Katunayake Roman Catholic MV is a beacon to its community
As it was the tradition of the Catholic Church to provide education to the children of its parishioners, Katunayake RCMV is believed to have been founded in the late 19th century by the Parish Priest Rev. Fr. J. M. Melga on the grounds of Saints Peter and Paul Church. In 1960, the school was nationalised and it continues to function as a junior secondary school of co-education with classes up to grade 9.
Katunayaka RCMV enjoyed the best pass rate at the Ordinary Level examination – 2011 in the Katana Division. It is a bilingual school and students have the option of studying in English medium from grade 6-9. A striking feature is that the amount of trust and satisfaction that students seems to have in the school education and their reluctance to attend extra help classes despite the current trend of ‘dependency on tuition’. Generally, the school is open in the holiday month of August for the Grade 11 students who prepare for their Ordinary Level exam and one subject is revised per day. This is also the first ‘Pradeepa Pasela’ in the Negombo Zone that serves as a source of guidance and inspiration for the other schools.
Mrs. Ramani de Silva is the present Principal and was honoured with the Prestigious President’s Award and the ‘Supusan Guru Abhimani’ Award of the Western Province in 2011 for her untiring and committed service to the school and its community for the last 19 years. She had been on the teaching staff when she got the opportunity to become the Principal in 1993 due to the sudden demise of the former Principal, Mr. Priemus Fernando. While serving on the staff, she had sat for the Sri Lanka Principal Services Exam where she qualified for the post. Mrs. De Silva sets a record as the longest serving Principal not only of Katunayake RCMV but also in the Negombo Educational Zone.
The school was elevated to 1C category in 2009 and the current student body amounting to 800 and the school staff of 35 dedicated teachers strive to live up to its vision: To produce citizens who are virtuous, wise and empowered. This is one school that believes in learning by doing, and a more practical approach to education is adopted. The school body comprising a religious mix shares the garden with the church amicably in the absence of a physical boundary to separate the two. “This gives our students a wonderful opportunity to learn to respect all religions,” adds the Principal, a follower of Buddhism. She is an indispensable figure at the important ceremonies of the church as well as of the community.
Both students and teachers alike make a conscious effort to be surrounded by a cleaner and greener environment through numerous committees and clubs that are extremely active in the school. One such practice is promoting responsible waste management using the 3Rs of Reduce, Reuse and Recycle for which the school fetched the Cleanest School Award for two consecutive years in 2009 and 2010. The Best Environment School Award-2010 was also won by Katunayake RCMV. Eventually, they grabbed the Silver Award at the First National Green Award Ceremony-2011 in the school category. It was team work that brought them all these accolades and recognition.
Another unique feature of the school is their system of positive motivation that encourages virtue and honesty in students. Any honest or virtuous deed reported to the Committee of Ethics and Values is publicly appreciated at the school assembly and a certificate is awarded to the respective student as a recommendation of his integrity. “We also have opened the school to the community and share our resources and energy with them freely in their needs. This is the best way to inculcate a sense of generosity and responsibility in children,” Mrs. De Silva explained.
Truly, Katunayake RCMV serves as a second home to students in all aspects; they come to school during holidays to attend to plants and garden voluntarily. “Our responsibility doesn’t end at the academic success of our students, but goes beyond; we also provide career guidance as well as individual and family counselling service without which education is incomplete,” says the Principal. Not only students but also their parents seem to rely on the school management for guidance, inspirations and enrichment. This close kinship between the school and its community tends to enrich each other perpetually.
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