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“Wycherley! The name says it all !” says Wathsala Fernando

Wathsala Fernando

Wycherley International School! The name itself says it all! It is one of the oldest and the most revered International Schools in the Country. It is a privilege to be an Alumni of this great Academic Institution, which not many have had the opportunity to relish.

The name itself is praised for its unmatchable discipline which is strictly upheld by its Principal, Mr. Kingsley Jayasinghe. It is also famed for the respect it cultivates for both its admirable and caring teachers as well as the everlasting friendships of its fellow students.

Wycherley comprises of teachers and students of many ethnic backgrounds. We are all one big family. Nobody even recognized, let alone compared themselves as belonging to a different race or religion. Everybody is equal in this ‘home away from home’. Everyone respects each other. Tolerance and harmony are the greatest strengths that the school endorsed, which are valuable qualities needed even in the adult world today.

Wycherley has other distinctive attributes as well. If I go down memory lane, in addition to what I’ve mentioned above, I could say that its strong foundation for Academic Excellence has moulded me into the exemplary personality I am today. Not only have I gained extensive knowledge, but it has strengthened my character as well.

The systematic, well-established and modern methods of teaching made me ‘cruise’ through the student years in a unique manner, which only a student with curiosity and thirst for knowledge could comprehend. Having said that, I was never a nerd.

It was that I was awed and inspired by the teaching methods of my teachers. I always wanted to be a teacher myself, which has splendidly become a reality over a decade.

The fascination for teaching and the longing to become one like them, made me scrutinize their behaviour; the way they spoke, what they did, etc. This exploration inferred nothing but admiration for their honourable service. Sweet memories of my school years definitely include affectionate feelings towards the commendable and respectable service of these empathetic educators.

Among many others, some of the teachers who had a great impact on me during my senior school days were Mrs. Thilekaratna, Mrs. Puvimanasinghe, Mr. Abey, Mr. Sugathapala, Mr. Lalith Samarasinghe, Mr. Keegal and Mr. Idamalgoda. I am forever grateful to them for being the guiding light which paved the way to a brighter future for us all.

I will do injustice if I don’t mention my first teacher at Wycherley. I joined this school from Grade 3 way back in 1989. Her name was Mrs. Premila Ponnudurai. She was the kindest and the most affectionate teacher I have ever come across in my entire life. Her words were music to my ears. She was very empathetic towards the emotional turmoil I was going through as a young lost child.

I came from a Sinhala speaking background. I hardly knew any English. Mrs. Premila was a Tamil lady. She hardly knew Sinhala. She was my Class Teacher as well as my English and Maths teacher. We tried our best to communicate, mostly using body language. Gradually, we bridged the gap with the help of her motherly kindness. With her love and care, I managed to excel in both English and Maths, which needless to say are still my all-time favourites.

Wycherley paved the way to a good strong foundation where both the Principal as well as the teachers believed in oozing out the best qualities of each student and encouraging them to follow their chosen paths. Some students were strongly academically inclined, some had a knack for sports, some were blossoming artists and a rare find like me was a budding linguist, among many others.

An unnoticed but an important blessing of studying at Wycherley was when I sat for my A Levels. I was the only student in the whole ‘island’ to sit for the London A Level German exam in 1998. Though I was the only student taking the German subject at school, Mr. Kingsley was obliging enough to facilitate this rare opportunity, which wouldn’t have been possible if I was at another school at the time.

Having said that, I wish to extend a special Thank You’ to my German teacher, Mr. Samarasinghe, who taught me not only the language, but also its Politics, Socio-Economics, Literature, etc. He taught me right throughout, from Grade 3 up to A Level, which laid the strong foundation that helped me to secure scholarships to many well-sought- after Universities both in UK and Germany.

All in all, Wycherley days bring sweet memories. This includes the day I was honoured with the Prefectship. I was also able to take part in many events, which included Debates, Art and Essay Competitions, the fun stints at the Morning assembly, etc. Right throughout my school days I would long for the Annual Sports Meet, to take part in the maximum number of athletic events allowed for a student.

The nostalgia of my Alma mater cannot be explained in a few words. I will always fondly remember the thought provoking classes, the interesting and motivating teaching methods, all the empathetic educators who were a guiding light to all of us, the valuable multiculturalism in which we were raised, the distinctive quality education along with the strong ethics and discipline fostered at this honourable Educational Institute. Wycherley! May you live long!!!

Wathsala Rosie Fernando
MA TESOL (Canterbury Christ Church University, Canterbury, UK)
CELTA (University of Cambridge)
BA English & German (University of Kelaniya)