My Lord Bishops of Colombo and Kurunegala, Chaplain and other clergymen, members of the Trinity College Board of Governors, Chief Guest (His Excellency Maithripala Sirisena, President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka), distinguished guests, academic staff, parents, and Boys and Old Boys of this great Institution. It gives me the greatest pleasure to welcome you all to this year’s Prize Giving at Trinity College, Kandy.
As was the case in 2017, we shall not be printing the Principal’s Report this year. It is a massive waste of paper. Instead, as soon as the Prize Giving is concluded, the full version will be published on the College Website. Once again, we shall be giving out Book Vouchers this year, rather than books themselves. Boys can then choose and order appropriate books at leisure, rather than picking random and often unsuitable books from a bookshop with limited stock. When they have bought the book that they want, I would encourage them to stick the Trinity prize bookplate into it and then bring it for me to sign. I hope parents will ensure that all prize winners purchase a book which they will wish to keep for the rest of their lives.
To begin with, I would like to say a few words about our illustrious Chief Guest to you:
Maithripala Sirisena is the 7th Executive President of Sri Lanka. He was born on 3rd September 1951 to a middle-class farming family. He is the son of World War 2 veteran Albert Sirisena, who was awarded five acres of paddy land in Polonnaruwa by D. S. Senanayake. I am delighted to discover that his mother was a school teacher. He was educated at Thopawewa Maha Vidyalaya and Royal College, Polonnaruwa where he first developed an interest in politics. His Excellency later studied for three years at the Sri Lanka School of Agriculture in Kundasale (not far from here), earning a diploma in agriculture in 1973. And in 1980, he was awarded a Diploma in political science by the Maxim Gorky Literature Institute in Russia.
He joined mainstream politics in 1989 and has held several senior posts since 1994, most notably as Minister of Agriculture and of Health . He is the President of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party and was the party’s longest serving General Secretary, a position he held until 2014. As everyone here knows, he was selected as the Common Candidate of the Opposition for the Presidential Election in January 2015. He won the election with just over 51% of the popular vote, and has been President of the country since then.
Your Excellency, it is both a pleasure and an honour to have you here with us at Trinity today.
In a minute, I shall ask the President to address us all. However, before that, let me speak a little about the past year and share with you my vision for the future of Trinity College. I am now well into my third year as Principal of this great Institution. Having spent time looking and analyzing Trinity’s current state, I am now beginning to act proactively in order to improve the quality of education at the school. And by education, I mean both in and out of the classroom. So much of what I am trying to do is not actually anything new; rather, it is restoring Trinity to how it used to be before. For example, I have now taking active steps to rebuild the House system at the school. Old Boys will remember just how important this used to be, and how many competitions and activities were house-based. These same Old Boys would be shocked at the complete collapse of the House system over the past 15 years or so. There is currently almost nothing left of it. For example, in 2017, the only Senior House events to take place in the entire year were the Sports’ Meet and the House Drama Competition. No Swimming, no Rugby, no Debating. Nothing else at all. We urgently need to get that House pride and friendly rivalry back into the Trinity culture.
Similarly, Clubs & Societies, for generations one of the areas in which Trinity stood out as “the best school of all”, had largely died by the time I arrived, especially in the Middle and Upper Schools. When I arrived, I discovered that most societies, if they happened at all, met for just one Meeting (or Open Day) in the whole year. With just one or two notable exceptions, there was virtually no regular weekly (or even monthly) meeting. Once again, Old Boys will remember just how much about life they learned from extra-curricular activities. That has all changed. I discovered that most boys at Trinity were getting zero exposure to all those enrichment opportunities that used to exist at Trinity, led both by senior boys and by inspirational, selfless teachers who happily went the extra mile for the benefit of Trinity and their students. We somehow need to get this philosophy back to Trinity, and by doing so, break free from the current stranglehold exerted by a highly-damaging Private Tuition culture.
One way I am trying to do this is by creating a 40 minute slot in the middle of each day, specifically ring-fenced for Clubs, Societies and House activities. It is in the middle of the day firstly so that every boy and teacher will be in school; and also so that it does not clash with Sport which happens in the afternoon. Boys will no longer be forced to decide, for instance, between playing cricket or singing in the choir.
The school day now finishes at 3pm in order to make time for this to happen without eating into lesson time. In some areas of the school (notably the Junior School) there has already been a clear benefit achieved. However, in the Middle and Upper School, the Clubs, Societies and House time has been slower to “take off”. So, next term, I am delighted to be bringing back to Trinity a former Senior Teacher and Middle School Headmaster, Mr Krishanthan Anthonydas, who has been overseas for the past 10 years. He will have the title of Head of Co-curricular activities. It will be his responsibility to oversee all House activities, Clubs & Societies; and to ensure that they are running properly every day for the benefit of the boys. So I hope that, in a short space of time, Trinity will once again be able to boast of its unparalleled House and Extra-curricular provision.
Incidentally, teachers who really support and drive this enrichment initiative will be financially rewarded as part of an objective and much-needed Appraisal and Performance-related Pay scheme which is being introduced by the Board of Governors this year. This will give the school a chance to recognize and thank teachers who do more than the bare minimum and encourage them to improve and develop their professional skills. No teacher at Trinity (or anywhere else in the country for that matter) earns anything like what they deserve. At least with a proper appraisal system, we will be able to financially differentiate a little between those teachers who genuinely work hard for the good of the school and those who simply do the bare minimum.
The Admissions process is as competitive as ever. So it is vital that the whole process is transparent, comprehensible and (above all) fair. I am very grateful to the Admissions Committee appointed to look after the Grade 1 admissions for 2018. I can assure everyone that the process was conducted in a totally fair and honest way and the objective Points system which was brought in by the Board, was rigidly adhered to by all members of the Committee. Despite attempts by one or two old boys and even a former Board member to benefit illegally from admissions, no boys were admitted through the back door. Trinity has been a leading school for so many years, and we must set the highest standards for ourselves in terms of professionalism, honesty and integrity. This is true in all areas of school life, but particularly in the admissions process where, as you all know, corruption and dishonesty are commonplace, even in top schools within Sri Lanka. I fear that may have been the case at Trinity in the past, but it must not be so in the future.
There is a false claim which is still being spread by certain unscrupulous parties which says that, before my time, Old Boys’ sons were automatically taken at Trinity. This is simply not true, as the official records (up to and including 2015) clearly show. In fact, we are now taking a higher proportion of Old Boys’ sons than ever before; over 40% of the total G1 intake this year. In every case, there was good reason for those who did not get into Grade 1 in 2018. Of course, I realise that their fathers do not like it, but that is the truth. I hope that, by Grade 4, they will be able to satisfy the entrance requirements so that their sons can enjoy the benefits of a Trinity education.
Academically, 2017 was a very good year for Trinity at GCE Public Examinations, and we apparently achieved the best A Level results in the school’s history. Trinity boys came first in the District in both Bio and Physical Science, as well as 2nd in Commerce. 15 boys achieved 3 A Grades and I have listed their names in the online version of the Report.
Overall, 209 students sat for the A Level examination with 139 students qualifying to apply for University entrance. That is 66% of the total, up from 58% in the previous year.
These are the 18 boys who gained 3 A Grades at A Level in August 2017:
K A s U Keragala, T V Wijethunga, R A C M Samarasinghe, W M P H Walisinghe, A S Abeywardena obtained 3A’s in Bio Science, S B Wanigama, R M K L Rathnayake, N C Gamage, A I Karunanayake, in Physical Science and E M H R B Boyagoda, D B Lenadora, L V A Wijesuriya, H N Amarathunga, D M A Fernando, M C Karunathilake in the Commerce Stream.
In the 2016 GCE O Level Exam, the pass percentage was 96.4% with 247/256 boys qualifying to study their GCE Advanced Level.
The boys who achieved 9 Grades in December 2016 (the O Level year group who will receive their prizes today) are as follows:
H M B P Ariyaratne, M J Premawardhana, J A S T Jayakody, U S R Premalal, D S M D N B Samarakoon, W M B C Wijesinghe, J P D T Jayarathne, S B de Silva, B D T Perera, Y S Rodrigo, A W B J Waduge, T N Wijeyathilake, R P Jayalath, P A Jayasinghe, D H Jayasinghe, N K Panawala, J M T R B Nanarathne, T D D Samaranayake, J M B Dissanayake, S J Siriwardena of Sinhala Medium; K L B Alawattegama, I C Horadagoda, S M N V B Samarathunge, K A B Abeysundera, T P De Silva, M A R K Mathota Arachchi, G K C L Perera, H I U Hettiarachchi, S N S Lamahewa, M N M Rashard, U J Ratnayake of English Medium; N M Aasioue of Tamil Medium
Incidentally, I am delighted to report that the 2017 O Level results, only published this week, were extremely good. There was a pass rate of 98.4%, and 253/257 boys who sat their O Levels in December 2017 qualified to do A Levels. An impressive 34 boys achieved 9 As (a slight increase on last year) with a further 27 boys obtaining 8A’s. Nearly 60% of all boys achieved 5 or more A Grades. For a school with non-selective entry, this is a genuinely good result. They will be given their awards at the next Prize Giving.
I am very proud of all boys who did well in their academic studies, especially those who managed to combine excellent academic results with significant contribution to Sport or other extra-curricular areas of Trinity life. I wish those who are now leaving College all the very best in their further studies and careers.
Trinity has always had a huge number of Co-curricular activities, catering for children of all ages, abilities, faiths and interests. I cannot possibly mention all of them here today, as we would be here all night if I did. I have tried to include as many of these activities as possible in the written report, but will just pick out a few highlights now.
Trinity is an Anglican Foundation, and we remain a proudly Christian School. However, as has always been the case, we welcome boys and teachers from all religions. So I am pleased that all four of our Religious Societies organised highly successful and well-attended events this year. It is important that we teach all children to be tolerant and accepting of others, whatever their religion, culture and backgrounds. It has always been the case that once a boy walks through the gates of Trinity, his religion or ethnicity really does not matter. That needs to be the case today, as much as it has ever been.
Scouting: The scout troop has been an integral part of College since 1914. Even by the troop’s high standards the year 2017 was one of their most successful years ever. Playing a vital role of duty and service and whilst engaging in various types of community services and adventures, the 17th Legion was able to produce 3 President Scout Award Winners during the past year: Shihan Maharoof, Rashoav Ravindran and Sandarn Seneviratne.
A significant achievement for the whole troop was that during the 2017 All Island Exploration Hiking Season, the Senior Scouts emerged Champions at 2 out of the 3 Competitions, whilst becoming Runners up on the other occasion. Anchoring the 17th Legion to glory, the Troop Leader Master Shihan Maharoof was crowned the Best Explorer on all 3 occasions. He is the first ever boy to have achieved this feat during a single calendar year.
Sinhala Literary Union: The Sinhala Literary union reached its 104th milestone this year. Students participated in many activities organised by the education ministry and won many prizes. The Sinhala Debating team took part in several Debating competitions organized by Central Province. Bak Maha festival was organized by the students of Grade 6 to 9 which was a great success. Master Y A Piyathilake won first place Zonal and District Level in speech competitions conducted by the Education Department. Master S K Yaddehi won 1st place in singing competition Zonal level. The Sinhala Literary union had a successful 2017.
Tamil Literary Union: Trinity College Tamil Literary Union had a successful year 2017. Students participated in Cultural events and competitions while the Annual Thrithvothayam Magazine was launched. The successful House Drama Competition in 2017 was also conducted in Tamil.
Trinity College Choir: The Choir continued its lively role throughout the year adding new experiences to its long history. In addition to regular Sunday Services and its two major events at Easter and Christmas, the choir participated in a number of public events in Colombo with other top school choirs and adult choral groups of both national and international repute. During these events the choir displayed its versatility in performing various genres of music from classical to pop. The Choir keeps the life of the school alive with music and plays a key role in all school celebrations and events from the Entrants Service to the Leavers’ Service, while enriching the lives of Choristers with the discipline and culture of Choral and Music.
Kandyan Drum & Dance Troupe: The National Drum & Dance Troupe celebrated its 45th Anniversary in 2017. A spectacular ‘Rangawali’ show was organized by the Troupe on 5th May to mark the celebration. The Troupe also showed off their talents by winning the ‘All Island Winner of Drum Orchestra’ for the 19th time. They were then invited to represent Sri Lanka at the ‘Folk Performance Festival under the Ho Chi Minh-Gyeongju, World Culture Expo 2017 ’ which was held in Vietnam in November.
Western Music Society: The year 2017 was a victorious one for the Western Music Society with the Primary, Junior and Senior Choral Groups all winning the All-Island Schools Western Music and Dance Competition organized by the Ministry of Education. The Junior Choral Group (Middle School) scored the highest mark in the entire competition with 272 marks, closely followed by the Senior Choral Group who scored just one mark less. This was the 3rd Consecutive year that Trinity College emerged All-Island Winners in all three Choir Categories. In the solo section, Master Abhisheka Surendrakumar was runner-up in the Senior Solo Piano Category and Master Shevindra Herath was also runner-up in the Junior Vocal Solo Category.
The Western Music Society also represented Trinity in the Sri Lanka Festival of Music, Dance and Speech 2017. Master Adithya Herath and Rashmika Herath won the All Island award for piano Duet in the U 11 category. Master Lolonyo Rahulan and Master Shevindra Herath won 1st place for All Island Piano Duet in the U 13 Category. Master Harshith Karunarathne and Master Sathira Wijethunge won the All Island and the Best Duet awards for the Year 2017. Master Abisheka Surendrakumar and Master Mark Senevirathne won the All Island award for the best duet in the U 17 category. The Senior Choral Group was also invited to perform at “200 Voices”, a Combined Choir event celebrating the Sri Lanka National Youth Orchestra’s Silver Jubilee, held at the BMICH in Colombo on the 22nd of September, 2017.
Automotive Society: Even though the Automotive Society is one of the oldest societies at Trinity it was inactive for the past few years. But 2017 was a very successful year for them. The first activity of the reconstituted society was taking boys interested in Motor Mechanics on a field visit to the Railway Workshop at Ratmalana. The boys gained a comprehensive understanding of motor mechanism of the past and present, as well as the subject of mechanical engineering as a whole.
Aviation Club: The Years of 2016 and 2017 were very successful years for the Aviation club of Trinity College Kandy. In December 2016 the Aviation Club of Trinity College organized a tour to Europe, visiting 6 countries, namely Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, France, Italy and Switzerland. Ten Aviators of the club participated in the tour. During the tour they visited the Air Bus manufacturing plant in Hamburg, Germany and the manufacturing plant in Toulouse, France. At the site the boys got the rare opportunity of witnessing the complete manufacturing process of the world largest air craft A 380-900. Also they visited the Lufthansa Technik in France where they got the opportunity to see the inside of the Aircraft owned by the Sheikh of Qatar. During this tour the Aviators got the exposure not only in the field of aviation, but also the experience in using European Railway to travel from country to country. AVIATE 2017 Aviation Day, AVIEX 2017 (an Exhibition organized by the Aviation Club) and a successful Singapore Tour were the major events of the club during the year 2017.
Design and Technology Club: Design and Technology Club organized their first ever Design and Technology Day on 12th June 2017, in collaboration with the Academy of Design in Colombo. The year of 2017 was a great year of growth for the Design and Technology Club.
Heritage Society: The Heritage society organized many events in 2017. “Yathra” was the main event which enabled all young historians around the country to enhance their knowledge in history.
Interact Club: The annual projects, Hill Country Installation, Intercity Meeting and Tap Sevens Rugby Tournament were successfully completed; while a Leadership Programme, Tree Planting Campaign and ‘Connect 17’ for raising funds were additional club activities. The Social Service Project ‘Illuminate’ (where the interactors helped students in Ten underprivileged schools), and a Medical Camp for staff members organised in collaboration with the Doctors’ Association of Trinity College, were the major charity events in 2017. Finally, a few Interactors were fortunate enough to participate in ‘Act Asia’, the South Asian Interact conference held in Kathmandu, Nepal in December 2017.
Model United Nations Club: 2017 was an eventful year for the Model United Nations club of Trinity College. Together with Dharmaraja College a numbers of workshops were organized with other Kandy Schools as well as schools from around the country. They also attended a summit on the Sustainable Development goals organized by the United Nations Clubs of D.S.Senanayake College and Visaka Vidyalaya, which gave them a proper knowledge on sustainable development and means of achieving it. Members of the club also took part in the Sri Lanka Model United Nations Conference which took place from the 2nd to the 4th of September at B.M.I.C.H.
Science Olympiad: Master T V Wijetunga, Master K A S U Keragala, Master R M K L Rathnayake won Silver Medals and Master S M Wannigama won a Bronze Medal at the National Olympiad Sri Lankan National Prize for Physics. Master K A S U Keragala won a Silver Medal and T V Wijetunga won a Bronze medal for Biology at the same National Olympiad. It is noteworthy to state that Master K A S U Keragala, Master T V Wijetunga and Master R M K L Rathnayake had the necessary marks to qualify for the International Biology Olympiad in Iran 2018 but could not participate due to GCE Advanced Level Examinations fall at the same time.
Young Farmers’ Club: The TCK Young Farmers Club has given many opportunities for students of Trinity to gain firsthand experiences in the field of Agriculture, Wildlife management and Aquaculture.
It has been an outstanding year of activities, events, successes and development for YFC, thereby strengthening its role as one the oldest and leading rural youth school clubs in Sri Lanka.
These are just a few of the many Societies in operation at Trinity, covering interests as diverse and valuable as Astronomy, Media, Commerce, Science, ICT, Social Service and Oriental Music. Boys regularly achieve outstanding results in all these areas, including at National and International level.
Sport remains a very important part of Trinity life. There is a huge quantity and variety of sporting opportunities available for boys throughout the school. I will include as much as I can in this Report, but apologise if I miss out something, such is the range and extent of sporting achievement at Trinity, both by teams and individuals.
I will start with Rugby, as most would say that it is the sport which enjoys most prominence at Trinity. It certainly creates the most passion, pressure, stress and excitement… and social media comment, not all of it fair or objective!
Although the results just went against us in the second half of the Season, the 2017 1st XV team, coached by Lote Raikabula achieved many excellent results and was much more successful overall than in 2015 or 2016. We won the trophy for being undefeated Group One Champions, and were just one disallowed try away from winning the League itself for the first time in 30 years. As it was, we finished 2= in the League (some might say 3rd, though that calculation is based on the fact that Isipathana played one more game than Trinity. Clearly that gave them an unfair advantage, though this is not Isipathana’s fault). In any event, it was a very creditable achievement by the boys. Sadly, we just lost both legs of the Bradby by 5 points each time – we were not helped by injuries and illness to a number of our best players. Several of our boys represented the Sri Lankan U19 National team in either 15 or 7-a-side formats.
Other College Rugby teams, however, had very good seasons indeed, and the future of Rugby at Trinity is looking bright. In particular, I would like to congratulate the Under 18s for winning the School 7s Title; and our Under 16 team, coached by Old Boy Thusitha De Silva won the All Island U16 Championship with Sihan Sirisoma named Player of the Tournament. Winning the U16 National title was an outstanding performance by both the boys and the coaching staff.
The whole Trinity community was devastated in early October when one of our boys, Bhathiya Ekanayake, collapsed during the early part of a pre season training session. As you all know, he died in hospital the next day. Bhathiya’s father, the driver of the 1st XV bus, was a much-loved member of the Trinity community, which made everything all the more tragic. The death of any child is a traumatic event, especially for those family and friends who are left behind. Our thoughts and prayers remain with Bhathiya’s parents and sister.
I call on all stakeholders, including Old Boys and parents, to rally behind our rugby players, and remember that the boys and coaches are doing their best at all times and sacrificing so much for their school. We also need to remember that these are children not professionals; their bodies should not be mistreated or abused; and they also need to be allowed time to be normal teenagers as well as ruggerites.
The 1st XI had another highly successful year. The highlight of 2017 was the 100th Big Match, played at Pallekelle international Stadium. In a game which was severely disrupted by rain, we comfortably won the 1st Innings but simply did not have time to get the outright win. On the other hand, we enjoyed a very exciting win in the Limited Overs Encounter at Asgirya. 2 Lions were awarded, to Hasitha Boyagoda and Thisaru Dilshan, both of whom went on to represent Sri Lanka in the recent Under 19 World Cup in New Zealand. It is worth mentioning that, even though this Prize Giving is officially about last season as opposed to this one, we are enjoying a tremendous end to this season, and in a few days’ time, Trinity will be playing in the final of the Schools’ League Tournament. I hope that many will be able to go and support the boys as they try to lift the trophy.
Whilst thanking all the coaches for their hard work, especially Kavinda Jayasuriya and Rushan Jaleel, my particular thanks go to Mr. Bilal Fassy our most generous Cricket Sponsor, and to Mr.Nilantha Rathnayake, Amil Ramanadhan and others in the Cricket Foundation for all the support they continue to give in order to raise the standards of Cricket at Trinity.
2017 was another successful year for our Athletics team as they once again maintained their high standards and achievements. The Trinity College Athletics Team emerged champions for the 23rd consecutive year at the Zonal Inter-Schools Athletic Championship 2017, with a lead of 153 points. They became champions in the U-16 and the U-20 age categories, and also won the Relay Championship. S.H Somasiri of the U-16 age category, R. Rathnayake of the U-18 age category and P.Hariprasanna of the U-20 age category were adjudged Best Athletes of their respective age categories. We also did particularly well this year at the All-Island School Relay Championship in Jaffna, with the highlight perhaps being the U-12 team winning the 4x50m relay. The U-16 and U-20 Relay teams also brought home 5 relay medals between them.
We had a successful 2017, with the highlight being Master KC Harrikizhan superb performance, finishing 1st Runner-up in an International-rated Chess Championship.
The Hockey team played some good hockey in 2017, though it was by no means a vintage year. The lack an astroturf in Kandy significantly lessens our chances of competing on a level playing field (as it were) with our traditional competitor schools in Colombo. The game is no longer a grass-based sport and I very much hope that administrators in Kandy will be able to lay an astroturf pitch somewhere in the City. There is a rich history of hockey both at Trinity and in other Kandyan schools, both Boys’ and Girls. It is a great game, too, and I would love to see it rise again at Trinity. And I am not alone in this. In fact, I am thrilled that a number of hockey-playing Old Boys, led by Deva Ellepola, have set up an official Trinity Hockey Foundation to help revitalise the sport at Trinity. They are, of course, supported in this by the former Vice Principal (and Trinity legend) Mr Paul Jeyaraj, who personally ran Trinity Hockey for many years, taking it to great heights. I am delighted to say that Paul is here this morning, and that later on, a trophy in his name (and donated by his former players) will be awarded for the first time.
Weight Lifting had a superb season in 2017, and I am proud to say that Trinity became the All-Island Under 20 Champions. This is an outstanding achievement, for which credit must go to the coaching staff as well as to the weightlifters themselves. You will have a chance to applaud the boys later when they come up as winners of a special Team Award.
School Sports Colours were awarded to:
Rishane Madena, Sewbhashitha Senanayake, Sivanesan Yohan (Boxing); Shaakya Ariyaratne, Lachitha Kulathunga, Tharindu Rathnayake (Cadetting); Lohan Gunarathne (Chess); Thyagaraja Bhanu, Hasintha Jayasuriya, Vimukthi Nethumal, Trevon Weerasuriya (Cricket); Nadeesh Illukkumbura (Karate); Kanesha Alwis, Rashen Bandaranayake, Shaveen Ekanayake, Rishane Madena, Keshawa Palayangoda, Pasan Samarawickrema, Hasiru Weliwatte, Warren Weerakoon (Rugby); Anuka Boyagoda, Nathan Yee Chang, Dilruksha Dange, Aveesha Priyankara (Rugby Reawarded); Visal Rajapakshe (Swimming); Kevin Gamage, Shenal Premarathne (Weight Lifting).
Lions were awarded to:
Praveen Rajapakshe (Cadetting); Hasitha Boyagoda, Thisaru Rashmika Dilshan (Cricket); Dinura Ediriweera (Soccer); Mindya Jayasinghe (Swimming) and Bevishan Wijewickrama (Weight Lifting).
With so much Sport taking place at Trinity there is no way I can mention everything here. So I have once again highlighted a few sports which have either had an especially good year or which involve a large number of people. There are so many others which take place at Trinity, always regularly and often with good results, including sports as diverse as Soccer, Badminton, Boxing, Gymnastics, Karate, Table Tennis, Tennis, Golf and even Baseball. This time last year, I mentioned Basketball and Swimming as two sports in particular where our standards and results have dropped significantly over the past 10 years or so, and where we are focusing on trying to return them to their former stature. I am pleased to say that there have been some encouraging signs in both sports recently, with enthusiasm, participation numbers and performance starting to improve. Mr Pingamge’s return to the school has certainly rekindled some vitality and self-belief in basketball, and the enthusiastic support of certain Old Boy swimmers (notably Ravana Wijerathne and Chetiya Wijeratne) is helping to do the same for swimming. There is a long way to go in both, but these are encouraging signs.
I would like to thank the Prefect of Games, the Director of Sport and all the Coaches and MICs for their efforts this year. It has also been great to have a Vice Principal who cares as passionately about sport as I do. His hands-on involvement has been invaluable in a number of ways, including keeping both the coaches and the boys “on their toes” and doing the right thing. He is also helping ensure that The Code of Conduct for all Sports’ Coaches at Trinity is also clearly bearing fruit. I introduced this last year, largely in response to concerns raised by members of the PTA and other parents regarding the inappropriate behaviour of certain coaches, especially with regard to favouritism, dishonesty, use of bad language and bullying. All coaches now have to sign this Code and adhere to it if they wish to remain as coaches at Trinity. I am pleased to say that, unlike in my first year, there have been almost no complaints during the past 12 months. I am sure that, at least in part, this is because Coaches now know exactly what is expected of them here at Trinity in terms of their behaviour, integrity and treatment of the boys in their care.
It is an honour and a privilege to work here at Trinity College. It is also a responsibility. Teachers here are expected to play an active and inspiring role in many different areas of school life. If any of them are unaware of the legacy that they are part of, they only need to look at the two volumes of Past Teachers of Trinity, published by grateful Old Boys. I sometimes wonder how many of our current teachers will feature in future volumes.
I am very grateful to those many teachers at Trinity who are happy to go the extra mile for their students; and who willingly contribute to school activities such as Sports and Societies in addition to their classroom work.
There are far too many outstanding staff members to mention them all by name; but I would like to express my thanks in particular to the Vice Principal, Mr JD Wilson. Shaw is a powerful and visible presence around the school. Since his arrival, he has ensured much better maintenance of discipline and orderly conduct ,especially in the Upper School, amongst both students and staff. This has not always made him popular with either group, but it was very much needed. Ananda Marasinghe, the Co Vice Principal, who has also just returned to the Junior School as Headmaster, remains a massive asset to the school. He knows everyone and everything to do with Trinity. If ever I want to find out something, he is my first point of call. I would also like to publicly express my thanks to the Chaplain, Sanath Madagamgoda. The longer he is here, the more valuable he becomes to me and to Trinity; not just in his role as Chaplain, but as a wise, balanced, compassionate, yet surprisingly strong and opinionated advisor. Finally, I would like to thank Nirosha Gunawardane (Finance Manager), Ravi Amarasekera (Head of Administration) and Ashanthi Tennekoon (Principal’s PA) all of whom are a pleasure to work with. They and their teams do an outstanding job behind the scenes; often with little thanks.
The following Teaching Staff joined Trinity College during 2017:
Ms. A P Thalwatta, Mr. I D H Wasagarathna, Mrs. V Fowler- Watt, Ms. S M D J Senanayake, Ms. W G E P Gamage, Mr. J D Wilson, Ms. B D Senarathna, Mr. Aslam Marikar, Ms. K M A N Ganegoda, Ms. S De Zoysa, Mr. E J Gomm and Mr. J S A F Fernando.
The following Teaching Staff left Trinity College during 2017:
S. Silverster, M Rannapura, K K Nadarajah, H M N S Egodawatta, S B Dharmapala, M L A Dissanayake, W G E P Gamage, Violet Rajadurai, S De Zoysa, S T Mendis, D V R Perera, I D B Marandawala, A T Premaratne, D P E Senaratne, W W M I Ambanpola, Feelix Vaanipriya, S A R T Benadict, K N Indrani, C R Muniweera and W A W Costa
Finally, I thank all of the Staff Leavers for what they have given to Trinity College, over many years in some cases. And I wish them all the very best for the future.
There are so many Old Boys, both in this country and overseas, who are extraordinarily supportive and helpful in every way; who do not make a song and dance about it; who do not spend every waking hour posting about Trinity on Facebook; and who genuinely want the best for their alma mater.
I have already mentioned the wonderful support given by the Cricket Foundation. I would also like to thank the members of Scrummage, under the Presidency of Dharshana Munasinghe, for their wholehearted and committed support of Rugby at all levels of the College. As happens with the Cricket Foundation, all Rugby Coaches (from 1st XV down to Under 10s) are identified, interviewed and recommended by Scrummage; only then are they employed by the school. And Scrummage remain the men who keep a technical eye on all that is going on at all levels during the season. Scrummage and the Cricket Foundation do all this, despite having very busy lives of their own, because they love Trinity and they love Trinity Sport. The same is true of those Old Boys who actively support other sports at the school, including Swimming, Basketball and Hockey.
There are also a number of Old Boys who are achieving great things in the world of IT and Technology. This is an area which we are urgently addressing at Trinity, as we had fallen a long way behind other schools in the country, especially in Colombo. I am especially grateful for the advice and support of Old Boys like Dr Asitha Bandaranaike, Dr Romesh Ranawanna and Susitkar Enoch, all three of whom have helped the school greatly in various ways.
Speaking of Technology, I would like to say a huge thank-you to the Colombo Branch of the OBA for their generosity in financing the purchase of the first ever LED Smartboards at Trinity. Due to the leadership and hard work of Kapila Pilimathalauwe, along with the active support of many others including Colombo Branch President, Suchitra Aluwihare, we now have 18 state-of-the art touchscreen Smartboards, including one in each of our Kindergarten classrooms. These are in daily use and are revolutionising the learning experience for our youngest boys. Interestingly, many other teachers are now urging me to get more Smartboards for the benefit of older boys. Once again, the Colombo OBA has answered the call from College, and I am so grateful to them for their support, vision and action.
Finally, I express my gratitude and admiration to the Batch of 1992, who for their 25th Anniversary, suggested, drove forward, and financially supported the TCK Solar Power Project. Your Excellency, I am proud to say that Trinity has effectively become the first school in Sri Lanka to be entirely powered by the sun. Not only will this save us a great deal of money over the coming years, but it is also an example to other institutions of what can be done for the country as well as for ourselves. After all, one thing Sri Lanka is not short of is sunshine! It was great working with this inspirational batch, and I am in awe of how quickly and effectively they actually managed to implement the whole project. I am also grateful to the Board of Governors for providing the additional finance required to turn what was initially a partial project into one which covered the entire school.
PTA Exco meetings have once again been very valuable and positive, primarily because they enable a direct and valuable channel of communication between the school and parents of children of all ages. Thanks go to all members of the EXCO, especially Bimindra Madugalle (Secretary of the PTA) and Romesh John (who represents the PTA on the Board of Governors). Both keep in regular contact with me; and all three of us try to ensure that parental interests and concerns are dealt with in a timely, appropriate and effective manner.
For the second year in a row, the PTA Exco recently arranged a superb Staff Professional Development Programme, this time primarily aimed at Upper School teachers. We had a great day at Amaya Hills Hotel, and, as was the case last year, it will have directly benefited the teachers present as well as indirectly benefiting all the boys that they teach. Once again, it was an excellent example of how the PTA can work with the Management to benefit the school in a direct and positive way.
Things are finally beginning to gather pace regarding the exciting projects planned to be completed by Trinity’s 150th Anniversary in 2022. The Board has appointed a Trinity150 Advisory & Oversight Committee in order to oversee all aspects of the Project. Chaired by eminent Old Boy Jayantissa Ratwatte, the Committee (entirely made up of respected Old Boys) will also ensure that financial and ethical integrity are maintained at all times; and, specifically, that every rupee raised for Trinity150 by Old Boys, parents and other benefactors, will be fully and transparently accounted and will go directly towards the agreed Projects and nothing else.
The four new buildings have all been designed by the renowned architect, Channa Daswatte, himself an Old Trinitian. They are a Multi-purpose Sports Hall, a Science Laboratory Block, an A Level Commerce Building, and a new Dining Hall and Kitchen complex. I am so grateful to Channa for his enthusiastic and generous support of Trinity150. We are incredibly lucky to have a world-renowned architect design these new buildings for us. So often, schools put up buildings which are as cheap as possible, and therefore often ugly and poorly built. Some would say that this has been the case at Trinity, too, in the past. Not so now. Channa has designed beautiful buildings which will provide Trinity with state-of-the-art classrooms and facilities that will stand the school in good stead for the next hundred years or more. Also, the three new buildings on the main campus are strongly linked, aesthetically-speaking, which will help create a new artistic integrity to the Campus; this is something which has not really happened since buildings like Napier, Alison and Gaster were built 100 years ago.
Speaking of Alison and Napier, as an integral part of Trinity150, both Boarding Houses are also going to be completely rebuilt internally. I remain fully committed to revitalising the boarding culture at Trinity. But in order to be able to do so in 2018, we have to understand that what was deemed acceptable in terms of facilities 30 or 40 years ago is not acceptable now. Mothers, in particular, are no longer happy to send their children away to a hostel where there are 60 beds in one room and the washroom is an another building altogether. By doubling the floor space available in each House (achieved by freeing up the second floor of Alison and ground floor of Napier), we are able to create Boarding facilities which will be the envy of everyone in this country. I have asked Rangaji Jayasekera (architect, interior designer and wife of Chamath from the batch of ’96) to design layouts with much higher standards of comfort, privacy, space, and facilities. This will hopefully help us attract more Boarders again in the future, especially from Colombo.
I urge everyone who loves Trinity to support Trinity150 in whatever way they can. So many respected Old Boys and current parents are already involved in a variety of different ways; they realise, as I do, that only by planning and building for the future, both structurally and infrastructurally, will Trinity ever be able to return to its rightful place as “the best school of all”.
Let me finish this report by thanking everyone who has helped me this past year; in particular, my wise and long-suffering wife, Viv, who knows my weaknesses better than anyone, yet has stood by me for 25 years. I’d also like to thank the Board of Governors under the wise chairmanship of the Bishop of Colombo. Their continued support and advice has been invaluable. I often wish that everyone knew what a superb, selfless job the Governors do for Trinity. Sadly, like me, they often seem to be there for target practice.
I was told before I came to the school how complex and thankless a job running Trinity would be. Some people told me that being Principal of Trinity was a “poisoned chalice”. Others thought I was mad to accept, telling me that my life would be significantly shortened as a result. And, certainly, it has not been easy. The multiplicity of stakeholders, each with their own agendas and strongly-held views, makes pleasing everybody with any decision absolutely impossible. I realise that I will never win a popularity contest; that I will continue to be attacked on Social Media; and that my achievements whilst at Trinity will probably only be recognised many years after I have left. All that, whilst regrettable in some ways, is of little importance to me when compared with my solemn commitment to do my utmost for the boys, and to serve the great institution that is Trinity College Kandy to the best of my ability at all times.
It is any Principal’s duty, in my view, to do all he can to improve his school in any way possible; and to ensure that, when he leaves, he hands over a better school than he found when he arrived. Everything I do, without exception, is done with the best interests of the boys and the school in mind. I know it would be so much easier for me personally if I turned a blind eye to mediocrity, incompetence, violence, dishonesty and corruption, and do nothing. But I carry on sticking my head above the parapet because I know that is the correct thing to do. The fact that I still love this job is because of the boys themselves. It is they who make being Principal of Trinity worthwhile. They deserve to be instilled with the same core values of compassion, honesty and generosity of spirit that were learned by their fathers and grandfathers at Trinity, so that they can ultimately ensure that the school survives and thrives long after I have departed. I finish by congratulating those boys who are prize-winners here today. Keep up the good work, gentlemen, and keep on making Trinity proud of you just as you yourselves are proud of Trinity.