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G.K.L. Jayanthya Fernando - Sri Lanka, Negombo

 

South Asia ProvincePersonal experiences

My association with the Marist Community has been since 1951 when I joined Maris Stella for grade 1 at the age of 6 years. Choice of entering Maris Stella was my parent’s who would have thought that the best and the most respected school in the area was Maris Stella and I was also thrilled to have joined it after attending 2 years in the Catholic school of our parish.

As a school boy I loved the atmosphere; big buildings, large play ground with facilities for popular games like cricket and football and children from various family backgrounds. To see white skinned foreign Brothers was also another excitement. Even the local Brothers with outstanding love, kindness and care especially of Rev Bro. Nizier were something special. Overall the Brothers were saintly, and their dedication, behaviour and appearance speech and care were very attractive and out of the ordinary. My fist class teacher in grade 1 was Rev. Bro. Rafael, who used to tell us about his experiences in France and we liked him a lot. Also we felt that Maris Stella was the best school in the area in every way and we had a pride being Maristonians.

As we grew up even the Brothers who took the leadership, namely; Rev. Bro. Stanislaus and Rev. Br. Peter were much respected and down to earth personalities who seemingly did not have other interests other than on education and Maris Stella. During our schooldays there were foreign superiors who visited the college but I cannot remember to have had much of a knowledge about much information about the Marist Congregation and its proliferation. We were told about Blessed Marcellin Champagnat and his loves towards children and how he was helpful for their upliftment but he didn’t remain a striking personality in our minds. It is deep seated in my mind that for what I was and what I am today is mostly due to my education and upbringing at Maris Stella. Being a lover of sports I got the opportunity and the training to develop the skills in sports I learnt good manners, discipline and to be respectful to the others through the various activities we were involved, such as; Retreats, daily prayers in the chapel, being the member on the Apostleship of prayer. Later in the senior grades (O level & A level) we had the Catholic Student’s Federations which also gave us a chance to interact with other reputed schools, getting involved in seminars and social service activities in the form of work shops, together with other college students and undergraduates. Now I have a great respect for whatever is Maris; the Brothers, my old teachers the Maristonians young and old. I am very pleased when outsiders talk good about my school and feel very bad if anybody talks bad about Maris Stella.

I studied at Maris Stella from my 2nd standard up to my University entrance and thereafter became a Graduate in Science of the Colombo Campus. While being employed I followed a part time course at a local campus and obtained a Diploma in Food Science. Later, on a scholarship I did a fulltime 6 months Diploma course in Food Science & Nutrition in Netherlands and passed with honour. After few months of teaching I got employed in a State Corporation, joining as a management Trainee and rising up to the level of Additional General Manager during a service of over 30 years. My education and upbringing helped me to live according to the accepted norms of life without chasing after money and other privileges that came on my way. Now I am retired getting involved and enjoying teaching English, privately and looking after few investments. Currently I am the President of the Old Boy’s Association of Maris Stella College. After losing my most treasured son 6 years ago I am educating my only daughter who is in the final year of a foreign degree course followed locally. I am hoping for a peaceful retirement with my wife and daughter.

G.K.L. Jayanthya Fernando, Negombo, Sri Lanka
Marist Province Of Sri Lanka