S. Thomas’ College.
Founded in the Eighteen Hundred & Fifty First year of Our Lord Christ.
Instituted for the Glory of God
S. Thomas’ College, Mount Lavinia is an Anglican Church School, which was founded by the first Bishop of Colombo, the Rt. Rev. James Chapman, D. D. It was his foremost vision to build a College & Cathedral for the new Diocese of Colombo of the Church of Ceylon. Thus on the 3rd of February 1851 the College of St .Thomas the Apostle, Colombo was opened with the objective of training a Christian Clergy and to make Children good citizens under the discipline & supervision of Christianity.
Christian values were the corner stone on which the school was founded. Students of all races and religions studied in harmony. The School grew from strength to strength at the place of its origin, Mutuwal, for over a three score of years, carefully nurtured by Wardens such as Revs. Wood, Miller, Read & Buck. Warden Stone in 1918, found that the dusty environs of Mutuwal were not best suited for his pupils and so shifted the College to the picturesque campus at Mount Lavinia. Since then 8 loyal caring Warden including the Canon R.S. de Saram have ensured that the well preserved traditions and values are handed down from generation to generations. In 1951 it became a private fee levying school and is today one of the foremost educational institutions in Sri Lanka. In fact it could, in addition, lay claim to be one of the very best.
The College which is under the Church of Ceylon is run by a Board of Governors which is chaired by the Anglican Bishop of Colombo who is also known as the ‘Visitor of the College’. The administration of the College itself is headed by a Warden assisted by a Sub Warden. There is also a Chaplaincy connected with the College and the famous College Chapel of the Transfiguration. The College consists of 3 schools, namely Upper, Middle & Lower Schools and is further divided into six main sections under Headmaster, Deputy Headmaster and Sectional heads viz. (The Upper School – Arts and Commerce, the Upper School – Science, the Upper School – London A Levels, the Upper School, the Middle School, and the Lower School.)
S. Thomas’ College, or ‘STC’ as it is commonly known, is widely reputed to have the most beautiful campus in Sri Lanka, approximately half an hour’s drive from the southern limits of the City of Colombo.
The entrance to the school is marked by the awe-inspiring Chapel of the Transfiguration, which towers over the rest of the campus. The Chapel is a vital element in the education of STC and is the centre of the spiritual life of the College, where many generations of Thomians have been bred and most importantly experienced God over the years. Dear to the hearts of all Thomians of diverse faiths & races, the Chapel serves as a reminder to us of our heritage, which is a gift of God.
Beyond is the blue green grass of the famous Quadrangle, the Main school buildings, the College Hall, the Dormitories and Library. The vast campus, modeled on the traditional English public school, stretches down to the famous golden beaches of Mount Lavinia, reaching the deep blue Indian Ocean.
S. Thomas’ provides a sound education in both Local (G.C.E. A/L & O/L) & London Examination systems. Instructions are given in all three mediums (English, Sinhala & Tamil) from Kindergarten to College Form classes (A/L). The School is one of the best equipped in the island, being blessed with a dedicated staff of qualified experienced teachers who over the years have become more than mere teachers to their young charges, which is a result of the special attachment that can only develop through years of association with College. STC has produced many Thomians who have over the years done a great service to their Church as well as the Nation.
The biggest asset possessed by the school is the student body which comprises of more than 2500 members. Although the majority is composed of Christians, students of other faiths & diverse races takes place in it. It is a well disciplined community and excels in both academic and extra curricular activities.
Materially too, STC has many facilities for sports and extra curricular activities. S. Thomas’ was the first School in Sri Lanka to have a swimming pool, gifted by Dr. R. L. Hayman in 1933. Two of the best playing fields viz. The Big Club and the Small Club – probably the finest school grounds in the island – afford Thomians the facilities for sports, namely cricket, rugby, soccer, athletics and hockey. There are also well laid courts for tennis, basketball and volleyball. In 1994 the indoor cricket nets were added and the pinnacle of all facilities the Indoor Sports Complex in 3 phases was completed in 1996. The sports complex which houses Table Tennis facilities, Badminton Courts, 3 glass back squash courts and a basketball court – all of an international standard, together with one of the most modern and well equipped gymnasiums. The Annual Cricket Encounter between us & Royal College Colombo 7 (The Battle of the Blues or the popular ‘Roy-Tho’) is one of the oldest cricket matches, which is being held without interruption even during the World Wars. Rowing also takes a high place in the field of sports.
S. Thomas’ also boasts in more than 50 societies of diverse interest. The Student Christian Movement with the other 3 religious societies takes a high place in fostering religious education on the Thomian youth. The College choir, ably trained, by the Precentor, still continues to maintain the highest standards in Anglican Choral music. The Annual Service of Nine lessons and carols is a much eagerly awaited event as it reveals the grandeur & capability of Thomian voices and as it is an event to worship & honour Christ, the Son of God. The carol service styled according to that of Kings College Cambridge. The Guild of All Souls also takes a vital place in the Chapel. The Servers Guild as it is better known assists the College Chaplain at Chapel Services. The other clubs and societies range from different fields from educational to social welfare. The Society for the Preservation of Thomian Traditions, English Literary Society, Drama society, Thomian Chamber Orchestra, the Science Associations, Commerce Society, Interact Club, Computer Club, !6th Colombo Scout Troupe, The Cadets Battalion & Culinary Arts Society are some of them
S. Thomas’ also has modern laboratory facilities in the New Science Laboratory. The up to date Computer Center is also housed here and has a fine collection of computers. The newly built Information Technology Room (IT Center) provides IT facilities to students at a nominal rate. The School also runs a Boarding – Hostel, which since the inception of the College has provided many Thomians from distant regions of Sri Lanka.
The achievements of STC and its products are far too numerous to be mentioned here. But it must be said that it is one of the foremost educational institutions in Sri Lanka, which has made a significant contribution to the nations progress over its 150 years of existence. Among its proud products stand a host of Christian Clergymen, Prime Ministers ( Rt. Hon. D.S. Senanayake, Hon. Dudley Senanayake, Hon. S.W.R.D Bandaranaike, Hon. W. Dahanayaka) Cabinet Ministers, Members of the Judiciary, Scholars, Scientists, Diplomats, Doctors, Engineers, Accountants, Musicians, Artists, Dramatists etc. All Thomians in diverse walks of life have not only learnt of Books & Men & how to play the game but also to be Gentlemen.
S. Thomas’ College is therefore much more than just a school. It is an institution rich in tradition, characterized by nearly one and a half centuries of hard work, dedication and achievement, all imbibed with the legendary Thomian Spirit. A pioneering institution which has understood and nurtured the very best in youth; where mere boys went in and great men came out to be “men and gentlemen always” men who beat the odds with the legendary “Thomian grit” and gentlemen who up held the motto of the school – Esto Perpetua!