ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, October 01, 2006
Vol. 41 - No 18

Fifty years of international education

By Esther Williams Pix by J. Weerasekera

Contemporary and traditional motifs reflecting the splendour of Sri Lanka made up the vibrant mosaic wall that was unveiled during Founders Day celebrated at the Overseas School of Colombo on September 22, 2006. As past student Alefiya Akbarally (mosaic artist and photographer) put it, it symbolised the school's bringing together of various people - of colour, ideas and nationalities to make a whole.

The occasion was a part of the series of events to celebrate 50 years of international education in Sri Lanka by the Overseas School of Colombo. Alumni from all over the world attended the colourful event that featured inspiring messages besides song and dance.

Welcoming the gathering, Laurie McLellan, Head of School highlighted various landmark events in the School's rich history, which began in September 1957. Values of tolerance and respect he said were uppermost in the institution that began with an international outlook, to replace the Royal Naval School in Colombo.

Over the years the school that boasts of the highest standards it appears has contributed immensely to community service activities which Mr. McLellan believes help build a whole person. Work at the Education Centre of the Cancer Hospital, the women's prison, and those related to animal welfare, swimming with disabled students and environmental programmes speak of their efforts.

Commending the school, Chief Guest on the occasion, Reynout Van Dijk, Ambassador to the Netherlands, said that the Overseas School has become a standard in today's global education system. "Education today should reflect humanistic values and enable a student to face the challenges in the future," he said pointing out that privileged children are obliged to provide a service to the society.

Reading Dr. Seuss's Tale of Horton the elephant, Ex-head of School Win Sargent, spoke of qualities that would make one successful - listing goals, plans to implement goals, honesty and reaching out to the underprivileged as characteristics that breed success.

The Overseas School of Colombo that has a marvellous blend of cultures, beliefs and races has performed phenomenally well, results indicate. Since 1982 the school has offered the International Baccalaureate Diploma as well as scholarships to Sri Lankan students annually who then have the opportunity to go on for graduate studies overseas. With 420 students from 45 countries and teachers from around the globe, the school truly represents unity in diversity.

During the occasion, staff members who have served the school for over 25 years were recognised and honoured. Distinguished guests included Dancer Vajira, Swimmer Julian Bolling and fashion icon Kirthi Sri Karunaratne.

Several other events are lined up for both past and present students, parents and well-wishers to mark the event. These include the IB Theatre Arts Performance, a Primary School concert, a gala New Year's Eve reunion, Sri Lanka's National Day Celebration on February 5, 2007, an International Food and Fun Fair, a secondary School Musical Theatre Performance and a grand finale comprising dinner dance and auction on June 7, 2007. Proceeds from the auction will go towards meaningful projects that OSC in involved in.

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Copyright 2006 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.