Since arriving at the beginning of January, our welcome at Trinity College has been nothing short of warm and kind. Once settling in and exploring Kandy over the weekend, we were able to start work on Monday, excited to see within the College. We very soon learnt that the most endearing quality of a Sri Lankan is the endless hospitality and willingness to welcome others into their homes and school.
Upon our first day exploring within Trinity, it has to be admitted that we were surprised, having never experienced life inside a Sri Lankan classroom. Although to all Sri Lankans it may seem common courtesy, to us English girls the impeccable manners of the boys when greeting a teacher or guest startled us in the best way possible. It was from this mere gesture that we immediately understood the respect a Trinity pupil has for their teachers.
However, the one particular event that marked the first week at Trinity was the Grade 1 Welcome. Having had no special ceremony at our respective schools in England, we were in awe of the effort that had been put into making the young boys’, and parents’, first day of school so memorable. With a chapel service featuring excellently read religious passages from boys Grades 2 to 5, the parents were informed of Trinity’s key values in speeches from Principal Andrew Fowler-Watt, Mr Marasinghe and the Chaplain Rev. Sanath Medagamgoda. Compassion, self-discipline, fairness, honesty and integrity were made evident as the core ideals of the school, ensuring the boys of Trinity to graduate as mature, balanced young men ready to lead and achieve success in the outside world.
Parents, children and teachers were led outside following the service, and greeted by a group of Junior School boys clothed in the traditional Kandyan dancer dress. Astounded to see these young boys performing with such spirit and confidence, Tabby and I watched in awe as we followed the drummers to the steps. Amongst a sea of Trinity flags, Grade 2 boys, adorned with their striped Trinity bow ties, made a pathway as the Grade 1s made their first descent into the Junior School of Trinity, symbolically being passed a flag by the older boys as they went.
After raising the College flag and singing the national anthem followed by Trinity’s own song, parents, staff and pupils found themselves witness to a Grade 2 performance, welcoming the boys into Trinity. Tabby and myself smiled as the lyrics read ‘Welcome to Trinity, our family’. The oil lamp was lit and the Principal made a speech that I believe stressed an important message for this generation of Trinity; all these children got accepted on their own merit. Through interviews and a tough selection process, the parents sat in the crowd that day emanated pride at the firm and satisfying knowledge that their own child was deserving of the next 14 years at Trinity College.
Annabel Sunnucks and Tabitha Shaw