In memory of beloved teacher R. Premaratne

Retired teacher and Vice Principal Ratnawali Premaratne, who served at Anula Vidyalaya, Nugegoda, for 34 years from 1948 to 1982, passed away recently at 96. Her invaluable service to the school, its students and society is indelible.

Nugegoda Anula Vidyalaya was founded in 1941 and Premaratne as a staff member had served along with its first Principal and Founder P. B. Fernando. The school’s remarkable achievements in a short span of time in the early 1950s were indeed due to the outstanding performances of its initial staff members.

As students who had the opportunity to learn from Madam Premaratne, we still vividly remember her pleasing and impressive personality. She taught Sinhala and History to the students in the Ordinary Level and Advanced Level classes. She was fond of teaching and made the lessons interesting for the students. She mingled with the students but at the same time maintained discipline in the class. She won the confidence and love of her students.

She was also one time Teacher In-Charge of the ‘Sangamitta’ House of the school. During this period, the ‘Sangamitta’ House sealed victory at annual sport meets.

Most of the students who were fortunate to learn from her became successful professionals later, and stamped their presence not only in Sri Lanka but also all over the world.

In the early 1970s, she became the Vice Principal of the school. During this time, Nugegoda Anula Vidyalaya was the largest girls’ school in the entire South Asia. Therefore, the administrative functions in the school were challenging. But Madam Premaratne proved her mettle. Unlike today, administrative work in a school was not decentralised among many people those days, but she had the strength to bear the burden and efficiently supervised the entire school management.

The Advanced Level Science Section of the school underwent significant progress, quantitatively and qualitatively, in the early 1970s. The higher-ups in the education field during that time, parents and past pupils commended this performance of the school, and prize giving and other opening ceremonies of the school were grandly organised.

The then School Principal always acknowledged the part played by Premaratne in those endeavours.

After retirement in 1982, Premaratne was in good health and appeared frequently at school functions. Though she was somewhat feeble in the last few years, she willingly participated in the medical camps held by the past pupils and Annual General Meetings of the Past Teachers’ Society.

Premaratne was born in Hikkaduwa on May 8, 1925 and studied at Christ Church College, Beddagana; Sivali Vidyalaya, Ratnapura and Visaka Vidyalaya, Colombo. She obtained the Bachelor of Arts (BA) Degree from the University of Colombo and a Diploma in Education from the same University.

Dear teacher, we highly appreciate the great service you rendered to our alma mater. May you master the Four Noble Truths and end this journey through ‘Sansara’.

A group of past pupils from 1955 to 1975

(Compiled by Saumya Gurusinghe)

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