Some are born great.. some achieve greatness.. and others have greatness thrust upon them

Mr. C. E. Simithraaratchy

Mr. C. E. Simithraaratchy (1941 – 1951)

The appointment in 1943 of Mr. Simithraaratchy as Principal, after he had been since 1941 first Acting and then Officiating Principal, broke fresh ground, for he was the first son of the soil to be appointed Principal. He was not, however, as is commonly believed, the first layman to hold this post. That distinction belongs to Rev. Fraser, who, though he was appointed Principal in 1904, did not take holy orders till 1916.

Mr. Simithraaratchy’s record at Trinity must surely be unique, even outside Ceylon. He first came here in 1904 as a boy of 12 and stayed till 1916. Mr. Simithraaratchy’s record at Trinity must surely be unique, even outside Ceylon. He first came here in 1904 as a boy of 12 and stayed till 1951 during which time he was successively Senior Prefect, Captain of Cricket, Ryde Gold Medalist, Member of Staff, House Master, Senior Boarding House Master, Vice Principal, and finally Principal. His degree he obtained while on the Staff, and his Post Graduate qualifications in Chemistry while on a year’s study leave in Britain in 1920.

Mr. Simithraaratchy’s period of office from 1941- 1951 was probably the most crucial in the recent history of the school for it was during this time that the school had to meet, first, the challenge of the war years, and, then, the repercussions of free education. That he steered the school triumphantly through these crises is the real measure of his great contribution to it. His was not the time for half-baked schemes for innovation nor for spectacular flourishes. He had his hand full, finding the money to pay his staff, and then building up the financial resources of the school, apart from keeping the Boarding House and the rest of the school going in the face of all the shortages of food and equipment that were the most important realities of those times. At the same time he had to fight a running battle to fend off military requisition: Trinity was one of the few big schools that was saved from that calamity, only the lower ground at Asgiriya having to be given up. Finally, he was faced with the decision, whether Trinity should become an independent school or not, a decision once taken bravely efficiently carried through. Yet amid all these difficulties and tensions he found the time and the spirit to put up a new Kindergarten block, deservedly called after him, and to continue further the process of teaching in the mother tongue in the Primary School while making preparation to continue this practice in the secondary grades as well.

If Mr. Simithraaratchy’s services to the school as Principal, in these matters, were so great, his services as Vice Principal, merit equal recognition. During Rev. Campbell’s period of office he was the power behind the scenes, for it was he who really ran the school so smoothly that Rev. Campbell was released for those periods of contemplation out of which came all the new ideas and developments that characterised that period. It was he, too, who made a success out of the teaching of the mother tongue throughout the school, giving it a greater importance than it had hitherto had.

After very nearly 50 years of continuous association with the school Mr. Simithraaratchy retired in 1952 when he had reached the age of 60 – but not to life of ease and idleness. He is, today, twenty years later, still in harness, almost as spritely as ever, driving his car around Colombo in the pursuit of his duties connected with the Deaf and Blind School.

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