98th Anniversary Celebrations of the Old Boys’ Day

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The 98th Anniversary of the Old Boys’ Day of Sri Sumangala College, is today, October 28, 2020.

The Sri Sumangala College Old Boy’s Association (SSCOBA) was inaugurated on October 28th 1922 by Mr. Abeyseela Ginige, a past principal of Sri Sumangala College. He was the first President of Sri Sumangala College Old Boy’s Association. Up-to-date as the official alumni of the College, the SSCOBA embarked on variety of activities to support the development of its Alma Mater and its student population.

Sri Sumangala College was formally established on March 3rd, 1909 by founder members, Philanthropists of Panadura, late Mudliyer Thomas Rodrigo, M. Mathes Salgado, P. Lewis Dias, P. Domingo Dias, P.C.H. Dias, and M. Coranelis Perera under the patronage of Chief incumbent of Rankoth Viharaya Most Ven. Walpita Gunarathanatissa Thero who suggested that the new college in the temple premises be named after his teacher, most Ven. Sasanawansha Kavidhaja Weligama Sri Sumangala Nayaka Thero to immortalize the name of his teacher. Mr. Thomas Gunaratne was the first Principal of the College and the classes were conducted at the Dhamma sermon hall of the historical Rankoth Viharaya Panadura. Later few buildings were constructed to meet the demand of the increasing number of students to the College.

As the time went on with the increase of the student population, Sri Sumangala was in need of expansion and was required to move out its secondary classes due to limited land space at the Rankoth Vihara temple. The OBA was instrumental and took the initiative to establish Sri Sumangala College at Nalluruwa in 1942 in a land donated by the first student of the College, Mr. Walter Salgado. The College was later expanded with the donation of block of land by Mrs. Sicilyn Perera, the wife of one of the founders.

In December 2004, Tsunami destroyed most of the buildings of the College facing the sea and it had a direct impact on some of the parents and students, tutorial staff, and there was a unanimous request to relocate the College to a safer location. Accordingly, a decision was taken by the Government with the sponsorship of the Japanese Government to relocate the College to a more secure and suitable land at Wekada, Panadura. Despite resistance by a few, with the leadership of the Principal and with the able support of the SSCOBA, it was possible to overcome all these obstacles to realize the dream of a brand new college but with the same blend of the Sumangala to become the beacon of the Kalutara District. It is the desire of the SSCOBA to see that Sri Sumangala College is one of the leading pioneering educational institutions in Sri Lanka.

Sri Sumangala College, with over 100 years of history, is a pioneering institute of learning in Sri Lanka which continues to produce a wide array of outstanding Sri Lankans. Among them, there are professionals of high caliber, in Engineering, Medical, Technical, IT fields, Public Administrators, Accountants, Scientists, outstanding Sportsmen, Businessmen, Entrepreneurs, Media personalities, Artists, and Politicians. It could be easily recognized Sri Sumangala College as an institution that has contributed directly and widely towards the well-being and development of our country and it stands out as one of the leading National Schools in Sri Lanka.

The SSCOBA is growing day by day with many branches and associate groups are being founded. As of now, there are several branches established, namely Junior OBA, Colombo Branch, Kandy Branch, Australian Branch, Italy Branch, UAE Branch, etc. In addition, several other associate groups have been formed for the betterment of the Alma mater, such as Old Sumangalian Medical Association, Past Cricketers’ Association, Past Cadets’ Association, Past Scouts’ Association, etc. It is the common objective to work towards a better tomorrow for the College and for students.

2009 was a memorable year for both SSCOBA and the College since the centenary of the College was celebrated with the ceremonial opening of the re-constructed Sri Sumangala College by H.E. President Mahinda Rajapaksha on April 23rd, 2009 and with a series of events including All night pirith ceremony, almsgiving for 100 priests, centenary exhibition, Inter-school Contests in various fields, etc. Simultaneously a commemorative stamp and a first-day cover were presented to H.E. the President by Mr. M. S. Sellasamy then the Deputy Minister of Postal Services to mark the centenary of the College. The distinguished old boy, Dr. Neville Fernando donated 17 brand new computers to upgrade the computer lab. The OBA head-quarter at the new college premises was opened on March 15th, 2009, by the late Mr. K. Thilak Peiris who was the oldest living member of the OBA at that time.

A much-needed necessity of a swimming pool was constructed to the international standard and was presented to the Alma Mater by another distinguished old boy, a former Lion’s Governor, Deshabimannya Mr. Rohantha De Fonseka where he donated a sum of Rs. 6.4 million towards the construction of the swimming pool. The balance cost of Rs. 5 million was raised from several donors of the OBA and was ceremonially opened and dedicated to the student community on June 28, 2009.

In the year 2011, the SSCOBA along with Junior OBA has embarked on several projects for the benefit and development of Alma Mater and the student population. These include the establishment of special fund schemes which enable the donor to select the field through which the donor would help the students / College, scholarships for students who excelled in their studies, library development, sports development, development scouting and cadetting, establishment of IT resource centre, counseling and arrangement of medical aid to the needy students etc.

This year, 2020, with the COVID-19 pandemic situation, college administration and SSCOBA started online classes for college students. Microsoft Teams and Office 365 were implemented at the college with email access to every student at the college. This project was carried out with the collaboration of Microsoft and Sanji (Pvt) Ltd and our old boy Mr. Nirodha Goonawardena was instrumental in coordinating this project.

Owing to the dedication, unblemished service of past and present leadership, along with the strength and co-operation of the members, the present membership of OBA has surpassed the 4000 members. With the affiliation of the Junior OBA and Colombo, Kandy, Australian, Italy Branches, the Sri Sumangala Old Boy’s Medical Association, Past Cricketers’ Association, and other associate bodies have made SSCOBA a very powerful organization of its class to become one of the strongest OBAs in the Island.

All the above achievements have proved that SSCOBA is able to face any challenge successfully to overcome all the obstacles to reach the objectives.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic situation, SSCOBA had to cancel the Old Boys’ Day Celebrations this year but managed to do the below activities to celebrate the 98th Old Boys’ day, and presenting scholarships and awards will be done in a future date.

  • Almsgiving to five elderly homes and children’s homes in the area as in the past years.
  • Handing over of scholarship to over 50 students who have been selected to Universities for higher studies.
  • Awarding of Medals and Certificates to the College students who excelled in “Do You Know contest” and “Oratory” contests.

The OBA expresses its sincere appreciation to everyone for their excellent support and assistance extended for the successful completion of the OBA day activities.