Shirani Welgampola

 

 

"Excellence through caring and commitment"

 

Celebrating over 40 years of dedicated service as a teacher in Sri Lanka, Mrs. Shirani Welgampola continues to be an inspiration and shining example to many young people whose lives she has touched throughout her career. She specializes in teaching Sri Lankan and European History while making history in school management and administration.

 

Having started in two of the leading Catholic Boys Schools in Colombo, St. Peter's College and St. Joseph's College, she spent the longest and most memorable period of teaching at the prestigious Christian Girls School, Bishop’s College Colombo where she rose to be Head of the Upper School.

 

After leaving Bishop's College, Mrs. Welgampola served as the Vice Principal at St. Nicholas's International School and subsequently she was chosen to be the first Principal of Oasis International School. She spent close to 10 years at OIS, leading and nurturing the institution to achieve great and innovative heights. She also served as Principal of the M. D. Gunasena Teacher Training Institute, mentoring teachers in the English medium. In 2010 she retired from the position of Principal.

 

Her contributions to the teaching profession and her ability to make learning a pleasurable experience set her apart from other leaders in the field of education. With her achievements as a Principal and beloved teacher over the years, she deserves to have her own page in "Modern History"!


A Daughter’s Perspective by Chandima Samanthi Fernando

 

As a little child I am drawn towards the laughter coming from the dining room. My mother is conducting a class for some of her students at home. Each year they come, a different batch of young people becoming familiar faces in our household, seeking to be tutored in various subjects; History, English, Sinhalese, Geography, Social Studies and more History. Her storytelling and thought provoking style of teaching Sri Lankan and European History has made her into an unforgettable teacher who has brought characters to life in the minds of her listeners. Growing up the daughter of Mrs. Welgampola, I was blessed to have her guide and encourage me in all my endeavors. She is my friend and confidant, my role model and source of strength. My sister and I both knew that the term “my children”, when used by our mother did not always refer to the two of us. All the students in her life were her children, and she strived to give them her best, always taking pride in their successes and achievements. She prepared with meticulous perfection for each lesson and brought out the best in all her students. Through the years I watched her take on responsibility after responsibility and execute each giant task with flying colors. She became an expert at planning and carrying out school events. Prize Day, Sports Meet, Cultural Day, Religious Events, Fund Raisers, Carnivals, Food Fairs, Dramas, Concerts, Graduation, Swimming Meet….the list goes on and on. She has made all these events great successes and moreover memorable ones, at B.C, St. Nicholas’s and OIS. In her years as Headmistress of the Upper School at Bishop’s College, she also mastered the art of making timetables and rosters, and worked hard to ensure the smooth running of the institution. Back at home, the neighbors, extended family and friends brought their little toddlers to my mother to learn their first letters according to tradition, and she gave her time and kindness to all these people. In school she was well known for her broad mindedness, and throughout her career she kept many a secret for both student and parent. She went out of her way to make friends with the children from broken and turbulent homes, quietly bringing them under her wing and leading them down the path of healing and resolution. In her role as Vice Principal at St. Nicholas’s, she put her heart and soul into absorbing the new curriculum and did such pioneering things like building the computer lab there. With OIS, she started the school from the ground up, as Principal from day one, making it into the popular school it is today in Sri Lanka. At the Teacher Training Institute, she has taken her service to the next level, playing a key role in the education of competent teachers in the country. I am sure that all who know her well will agree that she is truly a gift to all of us. In my perspective, one thing seems to stand out, my mother achieves excellence through caring and commitment.


To read inspirational poetry by Samanthi Fernando visit www.starsafire.starrayz.com