THE DIARY OF THE METHODIST COLLEGE OLD GIRLS ASSOCIATION
4 SEPTEMBER 2002
PRIYANI BIDS ADIEU
Mrs Priyani Fernando, Principal of Methodist College bids adieu after 10 years of devoted service to her Alma Mater. She will be retiring at the end of this year.
She first joined Methodist College as a teacher of English and Science in the year 1988. Three years after, in the year 1991 she became Co-Vice Principal and in 1992 on Mrs Shanthi Peiris' retirement became Principal of Methodist College. She will be succeeded by Mrs Shanthi Dias who is also an 'Old Girl'
The lives of both Priyani and Shanthi seem to run on parallel lines. Shanthi too joined the tutorial staff as a teacher of English and Greek and Roman Civilization in the year 1990.
In the year 2000, she was made co-Vice Principal and in August 2001 on the retirement of Co-Vice Principal Mrs Lakshani Fernando, she became the Vice Principal.
In the year 2003, on Mrs Priyani Fernando's retirement, she will become the new Principal of Methodist College.
We wish Priyani a very happy retirement and Shanthi every success in her new role as Principal,
REPORT OF THE METHODIST COLLEGE OGA FOR THE YEAR ENDED 31 OCTOBER 2001
It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to the Annual General Meeting.
We thank God that in spite of the disturbances that go on around us both in Sri Lanka and abroad, we are able to meet in fellowship.
It is with sadness that I record the deaths of three people who have been closely associated with our school Mr George Dias, Mrs V Fonseka and Mrs Iona Fonseka. Mr George Dias was a close friend of the school and served as the President of the Methodist College Education Society for many years. As a parent and a member of the Government Board, he stood by the school and was a great source of strength in organising many of the school's fund raising events. Mrs Iona Fonseka was an Old Girl of the school and also a member of the staff for many years. Mrs V Fonseka was on the tutorial staff of Methodist College for many years and was also the Head Mistress of the Primary School. She passed away afater a long period of sickness and suffering. The OGA is happy to have been of assistance to her in her difficult times. We extend our sincere sympathies to their families as well as to the families of all Old Girls who passed away during the year.
The OGA Committee met four times during the year under review.
The OGA Olympics that was held immediately after the last AGM was a resounding success. Everyone who participated as well as those who observed the event had a most enjoyable time. In response to numerous requests we have decided to hold a sports day this year too. The young members of the committee must be commended for their efforts in organizing these events. I am sure you will enjoy today's activity too.
A Christmas Bazaar was held in December 2000. The Annual Sports Meet was held on 2 March 2001 with Miss Shanthi de Abrew as Chief Guest. The Annual Prize Giving was held on 23 March 2001 in the College Auditorium. Dr Ms Vasanthi Thevanesan was the Chief Guest.
Asiana Holiday Resorts was the venue of the annual OGA picnic. The fact that not too much traveling was involved, was appreciated by many, and the outing provided a good opportunity for fun and fellowship.
The Old Girls Drama scheduled for September was postponed due to the power cuts. However, as the groups participating have been so enthusiastic, it has been decided to stage the plays in January 2002.
Branch Associations overseas have been faithful in fund raising for various needs of the school. The Canada branch has sent us Can$ 3,000 which was used to purchase two computers and a printer for the upper school.
The Diary has been its third issue and many have spoken in high appreciation of it. Our thanks are due to Wendy Wijesuriya for her invaluable effort. We appeal to all of you to send in contributions of news and other interesting articles, poems, etc to ensure that this publication will go on.
I would like to thank very specially, Mrs Nazli Zuhyle, for once again single-handedly organizing a fund raiser "Alphabetically Yours' which was held last week. The show was well received and we thank her for her continued support and enthusiasm.
A Master Plan for the refurbishment of the school is being drawn up. It is of utmost importance that all Old Girls rally round the school to support fund raising efforts in the next few years. The Alumni Association of the United States has already sent in a contribution of US$ 10,000/-
On behalf of the Committee I would like to thank all Old Girls and well wishers here and abroad for their continued support and encourage you to consider ways and means you can be of further help.
Mrs Priyani Fernando and Mrs Shanthi Dias have been a constant strength to us, whenever we have called on them for assistance in our activities, which I am sure, has interrupted their schedules and inconvenienced them greatly. Miss Nilani TissaArachchyu, and Miss Shanika Wijekoon have also lent us their unstinted support. We appreciate the help they give us without reservation.
The Committee members deserve my thanks for their willingness to serve. Time is of essence to everyone and I appreciate the commitment of the Committee in setting aside valuable time, to work for the OGA.
The world is reeling under the onslaught of terror and struggles for power and supremacy. The peace in our land is rocked from within and without. We must, hwoever on no account let our faith be dimmed but live up to our motto "We scatter light"
Chitra de Alwis
EVENTS OF THE YEAR
8 March Inter House Sports Meet held at Police Park
5 April - Prize Giving in the College Auditorium
7 April - College Service at the Kollupiitya Methodist Church
1 June - OGA Picnic to Kabool Lanka International Training Centre, Thulhiriya
15 June - Walk and Mini Fair in the College Grounds
9 November AGM and felicitation of Ms Deloraine Brohier
5 December - Carol Service
12 December - OGA Farewell to Mrs Priyani Fernando
NEWS FROM SCHOOL
Girls Guides Ranjula Mendis and Nilusha Fernando have been chosen by theSri Lanka Girl Guide Association to represent Sri Lanka atr 'Frame' 2002 from 27 July -3 August at Foxlease, Lyndhurst, England
Old Girls may not be aware that oriental dancing is taught in the school curriculum and that we haev 2 full time dance teachers and an excellent dance troupe of about 150 girls in the Upper School. 'Nadanu-Pa' a dance concert of a collection of Sinhala dances was held on 16August in the school Auditorium and it was open to the public.
'Kala Vizha' organised by the Tamil LIterary and Dramatic Assocaition will be staged in September. This too will be open to the public.
An evening of Mystery, plays directed by Juanita Barbut will be staged on 27 & 28 September at the Lionel Wendt.
The school library will be relocated in the newly refurbished Boarders Sitting Room and will be ocmputerised for easy access. Two old girls are in the process of updating the catalogue.
PRIMARY SCHOOL ACTIVITIES YEAR 2001/2002
Operetta : The latter part of 2001 was of great significance in the Primary School. The Operetta "The Magic Beanstalk" was held on 12 & 13 October at the College Auditorium. The full student body of 738 students took part in this under the expert direction of Rochelle Jansen, a young past pupil. This was a tremendous success.
Computer Unit : Proceeds of the Operetta enabled us to set up a Computer Unit with five computers and a printer, together with a donation of two computers by a parent. Computer lessons are given to students from Grades 2-5 once a week.
School Family :Under the new Educational Reform, a School Family was set up iin 2000. During the year 2001 we were appointed the Leader School of Sewvandi Family comprising ten schools in the Colombo Region. Under the new reforms, teaching of chess was introduced from Grade 3 upwards.
Oratorical Contest : Among other activities the students of the Primary School participated in an Oratorical Contest organized by Lindsay Girls' School. Our students were placed first in the English and Tamil contests.
Christmas Programme : We were the hosting school for the Christmas Programme. Ten schools in the Sewvandi family gave an item each. Our students performed the 'Nativity Play" Children enjoyed the programme working in harmony with other schools.
School Excursions : Grade 1 students visited the Anchor Facatory at Biyagama Free Trade Zone. Grade 5 students visited the Coca Cola factory at Biyagama Free Trade Zone. Grade 4 students were taken on an excursion to Lanka Milk Foods (CWE) Ltd and Phoenix Industries (Pvt) Ltd, Welisera.
Year 2001 - January : Welcoming the Grade I students and Parents. A Special Service was held in Church, followed by a Variety Entertainment by the Grade 2 and 3 students, in the Auditorium. Refreshments were served by Grade 5 students.
February : Independence Day Commemoration. Grade 5 students enacted the freedom struggle by the National Leaders, representing all four communities, Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim and Burgher. All students joined in the singing of praises to 'Mother Lanka".
March : Easter Celebrations. Easter Service was held this time with a difference. Students walked in procession to Church, carrying flags with the message "Jesus is Alive" with a pom pom tied to their hand. The Story of Easter was read by four students in Grade 5. Decorated boiled eggs were offered by the students which were distrubuted to inmates at the Deaf & Blind School, Ratmalana, St Margaret's Convent and Home for Elders.
April : Sinhala and Tamil Aluth Avurudu Celebrations : The meaning of the above was dramatised by the Grad3 5 students, representing their Ethnic Groups. True Spirt of the New Year was depicted observing the customs followed by Sri Lankans for generations and reminding the Children the value of living in harmony.
ALPHABETICALLY YOURS :'Alphabetically Yours' an evening of song, dance and music was held on 3 November 2001 at the Methodist College Auditorium The audience was captivated by the delightful 'Old Favorites' of song and music that was rendered by the performers alphabetically, as the name of the evening's entertainment denotes.
The entire programme had a good mixture of beautiful music - piano duets by Ramya de LIvera Perera and Indrani Wijesundera and the rendering of popular sings by Clifford Richard and an Elvis Presley look a like Fahmy Nazick.
'Friends in Harmony' a talented group added variety to the evening's entertainment with their items on the flute, the West Indian Drums and their singing.
Finally, the three dance troupes who performed displaying their vivid colour in costumes and hilarious skit by Clifford Richard brought an end to the evening's delightful entertainment.
Our thanks to Nazli Zuhyle, a loyal old girls for the immense effort she must have put into organizing this successful evening.
NEWS FROM ABROAD
Canada : The Association completed yet another eventful year in March 2002. The recent events held to date have been a community outreach to a palliative care home and the Walk-a-Ton on June 15, to coincide with the one in Colombo. We were pleased with the participation at this event, which concluded with a full breakfast for all participants. Can$ 5,000/-, proceeds from the walk was sent to Methodist College Colombo for the refurbishment of the Upper School.
Sydney : The Sydney Branch of the OGA which has been dormant for nearly 6 ytears, was recently revived in March 2002. The Committee has, over the last couple of months worked hard to identify and enrol as many MCites as possible residing in New South Wales. On 21 June 2002, the OGA held a 'Ladies Nite" for members and guests. The function was well attended.
UK : The OGA UK has sent Stg. 2000/- to Methodist College for the library. The money has been distributed to the lower school, the junior and senor and the Science libraries.
USA : Last March, the Alumni Association organized a very successful fundraiser entitled 'Memories with Desmond and Sohan:". The proceeds of the programme were sent to Methodist College to assist with the renovation of the main school campus. The funds have been allocated for the refurbishment of the school library. The Alumni Association has an active core group of about 25 members who meet regularly for social activities.
FIRST WOMAN GENERAL SECRETARY : Mrs Lakshani Fernando, Co-Vice-Principal, Chaplain and Warden of the hostel, retired in August 2001, to take up an appointment as General Secretary of the Ceylon Bible Society. She becomes the First Woman to do so.
Warm welcome to all on this Prize Day
When hard work is recognized and rewarded.
Events of the past we review and reflect on
New lessons for the future to sore.
The world o'er, what discord & disintegration records
The Palace massacre in Nepal
In Royal line to the brink did bring
The terrorist attach in the US
Like a scene from the apocalypse did seem
Not Afghanistan alone but nations far and wide too
From its repercussions reverberate
An unstable economy in Argentina
Civil unrest and riots provokes
Tenuous Indo-Pakistan links
More ethnic strife does breed
The increase in illegal immigrants
Compassionate countries to hostage holds.
In Sri Lanka, the daring airport attack
Widespread recession and unemployment creates
Power cuts, train accidents, student unrest,
A familiar dirge echoes
A constitutional crisis, fresh elections calls for
A change in Government, new optimism brings
The long-awaited peace pact is acclaimed
Yet extortion & abductions in the North-East go unchecked
"They have healed the would of my people lightly
Saying 'Peace, peace' when there is no peace"
"O that we might see some good
Lift up the light of thy countenance upon us, O Lord"
At MC, the yearly round of activity
To her students a rounded learning gives.
The Magic Beanstalk by the entire Primary
Their talent and abilities displayed
And spell-bound, its audience enchanted
Farewell we bid to Mrs Lakshani Fernando, who
As Vice Principal, Chaplain and Warden
Dedicated service to the school did render
God's blessings go with her in her new office
The school, a major refurbishment undertakes
The support of all here, we will surely value.
As we look back, God's faithfulness we see
The Lamp of Learning still glows undimmed
Its spirit of humility, service and love unabated
In this we trust as the future we face.
FIVE SUCCESSIVE GENERATIONS AT MC
Mary Perera-George Francis Pinto Jayawardene
Daisy Jayasekera - Joan de Alwis - Damaris Wickramasekera - Hiranya
May Tirimanne - Gwendoline Gurusinghe - Helene Renganathan - Keshiya
KNIGHT OF THE ORDER OF ORANGE-NASSAU FOR DELORAINE BROHIER
Deloraine Brohier was honoured at the official birthday celebrations of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands. She was decorated a Knight of the Order of Orange-Nassau on 26 April 2002. Here again, she follows in the illustrious steps of her father , the late R L Brohier who was himself honoured wih the slightly more prestigious honour of Officer of the Order of Orange Nassau.
Her honour is richly deserved as she has spent decades in untiringly promoting a wider knowledge of the Dutch period in Ceylon history. She has published several articles which were the result of her deep commitment ot his cause.
In an interview published recently, she has said that along with her parents, the wonderful teachers she had at Methodist College formed her into being the complete person she is.
We are heartily proud of her and add our congratulations to all the rest.
Master Will Shakespeare will truly survive
Four centuries and more he's been alive
Despite speculation, neglect, onslaught
In the Essex, Revolt he was nearly caught
For innocently staging Richard the Second
And to the Court he was promptly beckoned
But he charmed the great Queen with his humble wit
He won her confidence, made a big hit
Known to many, adored by a few,
He was a man for all seasons, good and true
His young Lord Patron played a false friend's part
The Dark Lady caused havoc in Shakespeare's heart
So the young Poet wrote Sonnets to let off steam
His bitter-sweet memories more real than a dream
Our world might vanish in a blast of Nuclear rain
But his lays and poems will always remain
By lesser writers he's often reviled
Yet we, his admirers are still beguiled
Actor, Poet and Playwright supreme,
His works will glitter and gleam
Creator of terrible blood-dripping tragedies
And the most romantic fantastic comedies
William Shakespeare was born : 23 April 1564, Died 23 April 1616
OH, MC, DEAR MC
Thus we were nurtured with daily prayer
We were taught to love and taught to care
To help our sister along Life's way
To laugh to love, to work, to play
We were taught to turn the other cheek,
Which to the world outside is a sign of 'weak'
If asked for our coat, we give our shirt as well
We're to play the 'Good Samaritan, help our enemy when she fell
We're to befriend the 'bad' for great is their need
For friendship and love, the hungry beggar we're to feed
We were taught to disregard race - caste did not exist
Oh MC, dear MC you taught us to be misfits!
The world is in an awful mess! or so it seems to us
Yet, we're to g our ways, 'bear up the pain' live life without a fuss
You taught us not to grumble, taught us to sacrifice
Taught us to be simple, not pretend to be too wise
So when the World turns haughty and fails to understand
Your little group of down-to-earth girls, who like to lend a hand
We'll meet again at MC where we know we're understood
And romp along those corridors - back to our dear girlhood.
ACHIEVEMENTS OF OLD GIRLS
Deloraine Brohier was decorated a Knight of the Order of Oranje Nassau on 26 April 2002
Kavitha Nadarajah completed the final examination of the Chartered Institute of Management Accounts, UK 9CIMA) ain Novmber 2000 at the age of 20 years.
Ambikai Bala Sunderam won the Nuffiled Scholarship to Oxford University
A TRIBUTE TO MRS REBECCA VIVIENNE FONSEKA
It is an year since Mrs Vivienne Fonseka passed away, after a prolonged illness. This comes as a humble tribute from her every grateful pupils. She joined the staff of MC as Miss Matigahatenna way back in 1943 and took up the challenge of guiding the destinies of so many girls with her love, dedication and devotion. As years went by, like all young girls, she fell in love and married Mr Alex Fonseka. From then on, she was Mrs Fonseka to all of us. Although she raised three sons, her dedication and devotion towards her pupils never changed. When the then Government decided to change the medium of instruction to Swabhasha, Mrs Fonseka being a 1st Class Trained Teacher, was versatile enough to teach almost all the subjects in Sinhala, needless to say she had the co-operation of her colleagues on the staff and vice versa. She was indeed popular and had a very strong and colourful personality.
A strict disciplinarian with a soft heart, she commanded great respect and admiration from her pupils. She always stressed the importance of being truthful, which in itself is vital to character building and more importantly to be a responsible woman. Most of us are what we are today as a result of this, for which we are so grateful to her.
Her command of the Sinhala Language was excellent. Her extraordinary sense of humour made the lessons very interesting and absorbing. She took special interest in the weaker girls and gave thenm individual attention in the class room and outside. (We had no private tuition classes in those days!)
Outside the classroom she was our friend and confidant. Always cheerful and available with her advice and guidance. On our school picnics her real self was revealed 'fun loving, down to earth and genuine. In other words she was one of us. In later years it was indeed a pleasure to go back to MC and see her unchanged personality.
In the hostel she was a second mother, extending her love and warmth to everyone away from home. She would personally see that al went well.
She took charge of the Primary School (Framjee House) from 1976 to 1982, the year she retired after 39 years of faithful service. It was indeed a job well done.
Although we left school and went our different ways, she was a source of great strength to us. Available at all times for advice, guidance and encouragement. Her demise has created a void in lives and her memory will no doubt, last a long, long time to come.
It was Mahatma Gandhi who said, "When you educate a man, you educate an individual, When you educate a woman, you educate a whole nation" She strongly believed in this and did prove it beyond any doubt. In fact, she educated more than one generation.
In conclusion, our sympathies and prayers go out to Mr Alex Fonseka and the family. They can be consoled that her's was a meaningful life well lived.
May she be blessed with eternal peace.
We remember, Mrs Ranjani Manamperi (nee Wijetunge) who passed away on8 August 2001 after a brief illness. And Miss Sunil Aiyadurai, who passed away on 25 May 2002 following a brief illness.
Dear Old Girl.....
There has been a tremendous amount of activity at Methodist College this year. The Principal's office, the visitor's sitting room and the boarder's sitting room have all been smartened up. The hostel is at the moment under renovation and a new set of wash basins, have been built in the vacant space between the hostel bathrooms and the Park Hall, which is very impressive indeed.
On 15 June, the school and the OGA, "Walked" for MC The walk ended in a mini fair and a musical show which was quite a success. Proceeds from the 'Walk' have all gone into the Upper School buildingn project. We Old Girls have at all times helped the 'Old School' whenever we could and I am sure we will continue to do so in the future too.
"The old order changeth, yielding place to new"
And so the dawn of the New Year will see change at the help of MC when Priyani bows out and Shanthi takes over. Shanthi would then be the 3rd consecutive 'Old Girl' Principal. Mrs Shanthi Peiris too being an old girl. Three cheers for our Old Girls.
To my request for contributions towards the cost of printing the Newsletter there was a response though not an overwhelming one. To those who sent in their contribution, I would like to say a big 'Thank you' and to those who have not and may like to do so this year, you are more than welcome. Cheques to be drawn in favour of 'Methodist College Old Girls Association", the Diary, c/o Methodist College, Colombo 3 Finally a reminder to you to send in information about notable achievements of old girls and any other items of interest, to the editor to ensure the continuance of this Newsletter.