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Old 17-10-20, 11:31 PM
sriyanj sriyanj is offline
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Default Thank You Mr. Casie Chetty, former Headmaster STC Prep

https://www.stcobasydney.org/2020-ar...y-casie-chetty


Thank You Mr. Casie Chetty, former Headmaster STC Prep


We?re looking at a bountiful selection of thank you cards; handwritten, elegantly worded, these mementos are an apt expression for the man who has received them. ?Little things,? he smiles. ?But it?s very rewarding to feel that your work is appreciated.?
N.Y. Casie Chetty is reluctant to describe himself as an educationist, despite 20 years serving as Headmaster at S. Thomas? Preparatory School. A lawyer by education, his appointment to the school in 1995 came at a time of social turmoil in the country. Casie Chetty had grown rather weary of seeing the gentle society he grew up in disintegrating at the hands of rebellious youth without a cause. ?The country was in a state of anarchy,? he remembers. ?I found myself wondering more and more if this was the kind of society my children would have to inherit.?

Not content as an armchair revolutionist, he found himself wondering what he could do about the situation and was rewarded with a request to serve as Headmaster of S. Thomas? Preparatory School, then 57 years old, in Colpetty. ?I knew this was the perfect opportunity,? says Casie Chetty. Besides, as a fourth generation Thomian and fiercely proud of it, it seemed the ideal fit for the young lawyer who had previously served at the Attorney General?s Department.

Not content as an armchair revolutionist, he found himself wondering what he could do about the situation and was rewarded with a request to serve as Headmaster of S. Thomas? Preparatory School, then 57 years old, in Colpetty. ?I knew this was the perfect opportunity,? says Casie Chetty. Besides, as a fourth generation Thomian and fiercely proud of it, it seemed the ideal fit for the young lawyer who had previously served at the Attorney General?s Department.

Two decades later he looks back on his time at the school with satisfaction. Widely known as a tough cookie, Casie Chetty has nonetheless gone on to leave his mark on the school?s structural makeup and has few regrets on his departure. ?I came into the school with a three point agenda,? he tells us. ?Discipline, academia and sports.? As a young Thomian, these were values that had been inculcated in Casie Chetty?s mind and he was ?determined? to bring them to his new appointment.

?Discipline? is perhaps the foremost legacy he leaves behind for the school. On his appointment, Casie Chetty dispensed with corporal punishment for students. He declares himself thoroughly opposed to the notion of physically punishing his charges, although at the time this ideal was met with a fair amount of scepticism. How was one to maintain order in a boys? school? The new headmaster answered these concerns with other measures; often, a firm word was all that was needed and if not suspensions and expulsions were not unheard of.

A devout member of the Anglican Church community, Casie Chetty also espoused the values and ideals of other religions to his students. ?I used to tell the boys at assembly that if you don?t understand anichcha ( impermanence) then you understand nothing in life,? he remembers. He is a strong proponent of ? life education?, advising on a wellrounded education in religion, values and culture.

He is adamant that his young charges learn the value of brotherly spirit, especially in the face of adversity. An avid cricketer himself, Casie Chetty believes that his students must be well rounded and for this sports have played an impor- tant role. During his time tennis and table tennis took a predominant place in the school calendar and young Thomians did well in the field. Their headmaster is pleased by them, and gently points out that education too must be championed. He doesn?t believe in letting his students settle into being underachievers. ?You come to school to learn, and you may as well do it well!?

The S. Thomas? Preparatory School teaches students up to their Ordinary Level examinations, after which many transfer to S. Thomas College in Mount Lavinia. Casie Chetty remains strongly opposed to introducing the Advanced Levels curriculum to the school. ?I feel that the boys may miss out by not being able to be part of the Mt. Lavinia school. I spent my best years there,? he recollects. ?Besides, 900 students is a good number for us to maintain.? Every term he would take the time to write a personal comment in each of their report cards. It was exhausting business but well worth the reward, he smiles.

He is reluctant to pontificate on the state of education in the country, but notes that there is a dire need for more funds and qualified teachers to enter the field. ?If you look at Singapore the best paid people are in education,? he points out. ?That?s because they place a massive amount of importance on human potential, and the importance of quality education.? Sri Lanka is on the right path, but has been given step-motherly treatment by authorities for far too long, he remonstrates.

On his departure Casie Chetty finds himself to be ranked fifth longest serving on the list of headmasters who have served S. Thomas over the years. He followed in the footsteps of J.S.L. Fernando, who served for a grand 28 years as Headmaster. ?It has been a privilege,? he says simply. Now, he looks forward to taking some time to consider his options. At 60 he is still the same man he was 20 years ago in determination and has no intention of resting on his laurels. There is much more work to be done after all.

ARTICLE SOURCE: Sunday Times (Sri Lanka) 2015
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