Mrs. Y. Senaratne served Anula Vidyalaya Nugegoda as a remarkable educationist
It’s hard to come to terms that Mrs. Y. Senaratne our dearly beloved former Science teacher has left this world after sacrificing most of her life to give her students at Anula Vidyalaya Nugegoda a remarkable education.
Most of those who studied under her are now Consultant Doctors, Engineers, Lawyers, Accountants, lecturers or holding high positions here and abroad.
Our memories races back to 1960s when she joined our tutorial staff. Soon she became our second mother away from home. More than a teacher of the highest calibre, she was a mother, a sister or a very close confidant to all her students. She was also a distinguished old girl of the school.
We still remember she telling us how she could manage to overcome one of the biggest challenges in her carrier- to switch to teaching in Sinhala medium from English. She had learnt in English medium.
After switching the mode of language and the requirement to cover the syllabus within two years was a challenge to any teacher. But Mrs. Senaratne soon overcame this challenge and took a further step forward in helping out the fellow teachers to reach the targets by combining classes during school vacations.
She taught us Physics, Biology and Mathematics in addition to Chemistry, which was the subject that was assigned to her. The way she handled the situation was commended not only by the fellow teachers, the Principal but also by parents.
Unlike now, in the 1960s, students were chosen for Science and Art streams from Grade 9, and GCE (O/L) Science teachers had to cover a massive syllabus.
Despite the workload, whenever other teachers went on medical leave, Mrs. Senaratne willingly covered their duties. She also maintained a friendly relationship with the new teachers who joined the school and helped them enhance teaching skills. As a result, she soon became extremely popular among the tutorial staff. We still remember how she inspired us to learn about atoms, electrons and protons with the limited resources at the school lab. In the classroom, she brought to life, the natural phenomena such as germination of seeds, photosynthesis, soil erosion and the water cycle, expanding our knowledge while arousing curiosity.
The way she explained the complex scientific concepts while relating them to day-to-day life such as corrosion and controlling the flame of a burner still linger in our minds.
This was a time when students from the Arts stream excelled in academic performance and there was a setback in the Science stream. Mrs. Senaratne was among the teachers who dedicatedly rendered their service to uplift the Science stream at Anula.
Mrs. Senaratne joined Anula as a young student during Ms. P. B. Fernando’s tenure and excelled in her studies. She was the Head Prefect of the school in 1954 and in 1965 became a member in the first Executive Committee of the Old Girls’ Association (OGA).
Later on, she became the Treasurer of the OGA. Even after going on retirement she continued to serve in the Advisory Committee of the OGA for further few years and also rendered an outstanding service as a member of the Past Teachers’ Association. She was fortunate to get the rare opportunity to address the past pupils and past teachers at the school’s 50th anniversary in 1991.
It was a rude shock to all the old girls to come across her death. Although she has left us forever physically her memories will not fade away from us till we meet her in our journey of Samsara.
May she attain the Sublime Bliss of Nirvana soon than later.
Grieving Old Girls