ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, Octomber 15, 2006
Vol. 41 - No 20

One school & many roles

Educationist Malini Ranasuriya recalls her special bond with Sri Sumangala Girls’ School Panadura, as student, teacher, principal and PPA president

By Salma Yusuf

To be associated with an institution for over 70 years is a laudable achievement. Reaching a milestone in her association with Sri Sumangala Girls’ School Panadura, a leading girls school in the Panadura District, Malini Ranasuriya also reached a personal milestone as she celebrated her 8oth birthday on September 25.

She recalls her admission at the age of five years and thereafter her career. She entered the University of Colombo from Sri Sumangala, and on graduation joined the staff. Thereafter, she went on to become the Vice Principal and then the Principal of the school.

She was asked to be stand-in Principal at the age of 22 when the then Principal had to leave the country on an emergency. She recalls how astounded her father was when he heard the news from her.

Being an educationist who advocated the importance of a well-rounded education, the school, under her tenure excelled in sports activities. She also fostered the arts – drama and music while in office. Many students gained admission to leading universities during her tenure of office.

Past pupils and members of the preset PPA remember how Mrs. Ranasuriya always maintained a good rapport between the staff and students.

She also recalls the differences she encountered after her university education when returning to a place where she was once a student, but was now on the other side of the fence – a teacher. “I was mischievous as a student and had an enjoyable time. When I came back, a lot had changed. When I was a student we all knew each other as most of us were from the same area. We were like one family. But on returning, I found students from Colombo and hostellers from the down-south area.”

During her tenure as Principal she was able to get Swarnagiri, the adjoining land area for the school premises.

When she retired as Principal, she was unanimously elected President of the Past Pupils’ Association for two consecutive terms. She is still associated with the PPA as its Vice President and thus has 75 years of bonding with Sri Sumangala girls’ school.

Apart from her phenomenally long-standing association with the school and its PPA, in January every year she distributes exercise books and other school requirements to needy schoolchildren of the school.

She also distributes fruits and vegetable to needy folk and donates clothes and infant requirements to the new-born at the Panadura women’s hospital. She is also associated with Sri Lanka Sumithrayo.

As for hobbies, she enjoys gardening and reading and never fails to take a long walk every evening.

As she reminisces about her association with the school, she still continues to literally ‘watch over’ the school from her own home, located directly opposite the school.

To a Principal with love

Malini Ranasuriya was felicitated by the Past Students’ Association of Sri Sumangala Girls’ School at a surprise birthday party held for her at Navro Beach Hotel.

On arrival at the hotel, quite unaware of the planned festivities, Mrs. Ranasuriya was welcomed by Swarnamali Rodrigo, another outstanding old girl and teacher.

She then cut a birthday cake with 80 roses and proceeded to feed almost all her students a piece. After lunch, there was dancing and tales of happy reminiscences of schooldays past.

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Copyright 2006 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.