J/Methodist Girls’ High School – Point Pedro
Methodist Girls’ High School was the precious pearl, formulated in the minds of the Wesleyan Missionary. In 1823 Rev. Thomas Squance, who founded the school purchased a plot of land at Point Pedro, just in front of the sea shore, along the Kangesanthurai - Point Pedro road from one Mr. Nagappar. There he built one classroom and a bungalow and a Tamil medium primary school was started then and there.
As girls were not allowed to go to school, in these days only boys were admitted and it progressed well. In 1833 it was recommended that English should be taught as a subject in schools. In 1838 within the same premises Rev. Dr. Peter Percival started the Wesleyan Mission Central School and Tamil medium school was the feeding School of it.
As the girls were not allowed to go to school, it was a difficult task for the missionary to educate girls. In spite of the opposition, they were able to persuade some of the parents and their daughters were taught to read and write their language. This achievement encouraged the missionary and they wanted to develop the process further. At that time Rev. W.R.Winston And his wife were of immense help to them.
In 1875 the Wesleyan Central College started by Rev. Peter Percival was shifted to its present site where Hartley College stands. After girls started to go to school, the area of the primary school was extended and more building were put up. In 1875 it became the Girls’ Boarding School, (G.B.S). It was a turning point in the development of the school. Gradually classes were added from grade 3 to grade 8. More land adjoining the school was acquired and necessary buildings including the new office were built.
During the period from 1878 to 1894, the school management was able to secure an efficient staff including the personalities like Mr. Arunachalam, Mr. Samuel Aramboo, Mr. Henry Chinnathamby and Mr. John M. Veluppillai. Mr. Jackson was the Head Master. After Mr Jackson, Miss Bestall, Miss Beauchamp and Miss Beatrice Walsh were the principals till 1910.
1910 – 1915 Miss Parks was the principal of the school. She was very keen in bringing up girls to school. She met the parents by going around on a push bike and her sincere effort encouraged the community. Many parents agreed to educate their daughters.
In 1913 one Mrs. N.R Joseph joined the school. She held the post as Warden and Matron for a long period till 1944. She served with dedication and all affectionately called her Akkasi (mf;fhrp). In 1971 Mrs. C.P Armugam who was affectionately called Pataka (gl;lf;fh) joint the school as a teacher. She retired in 1952 as the head mistress of the primary department of the school. Her service throughout a long period earned her a good reputation.
In 1921 - 24 Madam Bradford was the principal during her period the old girls of the school took active part in the development of the school. With their co-operation a hall was built and a Science laboratory was started. The Science laboratory was a milestone in its development.
It’s noteworthy to mention that the first Tamil girl who passed the Tamil school leaving certificate examination held in 1924 was from G.B.S.
It was during Miss Wormwill’s period in 1925, the girls started to wear the school uniform instead of the Saree they wore earlier with the earnest participation of Mrs. N.R. Joseph, the uniforms were sewn at school and distributed.
In 1926 during Miss. Robinson’s period the progress of the school was noticeable not only in education but also in sports and Girls Guide Movement as well. Its record was recognized Island-wide and became a popular girls’ school in Vadamaradchy.
From 1927 to 1937 Miss. Greenwood was the principal. This period was considered as the golden age in the School’s development. The school was upgraded as the Bilingual school and that status was admired by everybody with pride. An orphanage was introduced at the school and many under privileged girls were educated. The netball game was practiced for the first time. The Girls Guide Movement was strengthened.
When girls passed the home science examination conducted in 1932, the necessity of a Home science room was felt and built during her period. She organized to have Grade 1 and Grade 2 classes and two new classrooms were built along with some other buildings. Miss. Emily Ratnam was the first teacher for grade 1.
In 1937 electricity connection was installed and the benefits of it were enjoyed by the School community. From 1938 to 1941 Miss. Everatte was the principal. During her period the Vembaddy Boarding School was closed. Miss. Murgatroyed who was in charge Vembaddy boarding school did not want to put an end to the education of the boarders. She decided to join the GBS at Point Pedro along with her students. This sudden influx of students demanded more buildings. Many extra classrooms were built. A big building behind the bungalow was erected as a dormitory. With the corporation of the matron, cooks and the teachers the school achieved remarkable progress
In 1938 Miss. Everette and Miss. Murgatroyed took the teachers and the students on a tour of the Hills and ancient cities of our country. In 1942 the school was raised to the status of an English High School. The students sat the senior school leaving certificate examination for the first time.
From 1944 to 1947 Miss. Parker was the principal. In 1948 the students participated in the Independence Day celebration at the Independence Square in Colombo. From 1948 to 49 Miss Dore was the principal. She was the last English principal.
In 1950 Miss. Mary Chinnaiah was appointed as the principal of the school. She was the first national principal appointed by the missionary. Her arrival was considered as the historic event. She improved and expanded the school in every way. As soon as she took over the name of the school became Methodist Girls’ High School instead of the G.B.S.
The large playground, Open Air Stage, rows of new classrooms, a big and stately hall with an adjoining_Chapel, science laboratories, well equipped Home Science Room, a spacious library, a new dormitory with all facilities were the achievements of her untiring efforts.
The school Motto, “Onward, Upward Towards the Light”, the school crest with sea light house and palmyrah palms and the school song were all her inspirations.
The Four houses of the school Blue, Green, Yellow and Red were named. Parks, Greenwood, Everatte and Murgatroyed respectively in Honour of the former English Principals and every student was given a badge denoting the colour of the house.
It was during her period the sports field and Girl Guides Movement developed vigorously and the school won an Island wide name for the achievements
In 1960 when the government took over the schools island wide, it became a government school. She introduced the Advanced Level classes for Arts in 1951 and science in1960 and paved the way for the students to enter university. During her time the school was upgraded as a Grade 1AB school.
She was a true Christian in spirit. Her generosity towards the needy was immense. During her period many orphans and underprivileged found a home at the school. Her committed service continued for 16 years and her period was considered as the golden age in the development of the school.
When Miss R.M Chinnaiah retired, immediately Mrs.P Kanagasundaram was appointed as the principal. She served for nearly three months and her sister Miss. Manoranjitham Arumugam succeeded her. Miss. M. Arumugam was at Chunnakam Ramanathan Girls’ College for a long period as a teacher, Vice Principal and hostel warden and that environment moulded her as an embodiment of eastern culture. Her charming personality and gentle demenour won the good will and co-operation of all.
During her period the number of students entering the university increased in Science and Arts streams. Girl Guides Movement was well established and a Ranger group was introduced. In the sports field, students participated in all the competitions held at district level and won awards
Aesthetic studies flourished during her time. A School Band was formed. Carnatic music, Bharatha natiyam, Ballets and Dramas won awards in the competitions held at regional and national level.
As the majority of the students were Hindus, she was keen in developing the Hindu culture. Navratri Poojas and Guru Poojas were conducted with great devotion. Students were taken to Thiruketheeswaram to attend the Shivarathiri Pooja. One music master was appointed to teach the Hindu hymns in the proper way. Eastern culture was developed steadily without much effort.
In 1971 she laid the foundation stone for a Hindu prayer hall. Her dedicated service was remarkable in every activity of the school and it continued for eight years until she retired in 1974.
1975 - 1983 Mrs. R.J.Mann was the principal. She was transferred from Udupiddy Girls’ College. She did her best to increase the number of students entering the university. In 1979 she introduced the A/L Commerce stream and many students joined it.
She was fond of English dramas and encouraged students to stage Shakespearean plays. In the annual English drama competition held at district level, 3 times our students won first place for the following scenes from ‘midsummer night’s dreams”, “Othello” and “Macbeth”. In 1976 the school participated in the inter school drill competition and got 3rd place at National level. After serving for nearly eight years she retired in 1983.
In 1983 Mrs. Thevamalar Ariyaratnam was appointed as the principal of the school. She was as old girl of the school and she started to serve the school as a graduate teacher in 1949. Her ardent ambition to uplift the progress of the school was dampened by the 1983 July incident. The situation of the place around the school became tense and in 1985 the school was temporarily shifted to the playground of Vada Hindu Girls’ College. Temporary sheds were put up and teaching learning activities were carried out successfully in spite of all hardships. In 1986 Mrs. Ariyaratnam retired after serving nearly three years.
In 1987 Mrs. Leela Chandrasegaram was appointed as the principal. She faced the problems with courage and tried her best to shift back the school to its original site in 1989. The damaged buildings and things were repaired and the school activities were carried out with marvelous vigour.
Computer course and typing class were introduced. 1989 G.C.E (A/L) results created a record by obtaining scholarship to Australia 2 in medicine and 2 in engineering course. Along with the academic achievements the extracurricular activities too were noticeable. In the music competition held at National level in 1992 our school won first prize and gold medal. The two netball teams of the school won 1st place at district level and became champions.
During her period she was honoured as the best Principal on the Teachers’ Day. She retired in 1993. In 1994 Mrs. R. Nandakumar was appointed as the principal. After a short period of service in 1995.
1996-1997 Mrs Mary .Gunaratha Thavaratnam was the principal. In June 1996 the school started its operation again. During her period she overcame all the deadlocks, barriers and challenges in a skilful way and led the school in an efficient way. It was obvious that school has improved in education and extra curriculum activities in a great way.
1997-2014 Mrs S.Suntharesan was the principal. During her period many new buildings had been erected. New subjects like -Computer studies had been introduced. It was pointed out that the students had participated in competition in English medium and sports in District and national level remarkably. The school had been alter 1AB super with Technological section in A/L. She served with commitment and dedication toward the school.
In the education path our school has trekked or travelled a long way by the commitment, sacrifice and dedication of the principals. It is no doubt that the school will go ahead in a smooth way
Though, this school encountered many hardships, hazards and loses during the civil war and natural disasters, it was able to overcome all those with the help of this government’s developments projects, whole-hearted co-operation of the old Girl’s Association and the committed service of the Principals and teachers.
The school which was started with the Blessings of God and dedicated service of this Missionary, now steadily progresses onward, upward and towards the lights