 10.25 am. Then her grand-daughter, five-year-od Amara Ratwatte walked into the school as the first student with her father. Thereafter Hilda Kularatne, the first principal of the school entered with the teachers, Eva de Mel, Karunawathie Gunaratne, Seelawathie Thambugala and two pupil teachers followed by 16 pupils who were admitted to the school on that first day.

At the opening ceremony, Sarah Soysa, the leader of the ‘Kulagana Samithiya’, acknowledged the Ven. Aththadassi Thera for the contribution of founding a Buddhist Girls’ School for the benefit of the Buddhist girls in Kandy and the three teachers and the students were admitted to the school boarding which was located in a part of West Cliff House. Sarah Soysa was entrusted with the Management and supervision of the School and the Principal and her family were accommodated in another section of the building. Hilda Westbrooke Kularatne was married to P. de S Kularatne, a brilliant academic and nationalist, who was the Principal of Ananda College, Colombo, at that time. Hilda tried her best for this Buddhist school, which her husband tried to achieve at Ananda College and also at DharmarajaCollege, Kandy.

On August 27, 1932, at an auspicious time herald by the blowing of the conch shell and playing of ‘Magul Bera’ the new two storey school building was formally opened by the Governor of Ceylon, Sir Greame Thompson and lady Thompson. Hilda Kularatne resigned at the end of 1932 when her husband went back to Ananda College and then the ‘Kulagana Samithiya’ appointed Bertha Irene Rodgers as the Principal of the School in 1937. On May 1, 1951 Soma Gunawardena was the new Principal of Mahamaya and she was a strong disciplinarian giving leadership while revitalizing the Buddhist education at the school –re-orientated the School to produce students to compete with students of the best educational institutes in the country. On December 1, 1960, a Buddhist school established by the Buddhist women under difficult circumstances, nurtured with much hard work and sacrifice by the founders and the principals was taken over for administration as a state school.

On January 17, 1972, the Dept. of Education appointed Lalitha Abeysinghe Fernando to succeed Soma Gunawardena and as Lalitha Fernando retired in 1980 the Deputy Principal D Perera carried on the work till Navaratne Kumari Pilapitiya, popularly known as Nita Pilapitiya became the principal and she was quick to comprehend the new trends in the educational field and she took rapid measures to protect Mahamaya’s interests and the excellent performance of Mahamaya in the academic field and in other spheres such as sports and aesthetics. The public image of the school in the Central Province helped greatly to get the necessary funds for the building of the auditorium and the Dept. of Education appointed Muriel Subasinghe as Principal on August, 15, 1990, and by that time there was tremendous pressure to get admitted to the school. There was a significant expansion in the number of students and the Dept. of Education constructed a five storied complex of class rooms to accommodate the vast numbers of students. A sports complex for indoor games such as badminton and table tennis was built during this time.

Mahamaya had a further change of principals when Indra Kumari Ratnayake took over the School on July 10, 1995, and to deal with the tremendous expansion of students during this period the Dept. of Education built another new three storied building housing three Junior Laboratories and eight classrooms and a new three storied building for the hostel to accommodate the growing numbers of students admitted from other districts in the country.

On April, 24, 2000, Bandaramenike Wijesinghe became the principal and she framed a programme of intensive English training for her students. Mahamaya has put into effect the new educational reforms with a science stream in English and a successful Grade One Program in spoken English. Mahamaya College holds its own in academic, sports and aesthetics fields and in 2001 Mahamaya had the best examination results in the Central Province with the highest number of passes in both GCE (O/L) and (A/L) examinations. In sports Mahamaya has won many All Island events and have established many national events and also participated at international events with success. After her retirement, Visaka Herath, old girl and the Vice Principal of the school acted as Principal for some time and in the year 2005 Indra Withanachchi took over as Principal of Mahamaya and as the school has high percentage of students of high scholastic ability from all over the districts of the country including outstanding students from economically backward districts and as the school is in a Buddhist atmosphere with Buddhist Principals and values while teaching some subjects in English and Western Social accomplishments by introducing them to Western Culture too there is a great demand to enter Mahamaya.

After the retirement of Indra Withanachchi in 2019, Himali Senadheera, Deputy Principal of the School, acted as Principal till a permanent appointment was made. The present Principal, Sashikala Samithanganie Senadheera was appointed and with the assistance of Himali Senadheera, deputy Principal, H.M.R Sarojini Herath, the Asst.Principal with the assistance of the other staff and the students, will be able to maintain the academic, sports as well as the other extra curricular activities as well to bring the school to the university level.

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