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Old 24-01-18, 10:10 AM
sriyanj sriyanj is offline
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Default 100 years since our Alma Mater started life in Mount Lavinia.

Subject: FW: Message from The Warden

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Dear Fellow Old Thomian,

Fraternal greetings from the ‘School by the Sea’!

On the 26th of January 2018 the Thomian Family celebrates the completion of 100 years since our Alma Mater started life in Mount Lavinia.

From the 3rd of February 1851 when our revered Founder, Bishop James Chapman, of blessed memory, opened the Collegiate School of St. Thomas the Apostle until the end of 1917, our Alma Mater grew and thrived in Mutwal under the shade of the majestic banyan trees. A number of factors including the growing number of students and the health hazards caused by increased use of coal in the Colombo Harbour necessitated a change of location and it fell to the 8th Warden, the Revd William Arthur Stone (1901 - 1925) to take the bold steps of moving the School lock, stock and barrel to the new site at Mount Lavinia more conducive to educational pursuits of the young Thomians at that time. He was ably assisted in this herculean task by a number of loyal supporters, chief among them being the then Bishop of Colombo, the Rt Revd E. A. Copleston, and Mr C. E. A. Dias.

The School opened in its new location on the morning of the 26th of January 1918 with a simple service of dedication led by the Bishop of Colombo in which the two permanent buildings - the main block of classrooms and the science laboratory - were blessed. A public meeting followed that was addressed by the Bishop, the Attorney General and others. The rest is history and the stuff of legend!

Thomas’ over the past 100 years and under the guidance of 12 Wardens has gone on to achieve excellence and even greatness in every sphere of life. We have produced some great and outstanding leaders in almost every field of professional and public life and have contributed to the development of the Church, our nation and the world in more ways than one. Our alumni over the past 100 years have made the School proud by their many achievements and contributions to make our world a better place. As a School we have often tasted the thrill of victory but we have also endured the agony of defeat and the anguish of loss. Be it success or failure Thomians have endured throughout, thanks to that legendary Thomian Grit that we can boast of with real pride.
Today we are not a large School when compared to some of the leading state and international schools. We may not be a School that is as yet fully ‘in’ with everything that is modern in terms of education infrastructure. But we are still a School that stands for a set of values and principles that are timeless and which we will hold on to in the Name of God to whom this School was dedicated by our Founder.

As we celebrate this significant milestone in our School’s life I invite you all to gather on the 26th of January 2018 at 7:45 a.m. as we give thanks to God at a special Service of Thanksgiving followed by a rededication of the two original buildings and the blessing of the newest building for the Lower School and the ceremonial General Assembly at 10:00 a.m. Prior to the Assembly a bust of Warden W. A. Stone will be unveiled at the entrance to the Main Hall along with a photograph of Bishop E. A. Copleston, that will be hung in the Hall next to that of Mr C. E. A. Dias. There will be six short speeches delivered by old boys representing different decades from the 1940s. The Memorials of Bishop Chapman reprinted by Vijitha Yapa Publications will also be released at the Assembly and will be available for sale after the assembly as will a collection of prose and poetry exclusively about S. Thomas’ College by the late Mr Mervyn Casie Chetty, specially compiled and printed for the occasion by his son Mr Yohesan Casie Chetty. Two special songs written by old boys Mr Priya Peiris and Mr Suresh de Silva and Mr Tennyson Napoleon will also be performed on the occasion by the School’s Canto Perpetua Choir.

I also wish to invite you all to participate in what we hope will be the longest Thomian Parade in history on the morning of the 27th of January 2018 when present boys and some old boys will cycle from Mutwal and meet up with the main parade at St. Paul’s Church, Milagiriya, from where Old Boys can either walk or be on a float. In keeping with the tradition of Thomian walks there will be a possibility for old boys to make a voluntary contribution of Rs 1500/- to participate in the Walk but there is no compulsion and anyone can join and walk free as well. The voluntary contributions are towards the Centenary Infrastructure Development Fund for which the present boys of the School are also filling up sponsorship cards. More details of all the options for supporting the fund raising are available with my Special Events Team and the Old Thomian Cadet Union who are organizing the parade for the School. We look forward to the maximum participation of as many old Thomians as possible in the Parade.

A special Garden Party will be held for all retired teachers, administrative staff and support staff on the 30th of January 2018 at which their contribution to the School will be acknowledged and appreciated. A Gala Dinner will be held in February to celebrate the 100 years, but by now as you must be aware, all the available seats have been sold out for this event. In March there will be a special commemorative event to remember the life of one of our old boys from the Mutwal days, Lt. Basil Horsfall, the only recipient of the Victoria Cross from this country, who was killed in action in France in March 1918. In June there will be a special ceremony to release the fully revised and updated history of the College for the 100 Years at Mount and in October there will be a Jubilee Oration on the impact and continuing relevance of Schools like S. Thomas’ College. Details of these events will be notified in due course. I wish to acknowledge the role played by my Special Events Team in supporting and helping the School in the organizing of all these events.

I wish to also take this opportunity to keep you informed of certain changes regarding the programme for Old Boys’ Week 2018. I regret that due to the local government elections on the 10th of February 2018 we have had to cancel our scheduled activities for the evening of Old Boys’ Day but wish to confirm that the Old Boys’ Day Fellowship Lunch will now be brought forward to Saturday 3rd February 2018, the day after the College Prize Giving, despite the fact that it is a very busy day already for the School community. I wish to invite you all to this lunch and rekindle the bonds of affection we share as members of the Thomian Brotherhood. As you have already been informed the other activities for Old Boys’ Week will proceed without alteration from Tuesday 6th February and culminate with the Annual General Meeting on Friday the 9th of February and the Old Boys’ Service on Sunday the 11th of February 2018.

Our Centenary celebrations will primarily celebrate God’s faithfulness to our most precious resource - the present and past Thomians! I warmly invite all old boys to join hands with the present boys to support your Alma Mater by your contributions which will be greatly appreciated but more importantly by your participation at the various events being planned.

Looking forward to celebrating together as a Thomian Family.

Esto Perpetua - For all we have and are...

The Rev’d Marc Billimoria



S. Thomas' College Old Boys' Association

Mount Lavinia,

Sri Lanka
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