Thurstan School was dawned with the end of the world war two. That was in nineteen forties.It was not started as a result of free education concept brought by famous scholar and minister of education Dr. C. W. W. Kannangara. Thurstan School could be introduced as an institution of technical education, started after gaining political independence in Sri Lanka from the British rule. Thurstan was planted in an educationally rich soil. On one side was one and a half century years old Royal College and on the other side was the Colombo Campus which was of similar age. The location is a significant feature.
Reverend father A. J. Thurstan started a private technical school in 1859 in this beautiful environment and maintained it out of his own funds. This institution had been a agricultural and multimedia technical training centre for many years but had to be closed down after a few years. In 1884 with the assistance of the British Government an agricultural school was started in the same place. There was historical evidence to show that around this agricultural school there had been a flourishing cinnamon cultivation, and today Colombo 7 is known as Cinnamon Gardens due to this cultivation. The agricultural school was started by the then Director of Education Mr. H. W. Green. In 1910 it was closed down.
There was a problem of space faced by Royal College and there was a need for another school for those students who could not gain admission to Royal. This problem went up to then Premier D. S. Senanayake and he suggested to occupy the buildings left vacant due to the shiftily of the teacher training school to Maharagama.
A new School was opened by then Minister of Education by Mr. E. A. Nugewela on January 11th, 1950 named as government Senior School at Thurstan road. There were 26 students who entered the grade one, to grade six 112 students were enrolled. There are all who passed grade 5 at Royal College. The principal of the new school was Mr. D. E. A. Shokman. During his term he tried to raise the standard of the school curriculum in many ways. Making use of the experience at Kingswood College Kandy with his ideas about high schools he introduced a house system for sports, student leadership (Prefects), cadetting, and literary associations not second to a high school which gained high standards in sports, literacy etc. over many years. He named the houses after the for directors of Education during British rule namely Denham, Macrey, Robison and Sandeman. The first Sports meet was held under the patronage of Dr. H. W. Howes, CMG, Director of Education on Saturday the 9th of February 1952. The teacher in charge of sport was Mr. Kingsly Fernando. Inter house champions were Robison House.
The Panel of Prefects concept was started with the beginning of College in 1950. The first Principal of the school Mr. Douglas Earle Allen Schokman who was a Kingswoodian who had taught at Trinity was keen that Thurstan too should have all the trappings that the Public Schools of that era practiced, a House system, Prefects system, Literary & other Cultural Societies, Sports, Cadets & Scout troop were formed. He ensured that the Panel of Prefects was chosen by the Staff & himself from the boys who were in the upper classes. Subhas Chawla had the honour of being the first Head Prefect at Thurstan.
The Prefects acts as the liaison between Principal, Staff and the rest of the student population. By virtue of being a Prefect, Leadership is entrusted on oneself. Those who have developed the leadership qualities while being a Prefect have become successful personnel in later life.
Up to about the 1980’s only 12 students from the Advance Level classes were chosen as Prefects by the Principal and the staff of the school. Invariably the Cricket & Rugby Captains & the Cadet Senior Sergeant were chosen as Prefects for the leadership qualities in their respective disciplines. These identified boys were looked upon with awe by the rest of the students. These were certainly coveted positions in the school. There was the Head Prefect, but there were no Deputies elected.
However with the advent of the Tuition craze to pass the intensively competitive Advance Level examination, some of the boys who were identified as Prefects refused to accept this coveted post. They did not want to indulge in any activities other than studies and the schools authorities were in a dilemma on how to choose the Panel of Prefects.
Thus the era of final year Advance Level students applying for Prefectship came into being in the later part of the 1980’s. Any Student in the final year Advance Level Class is eligible to apply. They have to sit an examination in which they are tested on history of Thurstan & the current General Knowledge. Those who are successful have to face an interview with the Principal & thus the Panel of Prefects is chosen. The Head Prefect and 3 Deputies are chosen from those who have sat the AL examination & who have been Prefects the previous year.
From the year 2003, in addition to the Head Prefect & 3 Deputies, 10 Senior Prefects were retained from those who served the previous year. This was a step taken to ease the burden of the Prefects who were sitting the Advance Level the first time. As at the beginning, the Prefects still continue to liaise with the students & the School Management in the day to day activities of the school. In addition they are called to undertake special projects for the school.
The College play ground houses the official cricket matches from Under 12 to 1st X1 whilst the cricket nets provide the facilities needed for practicing. The score board standing silently in one corner of the ground is a donation by distinguished old boy S.T.K. Fernando. This ground is also used by the students of the college during the interval, before and after School. Also this ground is equipped with a 200m track for athletics and also in one corner are the facilities needed for other equipment needed for athletics.
Cricket Ground / Rugby Ground
You may be aware that Thurstan has been given 5 acres and 20 perches of the most prime real estate in Sri Lanka for its playground. This is situated in the heart of Colombo 7 and at conservative estimate of Rs. 2 million a perch, it is worth more than 1680 million rupees (840 perches). We have had title ssession `of this ground for the last 8 years. During this period we have cleared the side developed to ground to play rugby only after spending nearly 6 million rupees. To have a good cricket playing area, we need to have an underground drainage system, as the water table is very high and the level of the ground is below the road level as in most grounds in this area.
Tennis at Thurstan commenced during the period of late Mr M.D Gunawardeena in 1963 with able backing from Mr. Joe Frenando who was the vice principal. Both these gentlemen were tennis players of repute during their youth. Due to their enthusiasm they were able to tap influential parents and one such was late Mr. Erick Rajapakse who was then the president of the SLTA. Mr. Erick Rajapaksa’s 2 children Rohan and Tito to date remain as two of the finest tennis players produced by Thurstan. The first tennis court to Thurstan college was donate by Mr. L.G Seebert, father of distinguished old boy Mr. Bathiya Seebert.
Information Technology Centre
Opened : 21st September 2000
Donated by Thurstan College Old Boy Mr. Gratian Gunewardena.
Total Cost: 15 Million
Total Length: 25m
Highest Depth: 4m
Lowest Depth: 1.2m
Diving Boards: 3m And 5m
The College Auditorium with a seating capacity exceeding 150 is equipped with the latest multimedia facilities needed for meetings, presentations, work shops, etc.
Compared to other schools the library of the Thurstan college is maintained at a high standard. It is mainly divided in to three sections. Namely they are, the Senior Section, Junior Section, and Reference Section. In addition to these facilities students are able to read news papers (daily) and magazines .There are also maps available on global affaires.
The library can accommodate nearly hundred student at a time. The membership of the library consist of all students of the school, Academic and non academic staff. There are about twelve thousand books in the library, consisting of short stories, novels, stories for children, translations, scientific stories, general knowledge, philosophy, languages, literature, autobiographies, bioscience, physics, chemistry, mathematics, economics, business studies, accounting and computer technology.
Books on Sinhala and English are available on above mentioned fields. In the reference section more valuable books like Encyclopedias, Periodicals and Journals are available. The books are classified according to due system.. The reference section consists of about 4000 publications, junior section consists about 5000 and the lending section is equipped with about 3500 publications. A member can borrow only one book at a time. The daily circulation of the library averages to about 150 books from the Junior section and 50 books from the senior section.
College Main Hall
The College Main Hall can accommodate an audience of more than 500. The fiberglass chairs were donated by Hon. Mahinda Rajapakse distinguished Old Boy and now Opposition Leader of Sri Lanka. With all the modern facilities like sound systems and lighting systems it is one of the best equipped College Halls in the Island.
To gain a practical knowledge in the theoretical aspects of chemistry learnt in the class room, a fully equipped chemistry laboratory is available to student under the able guidance of a Science Graduate teacher Mr. A. H. T. Wimalathilake. Facilities are available for 40 students in this laboratory to carry out their practical work.
The College is divided into four houses as follows and denoted in alphabetical order of their names. They are name after Past Directors of Education.
|DENHAM||Deep Blue – Deep Yellow|
|MACRAE||Deep Blue – Light Blue|
|ROBISON||Deep Blue – Deep Red|
|SANDIMAN||Deep Red – Deep Yellow|
The Motto shows the philosophy of the school.
The meaning – “ Lead me from Darkness to Light”