The passing away of Mr. William Henry Samaranayake, retired Principal of St. Bernadette’s College, Polgahawela in the year 1969, had removed from the public life of this country a great educationist and silent social workers, whose activities were directed to the welfare of students, many of whom rose to power and distinction.
When Mr. Samaranayake took over St. Bernadette’s College it had only a few cadjan huts to house the students. Samaranayake’s courage and perseverance helped to produce the land and the magnificent building, which houses the college today. Mr. Samaranayake was not only of an unassuming disposition but also had dignity without pride.
He was calm and collected in manner and was a gentleman par excellence. Mr. Samaranayake belonged to an age which is fast sliding into history but he successfully accomplished his tasks reaching eminence in diverse fields. His philanthropic genius enabled many unfortunates to bask in the sunshine of his great hearted munificence and acts of generosity. Educationists of Mr. Samaranayake’s stamp, mettle and genius are indeed today rare as sandalwood trees which adorn the jungles of Sri Lanka.
Mr. Samaranayake will long be remembered as the great educationist who disciplined and moulded the characters of students to be respectful towards parents, elders and the State. Those students who occupy positions of dignity in the land today owe a great deal to Mr. Samaranayake.
He was also a prolific writer to the press and his articles were directed towards creating public opinion. Three great positions worthy of human ambition are to be the ruler of a great city, the Principal of a great school or the author of a great book.
Educationists of Mr. Samaranayake’s stamp, mettle and genius are indeed today rare as sandalwood trees which adorn the jungles of Sri Lanka
Mr. Samaranayake was not only the Principal of that great school St. Bernadette’s College, but he was also the author of four great books English with a Smile (Books 1,2 & 3) Practical English “which is almost a vade mecum and a sine qua non to students of English in Sri Lanka.
W.H. Samaranayake has gone to his eternal rest, but he will live forever in his great books English with a Smile & Practical English ‘which as text books in Sri Lankan schools have proved and will prove as invaluable guides to generations of teachers and students for years.
The world has lost a great educationist, who was distinguished for his simplicity, his high sense of duty and integrity.
His 48th death anniversary falls on August 26, 2017. His 111th birth anniversary falls on the 26th of November 2017.
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