St. Mary’s Convent is a pride to the nation
St. Mary’s convent is an academy which congregates with the education that builds up the moral foundation of the Students. The school colours blue and white elaborate the dignity under the motto “Respice Stellam”, which means “look to the star”.
The Sisters of “Charity of Jesus and Mary” came to Galle, Sri Lanka in 1896. For more than 11 years; there was only one house of the SCJM in Galle. The second foundation was proposed from 1906 especially by M. Tiburce De Mol Superior of Galle. In collaboration with the Jesuits the sisters, started the work, and by 1908, they finished the convent and the school. On April 19, 1908 Sr. Josephine Halewin and Sr. Livine Van Brabant left for Matara with four orphans in order to make last minutes arrangements. Fr. Van Antwerpen S. J. the parish priest. The official dedication was to take place on Monday, but due to a heavy storm the ceremony was postponed until the following day. Joseph Van Reeth, Bishop of Galle, blessed the new convent, and put it under the patronage of Mary Immaculate.
The original buildings were specially designed for the sisters as a convent and school. When the sisters arrived in 1908, the convent and the school had been completed. According to eyewitnesses, they were spacious and beautiful buildings. The orphanage was opened for use on June 17, 1908.
Already in 1912 Ghent gave its permission to enlarge the complex. All the rooms were overcrowded and still the sisters had to refuse some children. By the end of 1913, the new buildings were inaugurated; a large dormitory and a big festive hall, that was however used as school for lace-making from the start.
The school started on May 1, 1908 with about 100 pupils, of whom 60 followed regular classes. Besides some general classes, they also taught music and embroidery to the older girls and women. In 1910 the English school was already recognized by the State, which was important in order to qualify for subsidies. The Sinhalese school and orphanage were recognized in 1911 as “Boarding School” by the State inspection. There was also a “Cambridge Class”, where pupils were prepared for entrance examinations for the Cambridge University in England.
From 1923 on wards, a kindergarten was also attached to the Sinhalese school. The institute is now one of the most important schools in the region. At the industrial school they taught domestic science besides lace-work and embroidery.
St. Mary’s Convent faced the worst catastrophes in 2004. The Tsunami tidal wave, which destructed the entire southern coast, destroyed the two complexes in the coastal line, which was later renovated by the kind collaboration of donors. After two years of the catastrophe the convent has now risen up with a newly built complex at Browns Hill a high location in the Matara district. A well facilitated complex was built for the primary section.
The present administration is headed by Rev. Sr. Sandamalie Kurera the principal and Rev. Sr. Ajitha Fernando Deputy Principal. Teaching staff of 100 teachers are served to educate children. The school observes the government educational curriculum in both English and Sinhalese mediums.
The Academy prepare students to all government exams including grade 5 scholarship, G.C.E. (O/L) and G.C.E.(A/L) and school has managed to maintain a good standard at obtaining results. Annually they are blessed with more that 90% results in their G.C.E. (O/L) examinations and more than 45 students enter universities after their G.C.E.(A/L)examinations.
The school has achieved glory in almost every sphere of activities especially in Aesthetics. Adeesha Nilaweera, a triple jump athlete made a new record in the Southern Province Athletics meet and obtained the most skillful and talented athlete award. She also took 1st place at the All Island School Athletics meet in 2010. Moreover she was selected to the national pool of athletics and took part in the South Asian Games 2012, which brought fame to school. The college relay team won the 3rd place at the 27th National Games.
Apart from that, the school girls’ Wushu team emerged the all island Wushu champions, in the Thavulu group event for four consecutively years since 2008 and obtained overall 3rd place in 2011. Likewise the college Karate team and the Chess team won the All Island championship in 2011.
Year 2010 was remarkable. The school won the All Island 2nd place for ballet dancing (A –category) organized by Ministry of Education.
As one of the best girls’ school in Matara, St. Mary’s Convent students are instilled with high discipline, good manners, are obedient, clever and brave. They are a pride not only to the province but also to the whole nation.
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