& many roles
Educationist Malini Ranasuriya recalls
her special bond with Sri Sumangala Girls’ School
Panadura, as student, teacher, principal and PPA president
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
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
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’
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
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.
a Principal with love
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.