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Old 22-08-20, 11:58 AM
sriyanj sriyanj is offline
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Default Reverend Father Lucien G. B. Fernando ? Master and mentor

Reverend Father Lucien G. B. Fernando ? Master and mentor
S.V.D. Kesarralal Gunasekera

I begin this tribute to Rev. Lucien G. B. Fernando by regretfully
stating that the results in mathematics at the Ordinary Level
examination has been deteriorating over the last few years. It is a
strange way to begin a tribute, you may say. But the juxtaposition is
very well intended. Because I strongly feel that the absence of
teachers of Father L.G.B. Fernando's calibre is the reason for this
national failure.
Lucien G. B. Fernando was an old Thomian. He had his entire education
at S. Thomas' College, Mount Lavinia. He secured a 2nd Class Upper for
his Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Peradeniya, and
applied for a post of assessor at the Department of Inland Revenue.
But his destiny took a right turn with the invitation he received from
Reverend Father Canon R. S. De Saram, the then Warden of S. Thomas'
College to join his alma mater as a teacher. While teaching at S.
Thomas' he went to Rippon College in England for higher studies in
theology. This was with the view to becoming a priest. During his stay
in England he also obtained a Masters Degree in Western Classics at
the University of London. The all-rounder became an associate of the
Royal College of Organists in London; a skill which he exhibited at
the highest levels during his years as a priest. His organ recitals
were of high standard and his live performances were greatly
particularly at Christmas and Easter. He had the rare opportunity and
the honour of performing with an orchestra before Queen Elizabeth II
in Calcutta as well as when the Queen visited Sri Lanka. From London
he moved to the Bishop's College in Calcutta for further studies in
theology and upon his return to Sri Lanka he was ordained as a deacon
at the Chapel of Transfiguration at the St. Thomas' College on May 29,
1959. He was ordained as a priest in 1962.
To me and many other Thomians who had the privilege of being his
students, his worth is endless. He taught mathematics, Greek and Latin
and he taught all three subjects equally well. He had an exceptional
ability to teach mathematics. This is where I would like to refer back
to the point with which I opened this article; that more students in
Sri Lanka are failing in their basic mathematics today not because the
students lack intelligence, but because teachers lack the ability to
teach the subject. Mathematics unlike any other subject cannot be
given as notes for students to memorise. The principles and the
concept of mathematics have to be clearly taught so that the students
are able to apply them in any deduction process. Teaching mathematics
is therefore a process which enlightens the student. This is something
Rev. L.G.B. Fernando grasped well and imparted well. Unfortunately,
the teachers of today approach mathematics the same way they approach
subjects like social studies, religion or health. Teachers have not
learnt the correct way in teaching mathematics and the students are
the final losers as a result. But I do know that our students can
grasp the concepts of mathematics if the knowledge is imparted the
correct way. We did; because Rev. L.G.B. Fernando was a true master in
maths. He also served on the national committee which set the O/L
maths paper. He first taught us in grade eight and we developed so
fast, thanks to his ability to teach well. He raised us to such a
level that we were able to finish answering the three hour mathematics
paper in two and a half hours and even go over our answers a second
time. At the G.C.E Ordinary Level examination, out of 33 students in
our class, 25 got distinctions.
Another salient feature of mathematics is that it is not a static
subject. It has to tackle new concepts in the world. However the
basics are very much intact. What we need in our syllabi today is the
venue to delve into the fundamentals of geometry, algebra and
trigonometry. But sadly, full components of these are pretty much
absent in today's mathematics syllabus which is totally unfair by the
student. Unlike the years when we were in school, today's students can
absorb and comprehend more given the exposure and access they get to
the rest of the world. Particularly a subject like mathematics can
provide the space and opportunity for children to think independently
and apply the learning on their own. It is only then that our children
will be able to benefit from the intelligence that mathematics gives.
Rev. L.G.B. Fernando knew this and we were prepared to get that
intelligence. And I strongly believe that that is what is required in
our education
system today. Or we run the serious risk having generation so
students who lack basic intelligence. And I reiterate the fact that we
need more masters of the calibre of Rev. L.G.B. Fernando.
But Rev L.G.B. Fernando was much more than a master; he was a mentor
to all of us. He lived down De Saram Road where I live. In the
evenings when we played cricket on the road, he usually return home in
his blue Simca car. He certainly did not approve of us spending so
much time on play, but he did not utter a word when we met him on the
road. However, the following day we knew that there would be hell to
pay. He would simply ask us a question related to our studies and when
we failed to answer, he would always puts things into perspective
saying, "I will tell your parents that they are just wasting their
money on you and that all you need is a bat and a ball." Fearing this
talk, which was torture to us then, we used to pay attention to the
sound of his car coming down Beach Road and clear the road
accordingly. But he was always smarter than any of us boys. He decided
to come down the road on neutral gear just to catch us in the act so
that he could
correct us the following day. Not only was he dedicated to his work,
he was more dedicated to OUR education and OUR future.
For masters such as Reverend L.G.B. Fernando, there was no private
life. He dedicated his whole life to his students. He taught subjects,
disciplined us, and groomed us to face society with confidence. The
disciplining and grooming was done by example. He was smart in
appearance, clean and proper in his attire, respectful in his speech
and honest and open in nature. He was a master we all feared but deep
within that fear we have unknowingly grown awe for him. Today we see
in contrast that he had all the hall marks of a great teacher and a
holistic educationist. And that is why we grieve his death even today,
22 years after his demise. And one and only one phrase come to my
mind; Esto Perpetua? thou art forever.
S.V.D. Kesarralal Gunasekera
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Old 22-08-20, 11:59 AM
sriyanj sriyanj is offline
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Default K J Leo De Silva: Service above Self

K J Leo De Silva: Service above Self

When the Class of '71 of St. Thomas' College met this year we placed
high priority on gathering and sharing information on our beloved
teachers particularly to pay tribute to them. Thus, this becomes the
very first of a series on "Tribute to Teachers of STC"

I can only think of one way to begin this tribute; that is by saying
that to K J Leo De Silva who is 83 Years old now, teaching was not a
mere profession but a passion, for thousands of Thomians he laid solid
foundations not only for education but also for life, his was a life
dedicated to service.

Leo de Silva was born on the 2nd of November 1924 in Seeduwa, he had
his primary education at Seeduwa Methodist School and his secondary
education at St. Mary's College, Negombo. On completion of his
secondary education he was enrolled at the Teacher Training College in
Peradeniya, and after successfully completing the three and a half
year training programme he joined Boys' High School in Aluthgama
(presently known as Aluthgama Vidyalaya) where he served for 18 months
and thereafter he moved to Christ Church School in Dehiwala where he
served as a teacher for about eight years. During this time his
reputation as a great teacher and an effective disciplinarian spread
to other schools in the area, and for our good fortune, the Warden at
St. Thomas' College at the time was Rev. Canon R S De Saram, who was
always head hunting for good teachers and he was quick to send an
invitation to Mr. de Silva to join STC which he accepted. In 1956, he
joined the lower school at which time Rev. Barnabas was the Head
Master, it is important to place on record that Rev De Saram and Rev.
Barnabas had no hesitation in getting the best teachers for the
college, their ultimate goal was to provide the students with a
quality education.

Leo de Silva was an exceptional teacher moulding young children into
true Thomians by giving them a solid foundation. He taught forms two,
three, four, five and six. He taught me in Lower 3 rd,and of course we
were too small to remember stories or anecdotes of his teachings, but
even today, we all feel the impact he has made on our lives, he was
someone who really understood the importance of primary education and
it was on the foundation he laid that eventually true 'Thomianism' was
built. Mr. de Silva sowed the seeds of the true Thomian spirit by
creating traditions which is to this day unique to the College. The
spirit of Thomians was primarily about utmost love and respect for the
school, however, Mr de Silva wove kindness, compassion and care into
that spirit and gave birth to an unparalleled spirit. His contribution
to our alma mater is therefore immense, I still can picture this
personality, he was stocky in his built. My vision of him from my
childhood is that of a fearful person, he wore white trousers and
long sleeved white shirts; occasionally with a tie, he carried a big
black brief case on one hand and a long black umbrella on the other,
we never knew what he carried in that big bag, but I am sure that it
was knowledge that filled the mysterious brief case. At the same time
he was a strict as well as an effective disciplinarian, indeed we all
feared him, good deeds were rewarded but wrong deeds never went
unpunished. I can still recall how he would hold our trousers by the
waistband right above the naval with one hand and lift us
effortlessly. That 'lift' was punishment enough for us to correct
ourselves. We had no opportunity to complain about this, our parents
would not hear of it, and even if parents came to school on a
punishment issue, he spoke to them with courtesy and kindness that
parents went back without carrying any ill thoughts of Mr. de Silva.
His actions in punishing
us were purely on disciplinary grounds and I can vouch that he never
had any sadistic pleasure in punishing anyone, and that is where he
differs from today's teachers. Unlike the present day teachers,
teachers of yesterday such as Mr. de Silva had neither domestic nor
social pressures which frustrated them, so it was not such external
pressures that led to his punishing us, perhaps that is why his
efforts to discipline us had very positive impacts on our lives. That
is the reason that today the fear we had for him as children has
turned into awe.

Something very few of my fellow Thomians know is the fact that in
1961 he contested at the local government elections for Katunayake ?
Seeduwa Town Council, recently when I asked him the reason for wanting
to contest, snap came the answer; "I hate politicians and I hate
politics". He elaborated it further by adding that even at that time
there was thuggery and intimidation of people, bribery and corruption
and social vices such as people brewing illicit liquor. Leo de Silva
being service minded knew that none of the recognized political
parties could give solutions to the problems which people had in that
context, so he decided to run for elections as an independent
candidate under the symbol 'the umbrella' (of course), but how did he
win? During those years, school teachers were held in high regard, and
he being a teacher at St. Thomas' College gained him higher regard
from the people, but I think he won because he sincerely wanted to
serve the

So how did he find the time to serve the people while being a teacher
is the million dollar question. According to Mr. de Silva, the Warden
did not like him being elected to the town council, yet he was
tolerant, and Mr. de Silva never forgot or faltered his duties as a
teacher. During his three years at the council he balanced both his
professions remarkably well. School hours during this time were 8.05
am to 3.05 pm with a 40 minute lunch break. He performed his duties in
the council in the evenings on week days. But on Wednesdays when the
school closed at 12.41 pm he would wrap up his school work by 1 pm and
would go to attend to the work at the council, and he was granted
leave to attend Council meetings and other important meetings. The
Warden was compelled to do so, as Mr. de Silva did not neglect his
duties. Out of his 49 years of service as a teacher, he served STC for
over 38 years. He served under wardens Rev. Canon R S de Saram, C H
S J Anandanayagam, Rev.A J C Selvaratnam, M L C Ilangakoon and
Neville de Alwis. He rose to the positions of Head Master, Primary
School and about six years prior to retirement in 1994 became the Head
Master of Middle School as well.

I always had his good wishes at many points in my political career.
But what impressed me most was when I went to his house during the
last local government elections how he recognized me, I was wondering
as I chatted with him whether he would even know me, for he was 82
years of age. But he turned to his wife and said "Do you know who this
is? This is D S Gunasekera's brother's son". And he was absolutely
right. It was amazing how well he remembered not only who I am but
whose who as well. It showed me that not only did he have a great
memory, but also that he cared to remember, and of course for someone
as committed as he was to service, caring was the crux of everything
he delivered.

Mr. Leo de Silva is a pillar of St. Thomas' college. His contribution
was not confined to the primary school. It did not matter whether he
taught us or not, his presence was felt throughout the College. He has
our lives so much that we can keep our heads up and speak without any
fear in any context, of him I think of as someone with great charisma
who has given us character and courage to face the world, and that is
why even after 21 years of leaving the College we still speak of him
with love and respect, I wish him good health and choicest blessings
for a peaceful retired life.

S.V.D Kesarralal Gunasekera

Last edited by sriyanj; 22-08-20 at 12:09 PM.
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Old 22-08-20, 12:00 PM
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Default Arisen Ahubudu A Teacher Most Rare and Extraordinaire

Arisen Ahubudu
A Teacher Most Rare and Extraordinaire

Today is World Teachers' Day. I consider myself blessed on a day like
this because I can name many a teacher who epitomized the noble
profession of teaching, especially at a time when teachers have
refused to mark Advanced Level papers and held students to ransom, it
is with both sadness and pride that I write about Mr. Arisen Ahubudu;
a teacher who is unique and deserve the highest honour on World
Teachers' Day. My pride stems from the fact that at St. Thomas'
College (STC) Mount Lavinia we were fortunate to have had him as a
teacher. My sadness is caused by the fact that teachers of today have
failed to honour this profession like Mr. Ahubudu did.

Recently, I met Mr. Arisen Ahubudu at a function in Dehiwala,
instantly I bowed down to worship him, someone who did not understand
that I actually worshipped him asked me why I went so low to greet him
in the traditional Sri Lankan way ,I had to correct her and say that I
really worshipped him because he was my teacher. Very few people know
that Mr. Ahubudu was a teacher at STC, you might even think to
yourself that this Sinhala scholar may not have suited the College
culture. Wrong! He was in fact a guiding factor in instilling the
College traditions in us. In a teaching career which spanned over 40
odd years a good 27 years was spent at S.T.C.

Mr. Ahubudu taught from grade 7 to Ordinary Level classes, to me he
was like no other. His style of teaching was what we call 'out of the
box' today, as soon as he enters the class room he draws pictures
across the black board, the pictures included figures of kings, stupas
and different ancient scenarios. With these pictures, which he drew
under two minutes, he was able to draw our attention to him. He was an
excellent artist and his illustrations were lively and intriguing.
Then he would relate the story pertaining to the drawing, most often
the stories were about a king or something from our history. He told
us about Kings such as Dutugemunu and Dhatusena and their dedication
to the country, religion and the people. His stories also included
ancient cultivation practices, irrigation schemes and the commitment
of the ancient leaders of our country. The stories which lasted for
about six to seven minutes touched our minds and hearts creating a
deep sense of affection and pride towards our language, culture and
country. He did not ever have to shout at us to get our attention. His
mild mannerisms and gentle way of addressing us together with his
exemplary appearance made us want to listen to him. Imagine a
classroom full of teenage boys taking an interest and listening to
historical stories and encounters. Looking back, I feel that he was
the one who sowed the very first seeds of patriotism in our minds. His
vision on patriotism was all about being community minded. The heroes
of his stories epitomized this vision. Our forefathers who were the
main characters of the stories he narrated always placed country
before self whether they went to war, made stupas, had trading with
other countries or developed irrigation systems. He was able to strike
that fine balance in his stories by highlighting the exemplary
character traits of these heroes and heroines and not just giving a
false sense of pride
of being Sinhalese. Even when he told us stories about the fight
against the British Empire, he instilled no anger or animosity in our
minds, he knew his audience was hundred percent teenagers, boys of a
very impressionable age, so he was careful not to allow us to
misconceive the idea of nationalism. He ensured that we never became
'lable patriots'; citizens who would call them patriots yet act
contrary to the supreme notion of patriotism. He also introduced the
concept of farming for self sustenance to us, this was the time that
Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranaike's government was promoting Sri Lanka
produce and Mr. Ahubudu's contribution was immense in this regard.
Once again he showed us our duty and responsibility towards the
country's future.

I have been guided by many disciplinarians in my life, but none was
gentler than Mr. Ahubudu. I still wonder how he commanded attention
and respect, kept the students quiet and still stole our hearts and
minds without ever having to be strict with us. He was a different
type of character; non threatening and soft spoken but extremely
effective as a teacher. I cannot recall a single day when he punished
us. He addressed each of us as 'oba' ('you' in its mildest and most
respectful form), there was no necessity to send anyone to the Warden
or give any sort of punishment. The reason was not that we were great
students but because he was a great teacher; great because in his
presence all the students behaved well.

How can I ever forget the 'sloka' (Pali and Sanskrit stanzas) through
which he imparted deep philosophy to us? I still recall those stanzas
from my memory effortlessly thanks to Mr. Ahubudu. These stanzas
simply taught us the way to live in this world. He always gave us much
more than the syllabus or the prescribed subject matter. Today, a
teacher will not go beyond the subject matter for two reasons; one is
because he or she would not know anything more than their own subject,
the other is that they do not care that much about the students. Mr.
Arisen Ahubudu went above and beyond his line of duty to give us more.
Come to think of it, he never had a 'line of duty', whenever he taught
something extra it was made so very interesting to us. We never made a
mockery of his stories or thought it was a waste of time. From the
moment we realized that this teacher was getting us on track to face
life challenges, we followed him. This also taught us to train our
minds to concentrate on one thing, a training which I find most
useful especially now. It was his guidance which helps many of us
today to move with people from all walks of life.

Punctuality they say is the politeness of princes. Mr. Ahubudu was a
right royal prince for he was always punctual, it was his way of
respecting others. He was simple, friendly and affectionate, his
priority was teaching and his personal life was secondary. Sadly, for
present day teachers that priority order has been reversed. Today the
teachers work for a salary where as teachers like Mr. Arisen Ahubudu
taught and were paid for their work. Undoubtedly, the teachers of
today draw a very good salary, however, at the time Mr. Ahubudu taught
salary anomalies or personal benefits never came into the school
system. Perhaps they had certain disagreements with the education or
school authorities, but we never witnessed such disputes, even if
there were issues, I am sure the teachers would have brought them up
at different fora but NEVER at the cost of children's education. Like
the health sector, education sector too was considered noble and those
who were
engaged in both these areas of work understood and respected it.
What he wanted and what he dedicated his life for is to ensure that
the younger generation became citizens of worth. He was thus connected
to his students. What we have seen in the recent past is that
teachers' unions have cut off that umbilical cord between teacher and
student while the student is still a foetus, this has created a bad
precedence and a bad example to students, the untold damage of this
action is that it has destroyed the faith , children had in their
teachers and has paved the way to the destruction of the education
"service"; a word now alien to teachers.

Long years back a journalist asked Mr. Lalith Athulathmudali as he
assumed duties as the Minister for Education" when he has to take
decisions pertaining to education who should be the first priority",
Minister Athulathmudali responded "the students", the same person
asked what the second priority should be, and in a flash came the
answer 'the students', the person finally asked what the third
priority is, to which Mr. Athulathmudali said "the students', driving
a very clear message home; that there is only one priority in quality
education services. Mr. Arisen Ahubudu is also someone who understood
that well and rendered his dedicated service to many generations of
students. Sir, I thank you and salute you for the nobility you have
shown us and the humility with which you have taught us and wish you
health and happiness on world teachers' day; a day on which we
celebrate and appreciate teachers most rare and extraordinaire.

S.V.D. Kesarralal Gunasekera
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Old 22-08-20, 12:37 PM
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Default G. K. Mandawala: Teaching profession personified

G. K. Mandawala: Teaching profession personified
1 February 2016

?A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops?
? Henry Brooks Adams

Every time I write about the teachers of yesteryear, I am saddened by two things; one is that these teachers, who are worth their weight in gold are no more; the other is that there is no sign of the present day teachers ever coming even close to them.

It?s been a year since our teacher Mr. G K Mandawala passed away. He was a legend and belonged to the class of memorable teachers. This tribute is on behalf of thousands of students at S. Thomas? College, who had the good fortune of knowing and being influenced by him. Keerthi Mandawala, was a Thomian himself who ?grew up in the College boarding and then extended his love and passion for this school as a member of the staff.

He was also a Lieutenant of the Army Volunteer Force. When you look at the life he lead, it is obvious that he simply loved the College. His dedication to the College was demonstrated at many levels.

Mr. Mandawala was a short and lean man, impeccable in his attire. Never did we see him wearing clothes with multiple creases or his studded boots unpolished. It seemed that he had a certain obsession about being neat and clean just like Mr. D N Pereira.
As Upali Jayatilleke puts it we ?will never forget the sound of his footsteps during Prep and the sound of his voice, if one is heard talking or not doing what he is supposed to do at Prep.?

"There were teachers at STC, who were a notch above the rest. They possessed qualities that are still awed by their students. Mr. Mandawala was one such personality. He was born to teach, for he absolutely loved teaching."

Needless to say he was a disciplinarian. Being a Thomian himself, he had double authority to discipline the boys. It was not the fact that he had the authority to mete out corporal punishment that made all of us mortally scared of him, but his imposing personality that commanded respect from everyone who walked through the STC gates.

I still remember how my mate Nigel Goonetilleke, a born rioter, who was twice the size of Mr. Mandawala was caught doing something ?unacceptable? in class. Mr. Mandawala held him by the trouser just by the navel and twisted it for a better grip and pushed Nigel against the wall effortlessly.
Nigel knew he meant business and was quick to say ?Sorry Sir?, and to everyone?s surprise Mr. Mandawala let go of his deadly grip. In hind sight, we realize that the lesson for us that day was the importance of accepting an apology. During his 21 years of service to the college, he held many positions and possibly held more responsibilities than any other teacher. In addition to multiple subjects such as Sinhala, Buddhism and Geography, he was Assistant Librarian and later Chief Librarian of the College. It was the policy of the College that students must patronise the Library. I together with some of my class mates were called up by him to the Library for not doing so, and were asked to take away a book each.

A few days later we all returned the books, untouched. He asked me if I liked the book. I answered in the affirmative. Then he went on to ask questions about the book for which I had no answers. He turned to the others and asked if their situation was the same. Everyone nodded in shame. He told us to take the books back. The next time we returned the books, we were ready. He asked again, did you like the book? I said yes, awaiting the follow up questions. But there were none. And that was how he created an interest in all of us for reading.

He was a College Hostel Master from 1960 to 1966. He was also the Officer in Charge of Junior and Senior Cadet Platoons of the College. His voice could be heard all over the school when he gave command to the platoon. In Deepal Lecamwasam?s words ?with a sharp glint in his eye, the swagger in his walk usually in Cadet uniform with a swagger stick-to boots, he looked like a formidable Japanese colonel in ? Bridge on the River Kwai? .

To his credit and the credit of the College, two of his cadets became the Commanders of the Army, and another became the Commander of the Air Force, and two others became the Chief of Defence Staff and the Commandant of the Defence Academy respectively. We strongly believe that it was the seeds that Mr. Mandawala sowed that made these cadets reach the topmost ranks of the Sri Lankan Armed Forces.

He indeed knew the potential of his students and was always encouraging. Dr. Velaudapillai, another Thomian, appreciatively states that it was Mr. Mandawala who encouraged him to learn and offer Sinhala at the G.C.E O/L examination and get through confidently. Not only that, he was also the Master in Charge of Physical Training from 1960-70 and also served in the Games Committee.
While reading an excellent article written by him about Pandit Amaradeva, I recalled that he was also the Master in Charge of Sinhala Music and Drama Society. According to former teacher the respected G. Thambithurai ?he was so methodical in whatever he took upon himself, he ran the Royal ?Thomian cricket matches with absolute precision, what I loved most was his writing, he had a perfect fist?.

He is also remembered as the Master in Charge of the Miniature Rifle Club (1964-72). As the Master in Charge of the Government Food Drive he showed us the importance of being self-sufficient in food production.

He also held many positions in the OBA and held many responsibilities including organizing the Battle of the Blues. This included organising the Boys Tent, ensuring discipline, making the Match Souvenir etc. I probably have missed out many other

positions held by him.

However, the reason to list all this is to demonstrate how versatile and knowledgeable he was in many a field, while wondering how on earth he found the time to do all this? He also wrote a Guide Book on Sinhala Language (Waikalpitha Sinhala) for O/L students offering Sinhala as an optional Subject.

This just shows his language proficiency in Sinhala. Needless to say that he had a real command over the English language.

His accent and intonation was beautiful and at the same time authoritative. He also taught Geography and created an interested in many of us to travel the world. It?s a wonder how one person possesses such vast knowledge. And that earns him the title of a versatile teacher.

There were teachers at STC, who were a notch above the rest. They possessed qualities that are still awed by their students. Mr. Mandawala was one such personality. He was born to teach, for he absolutely loved teaching. He was service oriented as if he had taken a vow to teach during his entire life. He would come during the vacation to mark answer scripts and also attended teacher training.
He was indeed very different to the ?professional teachers? of the present day. He belonged to an era where educated people came into the service of teaching.

They were educated in many a subject, with vast general knowledge and capacity to take on anything and everything assigned to them. He was so methodical in anything he did.

For young boys like us, he was an exemplary character, ?he stood for punctuality, manner and discipline?. The very reason why hundreds of Thomians paid tributes, when he passed away last year.

Many who could not come for the funeral wrote to the family to express their love and respect to the late legend. His daughter Ramindri exclaimed ?we are all humbled by the overwhelming love, admiration and outpouring of respect for dad.?

The following poem by David Sansoni is just an example of how highly placed Mr. Mandawala was by his students:

Keerthi Mandawala Lieutenant!

Also O.I.C of Thomian Tent
?General? of the College Library
Lodging in Thalassa by the sea
Sinhala to Burghers he did teach,
Sandi and the other parts of speech
Small of stature, yet a GIANT tall;
Pin-drop-silence Prep time in the Hall.
Expert shot! Two-two or Three-o-Three!
Leisure with a smoke and a cup of tea.
Clad in white; truly a work of art
Son of STC-Our Bonaparte

As we celebrate the life and times of Mr. Mandawala we are ever so grateful to him for being a guiding light for many a Thomian to succeed in life.

May he attain the supreme bliss of Nirvana
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Old 22-08-20, 12:44 PM
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Default D. S. Jayasekera -A lesson I reckon

A lesson I reckon

D. S. Jayasekera

If the walls of St. Thomas' College could talk, they will speak volumes of Mr D.S. Jayasekera who held no wall between teacher and student; a master who saw through the students and yet made a positive impact in their lives. Having served the College for over 50 years as a teacher, Head Master of both Junior and Middle schools, he knew every inch of it, and he knew everything that a teacher should know about his students. To me as well as to thousands of his students, he will always remain the epitome of a teacher. He was a strict disciplinarian whose firm grip we never escaped. I still remember how he detained many of us after school as punishment. It did not take us much time to realise that his motive was never a sadistic one but was only prompted by a sincere wish to see us become men of worth; men who would outshine all others as Thomians. What he has left in our hearts is his imprint that he meant well; that his heart though on the left, was always right.

To say that D.S. Jayasekera was a kind hearted man is an understatement. There was more than kindness in all his deeds. He gave a patient hearing to the students but the difference was that he understood his students. I still recall how he wanted us to take care of the school stationary cupboard. To us playing cricket was more important than the task he had in mind for us. We always came up with excuses to avoid his book cupboard duties, but all those were tactically confronted and reverted by him. He had the time for his pupils at any given time. He has proven over many years that the teacher was always ahead. And every time any student or group tried their boyish pranks, he effortlessly ensured that the master was foolproof.

He stood out not only because he taught Buddhism and Sinhala and taught it well, but also because he spent his time and energy for the betterment of the College and for generations of Thomians. Blessed are we who were nurtured by dedicated teachers. And I know that I am nothing without my teachers and Mr. Jayasekera in particular. The worth of his deeds are invaluable to me today as I recollect the events in my mind's eye and take stock of the wonderful childhood memories he has given me. The calibre of teacher he was is the kind that we need today, for there was dedication and devotion towards the school and the profession which is unmatched even today. He was a gem of a teacher who was rare and precious and will never lose his worth wherever he may be. Never did I see a teacher to whom College was more a home than a place of work. And thanks to him St. Thomas' College will be the home where we come to rest in mind, body and soul.
I wish for him the supreme bliss of Nirvana.

S V D Kesarralal
(Former Member of Parliament)
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