I stand before you, Trinitians past and present, members of the staff, parents, and well-wishers, from this ‘brave and ancient land’ God has given us, on the threshold of the T150 or sesquicentennial anniversary of Trinity College Kandy. Welcome to this virtual launch on the day we mark the 99th anniversary of the laying of foundation of the Trinity Chapel.
We are a multicultural community of learning, animated from her origins by the Christian vision of education and the dynamic values of the national cultures. Trinity is committed to the pursuit of excellence, remaining within the traditions set forth by our illustrious pioneers and a time-tested set of core values. One of the distinctive features of Trinity, inter alia is desire to create and sustain an ethos of diversity and quality of purpose. All aspects of life at Trinity strive to provide a holistic and integral education, i.e. a series of formative experiences that illumine the human, social, emotional, spiritual, and professional aptitudes of the child. The historical trajectories of Trinity spanning over one and a half centuries, portray an authentic commitment to this model of education that inspires and empowers the Trinitian to blossom in to a ‘Christ-like character’ by his authentic and wholesome pursuit of wisdom and virtue.
Every Jubilee, within the Christian ethos as enumerated in the Bible is a moment of renewal. For the Trinity Family, such a renewal can only be a reinterpretation of the Respice Finem in the milieu of contemporary society. It is a duc in altum [venturing into the deep] exploring the vistas of human excellence. For us Trinitians, the Respice captures this journey. Itis a dynamic phrase, which means to look back, look at, look ahead, and look around: a 360-degree vision of the present while preserving the focus on the end. It is a caution against the tendency to be impulsive and abrupt that dilutes our potential to flourish. It is also a call to enhance our capacity to articulate the ‘big story’ or the ‘greater scheme of life’ against the pitfalls of domestic petti narratives.
Amidst the cacophony of mediocrity, a culture of superficiality and sensationalism, Respice Finem beckons us to retain the divinely inspired value mix as the potent motif of our being in a niche. Our celebration, thus is an act of praise offered on the altar of renewal and rededication, which stands of four noble pillars:
- To Celebrate the Past – We remember the past joyfully, to be inspired by it.
- Map the Future – We look for stability by defining our path.
- Service to Humanity – We foster a spirit of service to elevate others.
- Care for our Common Home – We commit to protect nature and conserve it.
T150 Sesquicentennial Anniversary Celebration, thus, is an opportune moment for the Trinity Family to recall and renew the pioneering vision of those erudite men and women, who ventured into new horizons, exploring new vistas of excellence. The Trinity journey begins in the mid-19th century, when in 1857, The Rev. John Ireland Jones arrived from England to open the Kandy Collegiate School with the object of reaching the sons of the Kandyan chiefs and bringing them under a Christian education. This first school was opened on 16th October 1857, which was closed due to the dearth of students. Early in 1872, the Rev Richard Collins of St John’s College, Cambridge was sent to Kandy, to reinaugurate Trinity on the 17th of January 1872 – the Birthday of Trinity College Kandy.
From then on Trinity began her slow, yet steady journey, under the stewardship of many dedicated missionaries. These men of God of revered memory, instilled a vision of holistic human growth that has withstood the test of time. The turn of the 20th century marks another significant watershed in the annals of Trinity. Our current standing locally and globally owes much to the robust vision of the 20th century custodians of Trinity, among which Rev. Alexander Garden Fraser stands out. Within few years, Rev. Fraser transformed a little-known school in Kandy into one of the leading schools in the Island. His successors simply nurtured the budding plant to make it a full-grown majestic tree as it stand today.
Our pioneers set forth at their task of building Trinity edifice on a sound biblical basis. Primarily, they lived by the conviction that every human being has a unique identity as God’s sublime creation. The inclusive vision of Trinity is a living testimony to their original inspiration. The values inculcated and promoted are simply co-extensive with the evangelizing mission of these holy men, the expansion of God’s reign – to bare witness to the newness of the kingdom to come. In retrospect, the pioneers of Trinity were counter-cultural in their mission. Against the backdrop of gradual ethno-religious segregation of our island nation, Trinity became an oasis of mutual co-existence.
T150 History Project will gift the Trinity Family a well-documented historical narrative and an awe-inspiring timeline, which contains the ‘marvelous deeds of many’. Thus, our celebration of the past is not merely a sentimental one. It is thoroughly informed and gives us a potent capacity to remain intact in promoting an inclusive culture of respect and solidarity against growing exclusivist tribal tendencies. The inspiration of our founders will continue to drive us. In the perennial words originally attributed to the 12th century theologian John of Salisbury: “We are like dwarfs sitting on the shoulders of giants. We see more, and things that are more distant, than they did, not because our sight is superior or because we are taller than they, but because they raise us up, and by their great stature added to ours.” May their inspiration continue to transfigure us!
What drives Trinity is her CULTURE. Trinity is about QUALITY of People, Processes and Product. Hence, we must collectively resist and revolt against everything that contaminates the wholesome Trinity ethos, especially corruption in many and varied forms that desecrates the hallowed name of Trinity.
The past we celebrate on the 150th anniversary of the founding of Trinity College, is not only a memorial but also a symbol of our collective hope. Now, more than ever before, we must prepare for the long haul within this shared destiny. This journey of the Trinity Family will sometimes be an arid one through the wilderness. Yet, we should never lose sight of the end – the promise land – Trinity College as a flagship education institute with a global reach that is committed to promote diversity and human excellence. As the Respice suggests nothing should distract us away from this noble vision. We must transcend the current automated, mechanistic, and industrial model of education with its multiple obsessions – linearity, standardization, conformity, and testing that feed the dominant culture of mediocrity. I reiterate the need to shun and transcend this culture of mediocrity and embrace an organic model of education that celebrates diversity, encourages curiosity, and enhances creativity [cf. my inauguration address]. As we map our journey ahead, there are some critical areas we need to consider:
- Education is primarily Character Formation i.e. discovering one’s inbuilt purpose of life
- Create an inclusive and secure School Climate for students, where they will cherish their experience of/at Trinity
- Emphases on the wholesomeness and quality of the People, Process, and the Product.
- Align all stakeholders of Trinity within a unified Trinity Vision that will sustain her for the next half a century.
- Building confidence, especially in the student and the parents, in Trinity’s ability deliver a top-notch holistic education.
- Establish Best Practices and Systems that can enhance the creative potential of the students.
- Rethink and strategically update the Sports & Co-curricular programme towards fostering self-confidence and professionalism.
The Trinity we dream ought to be a Sedem Perennis Eruditionem [a perennial seat of erudition]. In the immediate context of the global pandemic, it is critical we develop paradigms in Teaching, Learning and Assessing. A Blended Learning Management System will surely add agility and resilience to our academic initiatives. We have already commenced work on a Post-T150 Digital Vision of Trinity, where our administration and academic processes will reach a level of automation that will enhance the quality of education.
What would Trinity be without the Boarding. The T150 Infrastructure Development Initiative under the aegis of the Advisory and Oversight Committee has given us a gem in the refurbished Alison Boarding. We invite Trinity alumni everywhere to collaborate with us in restoring the Trinity Boarding House to its due place. Time is opportune to define the hallmarks of Trinity Sports. The Co-Curricular Enrichment Initiative planned for 2022, will provide the ideal platform for our students to become responsible citizens and professionals in their field of specialization. In the final analysis, all of us past and present students, academic and admin staff, parents & well wishes should collectively ask “What does it mean to be a Trinitian”? Mapping a Lasting Trinity Vision by “Exploring Vistas of Excellence” will be our gift to the 21st century.Join us, in the T150 Sesquicentennial Anniversary Celebration of Trinity College Kandy. May the spirit of Trinity inspire us to resonate her legacy and instill hope and resilience. Come, journey with us into the deep, exploring vistas of excellence.
Rev. Fr. Araliya Jayasundara OSB
Thursday, the 19th of August 2021 – The 99th Anniversary of the Laying of Foundation of the Trinity Chapel.