Upper School Prize Giving 2018 – Senior Prefect’s Address
Your Excellency the President, Lord Bishops, Chaplain and members of the clergy, Principal Sir, Members of the Trinity Faculty, Board of Governors, Distinguished guests, Old Boys, Parents, Prefects, School Officers and Fellow Trinitians, Ladies and Gentlemen.
It is with great pleasure I stand before you today as the Senior Prefect of this hallowed institution. As most of you know this occasion marks the end of my term for the years 2017/18. After 14 long years my stay in my second home with my foster family comes to an end, but only physically as Trinity and all it’s memories will linger forever.
In 2016 when I had to address the assembly I remember saying that when old boys and present were asked “how can Trinity be better?” both parties answers were “Trinity should be what it was like back in the day”. I disagree. We live in a constantly changing world, where everything in it moves forward. Why should Trinity go back? We should use the core values of the past for the betterment of the present and the future. I used a metaphor, saying that Trinity is a vehicle in which the students are the passengers, the staff the engine and you Principal sir the driver. Together we have endured many dark tunnels, rocks and boulders along a narrow and winding road. But you sir with your powerful engine brought us to where we are today. Thank you.
Being the leader of 2,900 students has not been an easy task. Gone are the days when the position by itself gave the Senior Prefect and the Guild the authority. Today the students body needs to be inspired to respect and work with the appointed leadership. Whilst this is a challenge, it prepared us well for leadership positions in our life beyond these hallowed walls.
Last year’s Prefects saw the arrival and the introduction of Mr. Shaw Wilson into the administration. He has given us all a run of a lifetime if I may so call it.
Mr. Wilson would summon me to his office several times a day and would start his lecture with his famous opening statement “I say Madena”. We are very grateful to you sir for your counsel which fuelled us to keep doing our duty to the best of our ability. And with your presence I strongly believe that trinity is in good hands.
Trinity is home to students from different backgrounds, religions, castes and creed. Every society, team and organization has a mix of all ethnicities and religions working together as one to achieve a common goal. The best example I can give is my being a Christian and my two immediate deputies being Hindu and Buddhist. These, to us were only irrelevant labels that had no meaning, we operated as one single unit along with the School Officers’ Guild. We are Trinitians and Sri Lankans first and last. These are the secular values of a Trinitian. We pray that the same will be true for our great nation.
Your excellency, thank you for being a true advocate of unity and social harmony and for your unwavering commitment to instil values of friendship, brotherhood and good governance that transcends differences of ethnicity, caste and creed in the new generation. We Trinitians stand united by these principles and can confidently say that this legacy of unity will remain unchanged. I will be failing in my duty if I did not thank you for giving us the privilege of your presence and for sharing your most valuable times to be with us today.
Sir, we were indeed honoured to listen to your excellent address, and have no doubt, that your words of wisdom will be embedded in our hearts and minds as Trinitians and later on as fully fledged citizens of this country.
As I come to the end of my school career, I look back and see not a straight paved path, but one with lots of ups and downs, and twists and turns. With the help of my teachers, coaches, friends and family I managed to overcome these obstacles that hindered my life. My coach Mr. Lote Raikabula once said “Enjoy your Dark place” referring to the physical and mental pain when things get tough. I have tried to live up to these words and dear sir, thanks to you I believe I have succeeded.
Now to you brothers a few words of advice, sometimes things happen to you and at the time they seem horrible and unfair, but in hindsight you realize that without overcoming these obstacles you would’ve never realized your potential, strength and the will power of heart. Everything happens for a reason. Nothing happens by chance or by good or bad luck. Illness, injury, love, lost moments, true greatness and sheer stupidity all occur to test the limits of the soul. Without these small tests, whether they be events, illnesses or relationships, life would be like a smooth straight flat road to nowhere – safe and comfortable but dull and utterly pointless. Make every day count, appreciate every moment and take from it everything you possibly can, for you may never be able to experience it again. You can make of your life everything you wish. Create your own life and then go out and live it. In this process of achieving success, also keep at the back of your mind that individual brilliance will only take you this far, the success of you and your team mates will depend on how trinity fairs. People talk about teams and their years, not about an individuals performance. An individual will be spoken of only if the team played well. So be selfless my friends and not selfish. I wish you all the best in your endeavours as well as struggles in life. Maintain a fighting spirit and never hesitate to get back in the struggle. Remember my brothers, a calm sea never made a skilled sailor.
In the past year we students and teachers have worked very hard and achieved success in the fields of sports and academics, working morning, noon and night. Our boys have made this hallowed institution proud and I want to thank them, their parents, coaches and the teachers for their untiring efforts.
I would also like to congratulate Hasitha Boyagoda the Ryde gold medalist and all other prize winners. For all that we have done and achieved I believe we deserve a rest.
In 2013 my brother who was the Senior Prefect at the time was on this very podium delivering a similar speech and requested the then president Hon. Mahinda Rajapakshe to give orders to the Principal to grant a holiday. Here I am standing 5 years from then, lucky enough to be speaking in front of the present President and make a similar request.
As per tradition, the Monday after the day of the prize giving is the day usually requested as a holiday. However this year we have got played out on it sir, as today is the last day of school for the term. An extension to the vacation is of no use since the boys will already be relaxed after a long break. So I referred the calendar and there seems to be a long weekend coming up in June. That is the 15th, 16th and 17th weekend. A previous Executive President is supposed to have said that the only thing such a President cannot do is to make a man a woman and vice versa, we ask you for no such miracle sir, we only ask you, your excellency, to use your authority and prevail upon our Principal to grant us a holiday on the 14th of June making it a long weekend of four days. I am sure he will not hesitate to carry out your command.