It is really the blessings of our ancestors to have understood the importance of education during their period more than a century ago.
Srilanka became a colony when Portugese came here. They used this island for their commercial purposes. Later they started to spread religion and along with religion they were equally interested in the education of the indegenous. Therefore administration in all the school were done by the clergy. The curriculum and the management were according to their decision. The Schools were always close to the church environment. The development of schools and the education started from here. So this is where the foundation for education started for Vankalai. Our school has a history of evidence before the independence of Ceylon which was housed by the side of Church.
In the very early stage, this school was only a hut. Before 1900 this school was named as Vankalai Catholic Mixed School with very little number of children. Amongst this, the number of girls were only a handful.
The first Principal to start with the Varandha school was Mr.Soosaipillai of Jaffna, and then Pundit Gabrielpillai master. These both are the fathers of education in the then Vankalai. Mrs. Slomia Leena was the first lady teacher from Vankalai, who served with dedication along with Mr.Gabrielpillai.
In 1936 Mr.S. Barnabas colas took charge of the school with 226 students and 4 teachers in a half walled building. He served in this School till 1963 for a longer period of about 32 years. During his period i.e. From 01.05.1935,this School Started to function as Vankalai Boys’ school and Chirst the king Girls school. On the request made by Rev.Fr.Soosaithasan Nalliah, Holly family nuns came and engaged in education activities from 1935. Then they took the responsibility of running the girls school.
The boys’ school was changed as St.Annes’ Boys school. In the Grede 5 scholarship examination held in 1944, 6 students(boys &girls)passed the exams with distinctions and was selected to Errukalmpiddy M.M.V to continue their studies. As there were religious barriers, they were not allowed to go there. After the barrier was removed, for many years the student who obtained Grade 5 scholarship awards joined Erukalmapiddy MMV and St.Xaviers’s College,Mannar. Because until 1960, our school was a primary school managed by the clergy and the Dioces of Jaffna.
Then in 1960 a legislative act was moved to take all these kinds of schools by the government. The whole island opposed to this move. On this base our school also opposed to that at the beginning. The management –justified their points. But the government did not give in and under severe protection made some promises. In December 1960, this became a government school. But the standard of this school was not changed .Though there were so many Maha Vidyalayams and Madhya Maha Vidyalayams were coming up island wide, the standard of our school was the same. This situation brought an awareness about education among the parents & elders. As a result a delegation with the sponsorship of the then parliamentarian Mr.V.A.Allagacon, met the Director General of education and discussed the matter. This effort brought success on 05.01.1968. This delegation consisted of Mr.C.S.Samson Miranda, The Chairman, Village Council, Mr.Thiruchlvem –Principal, Mr.P.Abias sosai, Mr.T.Maximus lambert , Mr.F.Saverian Lambert and Mr. S. Gnapragasam Morais.
Mr. S. Adrian Mark took over the school and worked until 31.07.1974. During his tenure, on 12.06.1972, The Additional Secretary of the Ministry of Education, Hon. K. H. M. Sumathipala, officially inaugurated the Advanced Level Arts Stream. These students entered the university in 1975 and made a mile stone in the history of our school.
Mr. S. Soosaiappu peries was the Principal until 02.05.1978. Following that late Mr. S. Vethanayagam, former Zonal Director of Education, Mannar, became the Principal. Mr. T. Maximum Lambert succeeded him. The schools that were functioning as St. Anne’s Boys’ School and Christ the King Girls’ school were amalgamated on 1981.10.01 and was up graded as St.Annes’ Maha Vidyalayam. The idea to shift the school functioning, to the present location rooted at this point. As a result of Mr. T. Maximus Lambert’s continuous efforts, the then Hon.Minister Rajadurai and the Member of Parliament Mr.P.Soosaithasan Sosai recommended the 1st 100’ x20’ up-stair block and the government fund was allocated. The foundation stone for this building was laid by the then Minister for shetler & Housing, Janab M. N. Mohamed.
The proposed land was a marshy land and also there were some residential houses. So there was a need to settle these people somewhere and take the whole land for t this purpose and to compensate for the houses. The government allocated funds for this purpose, which was not-enough to do all the work concerned. Therefore the foundation work was done on church expense and on sharamadhana basis by the villagers.
The then Parish council and late Rev.Fr.Mery Bastian were in the forefront to complete this work. The youth and the elders of this village willingly supported on this task.
Then Mr.F.Saverian Lambert succeeded up to 1984.05.18 and ran the school successfully. During his period a reverend Brother, namely Bro. Christy Dorus FSC, of De La Salle congregation rendered his services very dedicative.
Mr. A. Wilfred Sosai served as the Principal till 1985.06.01. Following him Mr. A. Auspice Croos took over. During his period of tenure, the A/L stream was expanded with the Commerce stream. These student ts sat for the A/L in 1987 and successfully entered to the commerce faculty.
According to the new reforms, the cluster school system was introduced to get-the maximum benefit used. our school was one of the centre schools for the cluster schools. Mr. A. Auspice Croos was the principal to this. The foundation stone for 80’x20’ science lab was said in the new school prsmisses. Mr. Auspice Croos retired from the services on 1987.01.25 and the Deputy Principal Mr. C. Tiburtius Peries took over the school charge during which period the school was shiflted to the new premisses on 1987.05.07. Mr. A. Sebamalai became the Principal of this school and functioned as the cluster Principal from 1988.01.02 who discharged his duties very well. A remarkable development was seen in sports and education during his time. On the transfer of Mr. A. Sebamalai on 1990.05.15, Mr.B.Emil culas succeeded. On the awakening of the disturbances in the area again, the whole people of this village were compelled to displaces to south India, Madhu and to and Mannar Island. The school could not function any more. Therefore this school started to function temporarily at Mn/Thalvupadu RCTMS, from 1991.01.09. After some time, it was again shifted to a hut school at sunny village. Surprisingly and shockingly, this hut was burnt to ash by some unscrupulous people which was a heart breaking experience to the people of Vankalai who took education as their life. This incident gave more enthusiasm to the people to go forward in education and also to return to their village. As a result the educational activities resumed in the village from 1993.01.25, under the leadership of Mr. B. S. Emil culas. Also A/L Science stream was started. During his period of tenure a 90’x25’ building work was commenced. He was transferred on 1994.07.11 and Mr. S. Soosaippu Lambert took the charge over. During his service period Mn/St.Anne’d M.V was promoted as Mn/St.Anne’s Madhya Maha Vidyalayam on 1994.09.23. On the transfer of Mr. Soosaiyappu Lambert on 1995.07.25, Mr. A. Pancras sosai became the principal. During his tenure in 1995, the first batch in science/ maths appeared for A/L exam and successfully entered Medicine and Engineering faculties. While his service, Mrs. Anne Mary Arokkiyanathan took over the responsibility and discharged the best to the development of this school. She was the first lady Principal of this school. After her transfer, Mr.Pancras Sosai continued his service as principal.
According to the new reforms in educationintroduced by the government ,our Madhya Mahavidyalayam was divided as, senior & junior schools on the 1st of February 1999. At this Juncture Mr. A.Pancras Sosai administered the senior school and Mr. S. Remegius Peries functioned as the Junior school Principal. Mr. Pancras retired from his service on the 5th of June, 2000, and the then deputy Principal Rev. Bro. S. E. Reginald FSC became the Principal. During his period of tenure, the office of the principal was renovated and designed modernly. Following that Mr. Remigiar Peries became the senior school Principal and Mr. C. Maryamn Coonghe become the junior school Principal. While Mr. Mariyan Coonghe’s period, foundation stone for the 100’x20’ up stair block was laid.
According to the government circular, on 2002.06.01,the senior and junior schools were combined again and Mr. Remgius was transferred on 2002.05.19. Mr.C.Tiburcius Peries shouldered the responsibilities.
Then Mrs. L. Malini Weniton, who was functioning as a Deputy Director of Education in the Mannar Zonal Education office became the Principal. During her tenure, the basic needs of the schools i.e.- Water supply and Urinals were completed to a certain extent with UNICEF assistance. Also with the NECORD funds , foundation stone was laid by Mr. S.ariathasan Croos, Directorm, NECORD for a modern Library complex with three class rooms on 2004. 01.18.
This was declared open in 2005. An arch at the front entrance was erected with the money collected by the 1998/99 A/L students union and was declared open on the 18th January 2004. At the same period Mannar District was divided as Mannar and Madhu Educational zones. Mr. M. Abel Revel functioned as the zonal director of Education, Mannar and the Mr. A.Jusephlius Croos functioned as the zonal Director of Education, Madhu. We are proud to say both these Directors are from our village, Vankalai.
Following the transfer of Mrs. M. L. Weniton, to the Zonal Education office, the present Principal, Rev.Bro. S. C. Vijayathasan F.S.C. took over the school on the 3rd of Aug 2005. The physical and human resources brought to this school and the development taken place in education and extracurricular activities at present are immense. It is appropriate that a number of works that have been completed during his period, should be listed here. The intercom facilities to the sectional heads, renovation to the assembly hall, creating a green house, opening a new science lab, building a 5000lts. underground sump, erecting a children’s park, renovation of the office and a new attached washroom, purchase of a settee set, opening a milk board, new kitchen for mid day meals, tree planting campaigns, erection of a basket ball court, moving volley ball court, a net ball court, purchase of athletic warm up kits, netball jerseys, prefects’ blazers etc. On a special offer from the Governor for North, a 2000kv generator & 5 Nos. of LCD computers were obtained. Computer courses for students from Gr. 6 to 9 were started and running smoothly. Above all our school has been selected as an Isuru school and our village has been selected as an e’village during his tenure. We are very proud to state that during his period our school won a national level award in athletic competitions held in the year 2008 in triple jump. This brought fame to the entire district after a period of 20 years.
The history of our education goes beyond centuries. In these period, teachers from Jaffna and other places have stood as the pillars of education for generation and had rendered a high dedicative service to education. Specially the Holly family nuns, namely Rev. Srs. Monica, Jane mary, Emelda, Concepla, Basil, Valantine, Constantine, St.Paul , Andrew, Hilda Heart, Evresta, and Bibiana should be Praised for their spiritual and discipline life taught to the children of this village to lift up their life style to the standard of the entire country. Most of the above nuns are not alive today, but we remember them with sincere thanks and gratitude for their guidance.
In the long run of the history, this school has produced various walks of people such as, government administrative officials, Educationalists, doctors, engineers, adminstrative officers, Lawyers, teachers, Principals ,government employees, religious(as priests and nuns) politicians, sociologist etc. Though there were periods of down fall, on the whole, it has engraved a name In education as well as in sports and other extracurricular activities in the national level.
We pray that St.Anne will guide us all in future too.