Photographic Art Society of St.Joseph’s Balika Maha Vidyalaya Kegalle has been commenced in the month of May of year 2001 under the patronage of the principal of the school Mrs.R.M.C.K. Aththapaththu, and under the guidance of Mrs.Chandra Kariyawasam (teacher in charge). The advisor and the tutor of the photographic society is Mr.Ananda Premarathna a member of National Photographic Art Society of Sri Lanka.
From left to right - Mr.Ananda Premarathna, Mrs.R.M.C.K. Aththapaththu, Mrs.Chandra Kariyawasam On November in 2006 an inter-school photographic competition and an exhibition organized by the school photographic society were held from 9th of November to 11th of November, at the main hall of the school.
Invited schools for the competition were, St.Mary’s Maha Vidyalaya, Kegalu Vidyalaya, Kegalu Balika Vidyalaya, Pinnawala National School, Tholangamuwa Dadley Senanayake Central College from Kegalle District, Hilwood College in Kandy, Holy Cross Convent in Gampaha and Maliyadewa Balika Vidyalaya in Kurunegala.
The exhibition was opened by the Zonal Director of the Department of Education, Mr.R.R.Abeysinghe on 9th of November, 2006.
A logo for the society was designed by the students and the new logo and the new badge for members of the photographic society was launched at the opening ceremony of the exhibition. Below is the logo of the photographic society.
The panel of judges as follows, - Mr. Lakvijitha Lenaduwa – Owner of Fine Image Colour Lab and Studio, Kegalle - Mr.Susantha Kannaddara – Owner of Irish Colour Lab, Kandy - Mr.Vijitha Wickramarathne – Lawyer and famouse photographer
The exhibition was opened from 8.00 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. on 9th, 10th and 11th of November, 2006. Winning photographs and other selected creations were exhibited and the exhibition was a success. Many students from neighbor schools have visited and appreciated the effort of the photographic society. In the intra-competition who won the both first and second places was Sajiewika Dissanayake. The third place was won by Gihani Dissanayaka. The photograph that won the first place is below.
In the inter-school competition, in the colour photographs category the first place was won by Pabodha Hettige of Maliyadewa Balika Maha Vidyalaya Kurunegala. The second place went to Durekshi Jayasekara of Anula Vidyalaya, Colombo while the third place went to R.C. Madushani of Maliyadewa Balika Maha Vidyalaya. Here is the photograph that won the first place.
In the category of black and white photographs, both the first and second places were won by students of Maliyadewa Balika Maha Vidyalaya Kurunegala, they are Nikeshala Karunanayake and Pabodha Hettige. Below is the photograph that won the first place of this category.
The path to school runs through a garden with temple trees. This garden is maintained by convent. Near the main hall there are flower pots with flowered Bougainville plants. Children come early in the morning and they clean the path, steps and they clean their classrooms also.
Students collect money and paint walls of their class rooms and decorate windows by hanging lace curtains. They keep flower vases on tables and maintain wallpapers. Therefore classrooms are pleasant.
Children walk in a line silently within the school premises. This helps to keep the discipline. The school day begins with observing ‘pan-sil’ and singing school song and national anthem at 7.30 a.m.
After that children do exercises and then they meditate ‘Maithrie- Bhavana’. This helps them to concentrate their minds on learning.
Most of the children are intelligent and keen on studying. The school provides facilities for students to involve in co-curricular activities like sports, dancing, music etc. An hour from 8-9 a.m. is allocated for these.
After that the first period for studies begins, altogether eight periods per day just like in most schools. The lunch break is given at 11.30 a.m. and that is half an hour. This helps to allocate the time for studies efficiently. The school day ends at 1.30 p.m. and the children retire from the mother school looking forward to walk into her arms again on the next morning.
At its inception the school had only eight pupils. One of them is Mrs. Gunarathna. The Sisters began including their students, the intrinsic worth of moral values and good manners, while impacting to them the benefits of formal education in the English medium.
The number of students swelled with surprising rapidity and vicinity, the parents who wanted to give their daughters this type of education, consisted themselves extremely lucky for at that time such private schools were few and far between.
As the school gained wider recognition the demand arose for a school boarding. Once this was started students from far and near flocked to St. Joseph’s convent. Canon Van Rechem superior General of the Congregation visited Kegalle on 13th of January 1910 and installed Mother Christine as the first Mother Superior of the community of six Sisters at St. Joseph’s Convent, Kegalle.
On December 18th at 9 o’clock in the morning the sisters of the Sacred Heart Convent, destined for the mission, left Galle escorted by Mother Tiburce.
This is taken from a letter written by Mother Tiburce :-
“We arrived at Polgahawela at 5 in the evening; Rev. Fr. Closet was waiting for us at the station. He installed us in a carriage drawn by two horses. The Catholics from Kegalle had sent the carriage decorated with flags and greenery. For as hour and a quarter we traveled along wonderful scenery to reach the place where the reception was to taken place.
The whole population of Kegalle and its surroundings was there. After giving us an exquisite bouquet of flowers the procession started. At the head twelve trained elephants, then followed a group of dances, a long line of carriages, the school children, boys girls with banners and baskets of flowers.
At the foot of the parish Church, His Grace Mgr. Van Reeth gave us his paternal blessing with some kind words of welcome. We mounted the 46 steps between two rows of curious onlookers. In front of the church raise our beautiful convent like a strong fortress. The convent is built in pavilion style. The center is the convent, around it the Sinhalese and English schools, the bordering is the orphanage.
After the ceremony in the church, we went to the boarder’s playground. There the dancers performed to the sounds of tom-tom. When the darkness put an end to their entertainment, the fir works began. It was so beautiful.
The solemn blessing of the convent took place on the following day. After the ceremony the Bishop, the Father and the Catholic notables assembled in the boarder’s large hall. There we were presented as a sign of welcome; a beautiful statue of St. Joseph’s which was already installed in the front piece of our house, a good bell for our chapel and a carriage for the use of our school or for special circumstance. The rest of the morning was spent giving large portion of rice, bananas and sugar to a large number of poor people.”