Thursday, April 25, 2013

Thillanduwa KV is on a steady path to progress…

1957 was a year of dreams which came true for residents of Thillanduwa in Negombo. A long felt need for a school was fulfilled on
Principal Mrs. S. Peries
January 8 with the establishment of St. Joseph’s Junior School in the parish church premises.
The Reverend Father Joseph Jaysooriya had the honour of declaring open the school in the presence of the Parish Priest Father Stanley Fernandopulle. A large gathering of parishioners and well-wishers was there to watch the teaching of the Sinhala alphabet to two students. The birth of the school was the result of hard work put in by a group of concerned parishioners. Mr. W.L Fernando was appointed as the first Principal. Then and there he admitted more than fifty students to the establishment and Mrs. W.M. Therese joined the school as an assistant teacher.
A year later, Mr. Lucas Perera replaced Mr. Fernando and was the principal for the next decade. This was a significant developmental period in the school’s history. At the onset of his tenure, he expanded the single classroom building of 60 by 20 feet and added two more buildings, one permanent and one temporary. With this expansion the number of students and teachers rose to 423 and 21 respectively. In 1963 the first batch of students took the G.C.E.
The school entrance
Ordinary Level exam. By this time, the school was popular in Negombo and started to attract students from the outskirts such as Kurana and Bolawalana.
Progress continued in the seventies as the state procured the adjoining one and half-acres of land which enabled them to have a playground and more classrooms. Mr. L.G.S Fernando, the then principal, who had a passion for sports revived the houses and initiated the annual inter-house sports meet by mustering support from parents and residents of Thillanduwa. It was in the early eighties that the name of the school was changed from St. Joseph’s KV to Thillanduwa KV.
“The emergence of a host of private schools in the area has reduced the intake of student to our school,” complains Mrs. Shiromi Peries, the current Principal of the school. Hailing from the same locality she has a better understanding of the mindset
The teaching staff
and needs of the community, and has been in office since 2009. She is assisted with eighteen dedicated teachers who come to school during school vacations to conduct extra help classes for those who are in Grades 10 and 11. Even though it is a Catholic school, 30% of the 225 students follow Buddhism and Hinduism. Buddhism is taught as a subject in school as well.
The principal and the teachers have a close relationship with students and every student is personally known to them. Their concern about the nutritional intake of the students is heartening. The free mid-day meal that the school provides to all primary students is, in a way, a motivation for some students to come to school. Mr. Peries has already made a request to the authorities to extend this free mid-day-meal to the upper school as well. Students sharing some candy with their classmates
Experimenting with computers
and teachers on their birthday are a common practice in schools but at Thilllanduwa KV they do it differently. Teachers, whose birthday falls within a particular term, share a simple meal of rice and curry with the entire school.
The absence of a strong School Development Society and a Past Pupils Association was a hindrance to the growth of the institution. Realising this setback, the principal recently formed the first ever Past Pupils’ Association with the last batch of Ordinary Level students. With its strong backing, the first Prize Giving took place successfully last year, and it was thought to have had some positive influence on the students who are generally not inclined to study. A past pupil Mr. Donald has volunteered to shape up the skills of the two new-found but enthusiastic football
Singing Vesak devotional songs
Ever since its inception, the parish priests of the St. Joseph’s church have been rendering a monumental service in the areas to encourage spiritual development and also fulfil the basic needs of students. The school remembers commitment of the church with reverence and gratitude. “There is a lot to be done but resources are extremely limited,” sighs the principal. “Nonetheless, this year, I am working towards achieving two goals. First we need to separate class rooms using partitions to reduce disturbance. If a teacher is absent, the disturbance is more. Also there is no play area for primary school students. I have set my mind to build one,” said the determined Principal.
It is the sheer perseverance of the principal and the teaching staff that keeps schools of this nature functioning well.
- Muditha Fonseka


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