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Old 26-03-16, 11:10 AM
sriyanj sriyanj is offline
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Default Reflections of S. Thomas' Prep School (1983- 1992):

Learning the Queen's language
Reflections of S. Thomas' Prep School (1983- 1992):

by Dishan Joseph
The imparting of wisdom is a daunting challenge, to both the teacher and student. It is a long path, where obstacles are encountered and patience is tested. To a student a lesson can be a "Semper idem "(Latin - always the same thing), however if navigated with earnest desire the journey is wonderfully rewarding, at least it has been for me!

I recall with deep gratitude my blessed teacher Ms. Christobel Dwight, always clad in her immaculate soft coloured saree. Her gentle voice reaching out to us, a class of 34 souls. Her spectacle frame which did resemble a relic from the Victorian era, is now in vogue and considered cool. We browsed through so many poems, the best story being that of the Inchcape Rock, the life of the pirate Ralph the Rover, and how justice was dished out to him at the bottom of the sea, many fathoms deep! How she enlightened us with Pickwick Papers and the life and times of petulant old Nathaniel Winkle and Augustus Snodgrass.

Ms. Dwight during the month of March would attempt to instill in our teenage minds that the girls from Bishops, Methodist and Ladies College were our sisters, and therefore we must not embark on romantic encounters with them during the big match! The class used to be ushered into silence with the arrival of Mrs. Peramuna, the epitome of discipline.

A strict lady, very loyal to her students. Blessed with a fine memory she would teach us the story of the Three Musketeers and the adventure of Westward Ho.

I recall going to Daniels bookshop in Wellawatte to purchase a copy of Three Musketeers, and the girl at the counter trying to amuse herself with a punch dialogue asking me if I wanted three slices of musket (an Arabian sweet). Silly lass.

Amiable soul
In contrast, we encounter Vernon Weerasinghe, who maintained the aura of a Franciscan Abbot.

He was affectionately called ICP, after the textbook Intermediate Comprehension Passages, a book he held sacred. This amiable soul also had the habit of repeating at mid-term exams that our answer papers must be 'punched' and so earned another sobriquet "Mr. Punched Papers".

We had another Sir, who came in on a temporary assignment Mr. Sunderalingam, a distinguished product of the Eastern Province, I think. He was always clad in long sleeved shirt, in spite of the heat. At times during his absence he was substituted by Mr. Thirunavatkarasu, who was an enduring marathon runner in his school days.

Final year
As we were forced to stare at our text book David Copperfield he walked back and forth, longing for the bell to ring, just like the rest of the class. Good ole "Thiru" used to tell us to form a 'round circle' during PT class, the Queen's language was not his forte! English literature is often laced with tragedy, which suddenly unleashes its dark arms to inflict loss.

This was how we were robbed of our final year English teacher Mrs. Thevanayagam. She was a star tennis player in her youth.

Her demise was a shock to the Thomian fraternity. Almost two and a half decades later I realise the good work done by all these dear teachers.

They did more than teach. They transformed our lives. Our English classroom at Prep school can be summed up in this Latin phrase "Ubi Concordia, Ibi Victoria' - Where there is unity there is Victory!



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Last edited by sriyanj; 17-04-16 at 12:00 PM.
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