Disciplinarian & English Specialist : Mrs. Ariyaratne

Mrs. Ariyaratne’s English was very special to All Sri Paleeians. Let me highlight my humble personal recollections. One day she came to our English poetry class, and I was chatting away with my friends in the third row. She pointed a finger towards me and said, “Nandasiri - Get up and recite poem Ozmandias”. I got up and started like a hero “I met a traveler from an antique land who said”, and with that there was an embarrassing memory block. She Said loudly Who said – What?” in a commanding voice – with a ridiculing smile, and yet I was silent – no words come up. Then she recited the second line in the poem and wanted me to repeat. From that point onwards I recited the poem very fast without a flaw – and she said “Very good” with a contended smile. Thereafter, I took a good count of my English lapses and took extra steps to improve my English – and so many connected Sri Palee episodes are in my memory bank.

Dear Mrs. Ariyaratne, when you were teaching English to us – May I recollect “White Company”. How you explained vividly “Latin Phrases” word by word so that the Story builds up in a flow of mental pictures, and in the process students can pick up the new English words thereby enriching the vocabulary day by day. How can we forget you. If there were many of you in Sri Lanka, I’m certain that we Sri Lankans would not have been in this lamentable terrible mess that all of us are in today – by the so called Zero approach to English.

You are in our memory in a strongest possible way, as your kith and kin are with us. We share the lingering memories of both of you (Mr. & Mrs. Ariyaratne) with your son and our good friend Rohana at times when we meet at Sri Palee Get-Togethers. We are very proud of Rohana for his achievements. He had kept a positive mark for both of you, and a mark for Sri Palee by attaining the position : Chief Administration Officer of Lake House. Wherever you are, we are proud and grateful that you taught us at Sri Palee.

May these lines serve as a debt of gratitude from all of us today to register a deep sense of appreciation and respect for all what you have done to us at Sri Palee.

Today we are happy that your impeccable English imparted took us to professions where English had really and readily assisted to reach our goals as Engineers, Doctors, Lawyers, Lecturers, Teachers and Professionals in leading Government and Non Government organizations in this country and outside Sri Lanka too. Besides all, both of you trained us to become useful citizens to our motherland and the Global village.

A specific incident comes to my mind that categorically helped me with your treasured English coaching. I was able to write out a Twenty Six page report “How Sri Lankan IET Engineers Inspire Society in technology understanding” which won the IET UK achievement award for Sri Lanka in 2008, competing among 37 countries and 127 Networks. I attribute this ability as a contribution of my teachers and the facilities that laid the foundation for my education at Sri Palee. This winning of the award for Sri Lanka, I have to share with Sri Palee, as another esteemed engineer and my lifelong friend Mr. W.A.D. Perera, past pupil of Sri Palee too was associated with me in this project.

I attribute this achievement award to Sri Palee, Mr, & Mrs. G.P. Ariyaratne and Mr. E.P.W. Helapitage.

A team of senior engineering professionals of the country and myself met President Mahinda Rajapaksa to present the award. He commented and congratulated us. A photograph released by the Presidential Secretariat is reproduced to explain the award winning story.


Last Updated on Friday, 25 December 2009 15:32