When I feel blessed about what I have achieved my mind automatically takes me to people and events that I am grateful about. Whilst having a deep sense of gratitude to my parents, family, friends and social contacts, one major aspect that made the difference to me is my Alma Mater St Anthony’s College Katugastota in the hill capital of Sri Lanka.
One can’t ask for a better place than St Anthony’s to shape up a young mind and body to become prepared to take on the world. I believe great products from college would have felt the same. Beneficiaries of our alma mater are old Antonians of the calibre of Sir William Gopallawa, the first President of Sri Lanka, Mr. T B Illangaratne, renowned politician and dramatist, Justice Asoka De Silva, World famous professionals such as Prof. Malik Peiries, Dr Patrick Nugawela, Dr C. R. Panabokke, Prof C Suriyakumaran, World class sportsmen such as Mr. Muthaiah Muralitharan, Entrepreneurs such as Mr. Sumal Perera & Dr Lawrence Perera, Musicians such as Mr. Rookantha Gunatilleke & Mr. Stanley Peiris, Military officers such as Colonel A C Lafir and hundreds of other Ministers, Officers of the armed forces and police, academics and business people.
As I look back with an attitude of gratitude to St Anthony’s, I get a deep urge within me to do what I can to help the college continue to do the good work it has done for me. This was further reinforced when I was honoured as one of the top 100 Old Antonians during the 150-year celebrations of the college. Therefore when the opportunity came for me to be a part of the Antonian Rugby Trust, I was delighted to take it; I continue to serve in the advisory committee. I also had the privilege of providing mental toughness training to the rugby team.
The motivations of different people are different. Some do it for the gratitude, some do it for the glory, some do it for social status and others do it to develop business networks. When the motives are different there is bound to be conflict. Such conflict can make those who do things with nobel motives disgruntled. When this happens some feel like walking away, minding there own business and not doing anything for the college and some others decide to persist. I always believe such obstacles helps us to further develop our goodness. Such opportunities help us to help others to become better people. Such opportunities strengthen our resolve to be more generous.
We all belong to various religions and philosophies and we learn the need to give back to the world, do good to others and do our part to make the world a better place. When we split due to differences we lose the opportunity to accumulate goodness credits. On the other hand when like minded people like us who have walked the nooks and corners of the college, who have sat in the same class rooms, who have listened to the same teachers and who have sung our college anthem proudly gets together we can do wonders. So lets get together re-energize ourselves with nostalgia and do what we can do to uplift the standards of our alma mater so that we can celebrate the successes from a far and accumulate stories of before, during and after our time to tell our children and grandchildren.
The Motto of our alma mater ‘Lux De Coelo’ means light from heaven and was taken from a prayer sent from the Vatican when college was inaugurated. I consider this true when it comes to my life. So let the light from heaven that has brightened our being continue to shine in us, our families and the generations of Antonians to come. May god bless you all.