“Though unseen, when grounded on true faith, hope is never unreal. Enduring works are often of humble beginnings” – Rt. Rvd. Bishop James Chapman. The Annual Prize Giving, one of the most important events in the life of the school, took place on the 3rd of February 2017 at the main hall of the College. The Prize Giving not only recognizes those students who have performed exceptionally but also provides an incentive for students to strive for excellence.
The Chief Guest at this year’s Prize Giving was Prof. Chrysantha Mendis, an esteemed lecturer and an alumnus of our College. Prof. Mendis is a distinguished academic with a brilliant record of achievements both in Sri Lanka and in Singapore where he was associated with the National University of Singapore for over 30 years.
The opening speech by the Warden is a very important part of this event as it is a comprehensive report of the activities of the School in the previous year. He spoke about the academic success of our boys at public examinations, where 36 boys got 9A’s at the GCE O/L exam in 2015 and 18 boys got 3A’s at the GCE A/L exam in 2016, both of which are all time highs in the history of the College. He also mentioned that STC had been ranked 2ndall island in the A Level science results together with Methodist College Colombo and Devi Balika Maha Vidyalaya. Three Thomians, namely H S S Seneviratne, S Ariyaratne and J Vikash, had been placed in the first 30 at National Level. He said that these results prove that Thomians are all around students and it also disproves the myth that Thomians don’t perform well in academics. He also spoke about the success of our boys in the sports field, with numerous boys representing the Island at National Level in various sports. He also said that present boys and old boys alike can be proud of the College.
The speech by the Chief Guest Prof. Chrysantha Mendis was both entertaining and inspiring. The Warden in his introduction stated that the Chief Guest is highly reputed for his speeches, and Prof. Mendis most certainly did not fail to impress us. His opening line was about the advice he received when he started lecturing, that was to “act like a professor and look like a professor”, which he said he doesn’t understand even to this date. In his speech he spoke about how life is ever changing and that these changes are disruptions to the cycle of normal. He cited the election of Donald Trump as an example and quite whimsically called it a “distrumption”. He said that we must learn from these disruptions and use them to our benefit and that is the ‘lifelong learning that all of us must receive’.
Even though all of the prizes award at this event are special and by no means easy to achieve there are a hand full of prizes that stand out and are given to the most outstanding Thomians.
The Victoria Gold Medal for the Best All Round Student – D.A. Francis
The Saravanamuttu Prize Awarded to a student demonstrating “early promise of exhibiting Human excellence and virtue in adult life” – N.S Bartlett
The Warden S.J. Anandanayagam Memorial Prize for the Best All Round Sportsman – S. Jayatilleke
In the course of the Warden’s speech he also announced his decision to inaugurate THE BISHOP JAMES CHAPMAN MEMORIAL MEDAL OF HONOUR as a way of remembering the Founder of the College each year.
The Bishop James Chapman Memorial Medal Of Honour Awarded to a student who demonstrates and exemplifies the virtues of faith, courage, service above self, loyalty, and integrity in keeping with the Founder’s vision – D.A. Francis
The Vote of Thanks to the Chief Guest was delivered by the Sub Warden and the second Vote of Thanks delivered by the Head Prefect, Ashane Francis. To us school boys a memorable part of the whole event was the declaration of a double holiday by the Warden due to the special requests of both the Head Prefect and the Chief Guest. The event ended with the singing of the College song and the National Anthem and three hearty cheers for the Chief Guest bring to a close a successful and memorable Prize Giving at S’ Thomas’ College.