by K. Thirukumaran
“D.S. is a different kind of school. In fact, it is unique because here all ethnic and religious groups live under the same roof, in peace and harmony. This is exactly what the world requires. It is a global need which we practice at the college,” this is what Principal, Ashoka Senani Hewage, said about D.S. Senanayake College in a media interview in 2006.
This school community, is in an unbearable agony and grief stricken as seven of their students belonging to their baseball team and their coach died in the Fort Railway station bomb blast.
Among the student teammates who died is Rajarathnam Rathiswaran, a GCE O/L student from the Tamil medium at D.S.
[Rathiswaran's mother-pic:daily mirror.lk]
D.S., the Gregory’s Road school, opening its doors on February 10th, 1967 is a beacon of learning in Sri Lanka’s three mediums of instruction and a model to be emulated all over the country. No public educational institution has ever newly opened doors offering instruction in Sinhala, Tamil and English mediums for several decades prior and never since then in Sri Lanka, and to rise in such prominence in learning, sports and student discipline.
Founding of D.S. was a vision of then Education Minister I.M.R.A. Iriyagolla, during the Premiership of Dudley Senanayake. And largely realised during the tenure of founding Principal Ralph I. T. Alles, who was assisted by enthusiastic teachers and parents. They laid the groundwork-to show what is possible in Sri Lanka-an institution of learning that prides model harmony among all of Sri Lanka’s ethnicities. And even the agony of the Fort blast too embodied this hallmark.
“This is the first time in the history of the school that we have experienced such heartbreak. All activities in the school have come to a standstill as we are trying to get over this shock and heartbreak,” said the principal to The Morning Leader of Feb 6th.
[Vasantha Rajarathanam mourns with other relatives over the body of her son Rajarathanam Rathiswaran during his funeral at the family residence in Colombo February 5, 2008-Reuters Photo via Yahoo! News]
The newspaper further said:
“Family members of Rajarathnam Radeeswaran, the GCE O/L student from the Tamil medium who died along with his other team mates have stated that they have lost the only ‘winner’ in their family. The family living in the less developed Sri Dharmarama Road, Dematagoda had many dreams and hopes about their son, Rathiswaran, who excelled both in studies and sports. Rathiswaran had confided to a friend that it was his dream to pull his family out of poverty, someday.”
Other teammates perishing with Radeeswaran – Kolitha Kumara Mahamudalige (20), of Hokandara, Vimukthi Sajan Thewarpperuma (19), of Kalutara North, Supun Hallala (17) of Angoda, Dinuth Priyasanka (17) of Agalawatta, Thiwanka Thisera (18) of Dehiwala and Eranda Chaturanga (22) of Colombo 7, and their coach, Malinda Arumadura.
Six of the team had died on the spot at the Fort railway station in the afternoon of Sunday, February 3, while the other two had later succumbed to their injuries. Fourteen people died in the explosion-among them are two 12 year old students, one from Holy Family Convent, Dehiwala and another from Seeduwa. A railway worker and a police sergeant too died in the blast.
25 comments February 6th, 2008