We all might pause to think, “What exactly made Trinity ‘the best’ in all?” For most of us, being day-scholars, it is quite difficult to picture how it must be like to be a boarder at Trinity. However, the following speech by Jeffrey Arumugam (Grade 11), at a Friday assembly on 13th July, drew a picture in the minds of all those who were listening:
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“Today I thought of speaking about a topic which is not spoken of highly, it is about boarding. As you all might know, in the past, the heart of the school was considered to be the boarding. Which I believe should be the case at present as well.
Boarding was started in the year 1898. As I was told by many seniors of the boarding, it was started by Trinity’s best ever Principal, Rev. A.J. Fraser to make the school more popular. It’s known to everyone that Fraser’s era is considered to be the golden era of Trinity.
Rev. Fraser gave admissions to the students all over Sri Lanka, because he had boarding established. Everyone would agree that it was Fraser who made Trinity “the best school of all!”
But I’ll add to it, he first made the heart strong by bringing boarding up to an exceptional level. Which ultimately paved the path for Trinity to begin its journey towards becoming the best.
Now, let me tell you about life in boarding:
The day starts in the boarding at 5:00 am. After that we are provided with tea arranged in the dining hall. After we have the tea, we move to our dormitory to dress ourselves at around 6:00 am, School Officers come for inspection. After that we move to our classrooms for prep time. Then, we have our breakfast at 7 o’clock. After having breakfast, we move to our assemblies or to our classes.
This shows all of you how we are trained to manage our time. In the lunch interval we come to the dining hall to have our lunch, and after school ends we usually play or attend our various practices and return back to the boarding.
Before studying we are taught to clean our dormitory. This shows how much we are taught to maintain our self-discipline. We start studying from 6:30 to 8:00 pm. Then, we will have our dinner at 8:00 pm, and we go to sleep at 9:30 pm.
In boarding we are taught to:
- Manage our time
- Maintain our self-discipline
- Organize ourselves
- Control our emotions
- Respect and care about each other
- Satisfy ourselves with what we have
- To celebrate the diversity of culture in Trinity
As a boarder I have many dreams to achieve. Not only me, my fellow boarders as well as our boarding masters. All of us want to bring Alison and the Napier houses back to the way they were in the good old days. You might be aware of the greatest men that boarding has produced in the past like, M. Kagwa, the Prime Minister of Uganda and Mr Lakshman Kadirigama, one of the most distinguished politicians in recent years.
We wish to have more boarders in the years to come, and to improve some standards of the boarding. I would particularly like to change the food menu! The time is insufficient to explain about every aspect of the boarding at Trinity. But as a boarder I urge all of you to try being a boarder at least once during your span as a Trinitian!
I would also like to tell you about our boarding masters. Mr Alex Lazarus, the 1987 league winning coach, who is our head boarding master. If we do anything wrong he will punish with his well-known punishment known as the “Wewal kasaya.” I can’t explain the “wewal kasaya” you would have to feel it!
Mr. Sivalingam always wants us to pass our exams. He especially wants me to pass my Tamil which is my first language. In the beginning of the period he always shouts at me, but by the end he is joking with me.
I thought that I should tell everyone that, despite losing my beloved blood relatives, I’ve earned a new family that is complete in all aspects. Today I feel the comfort of being taken care of, supported and valued within my heart.
I will finish off by quoting an extract from the current Senior Prefect’s first speech after joining boarding.
“It’s true that it’s not rainbows and sunshine all the time, but at the end of the day if you can sail through the storms and make sure that when the going gets tough the tough gets going. That’s when you rise as true Trinitian!”
As a proud boarder and a present Rydeite, I urge all of you gentlemen to experience the boarding life which I assure you is worth every minute.
I would like to leave you all with the motto of Ryde house, finis origine pendet – the end depends upon the beginning.
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A long round of ‘applause’ was given after the speech by everyone present at the assembly, as the speech was considered “awe-inspiring” and “different”.
Trinity College was prominent as a Boarding School since its inception. “Boarding life” has an immense contribution towards grooming a fully-fledged Trinitian. The hostels have always been metaphorically referred to as the “backbone of college”. We believe it is a place which inculcates and preaches values which beyond the boundaries of a classroom. A Trinitian is trained to be methodical, independent and selfless. It is a practical learning curve towards creating an excellent team player who could handle all adverse circumstances in life.
Often, parents from all around the island and the world have sent their children to Trinity boarding, expecting to offer them a new dimension in education. Royal families in Uganda, Ghana, Brunei and Maldives to respectable communities in China and the Middle East have sent their children to the hostels of Trinity since the days of old. From Colombo to Batticloa, Jaffna to Matara; dormitories consist of students who belong to numerous ethnicities, religions and castes.
As commented by the Principal at the same assembly, the current boarding system only facilitates 3% of the entire student body of Trinity whereas 100 years ago more than 50% of Trinity’s population used to be boarders. However, the restoration of Alison and Napier Houses are in place as a part of the Trinity150 celebrations. We believe the new proposed structure of the boarding system will provide a better and comfortable living environment to all the boarders at Trinity and would improve the percentage of boarders magnificently in years to come!
Review by Sheshan Abeysekara