As past pupils of Visakha Vidyalaya, celebrating in honour of its vivid history of hundred years, one cannot help but feel an immense sense of pride and delight in being part of her glorious journey.
Visakha Vidyalaya was founded on the 16th of January, 1917 by the late Mrs. Selestina Jeremias Dias at a time such an institution of learning for Buddhist girls in Sri Lanka was rare.
It is a grateful act to honour the memories of two great role models to all women – Mrs. Jeremias Dias, our founder of Visakha, and Visakha Situ Devi, the Buddha's great benefactress, who lends her name to our school. Both women were renowned for their wisdom, benevolence, morality and charisma.
Visakha has risen to the position of the most elite girls’ school in Sri Lanka, and the only girls' school to be identified among the first National Schools in the Island. The school has about 4,500 students enrolled today, with an academic staff numbering 215. Today, Visakha stands unchallenged with the top of all the schools in the Island for academic excellence and the prestige she enjoys is indeed a fitting tribute to her founder and the conscientious and dedicated work of a long line of Principals, Managers, Staff and Old Girls.
On the 25th of March, 2017, past pupils of Visakha Vidyalaya in Brisbane Australia, celebrated this momentous occasion by offering alms to the Maha Sanga at Sri Lanka Buddhist Monastery. The merit of all proceedings were conveyed to the founder, past and present donors, principals, teachers, staff members and students by the Chief Sanganayaka of Australia and the Chief Incumbent of Sri Lanka Buddhist Monastery, Most Ven. Wattegama Dhammawasa Nayaka Maha Thero.
The Venerable Sir, highlighted the history of Buddhist, Sinhala Medium Schools in Sri Lanka and explained, Sir Henry Steel Alcott and Anagarika Dhamapala as the two towering personalities in the history of Buddhist schools in Sri Lanka.
A past pupil of Visakha Vidyalaya, Ven. Nadimale Sudhamma, out lined the colourful history of Visakha, sharing some fond memories of her school. She conveyed, the great founder of her school, Mrs. Selestina, Jeremias Dias would always be gratefully remembered by all at Visakha Vidyalaya as the ever shining Beacon Star of her school's history, for her selfless service and selfless generosity. She conferred merit and blessings to her Visakha batch mates, (past Visakiyans), live in Sri Lanka, who generously supported financially in many ways, to the development of the Sri Subodha Retreat Centre in Ambuluwawa and Sangamitta Aramaya in Peradeniya.
Ven. Sudhamma conferred merit of all proceedings to the past and present donors, the current principal, Mrs Sandamalee Aviruppala, and to all staff members, office bearers, students and past students.
These two ladies, Visakha Situ Devi and Mrs.Jeremias Dias made a great impact on the Sri Lankan society through their acts of compassion, wisdom, Morality and selfless generosity. We should strive to uphold these true Buddhist values in our daily living. Then only we can be called true Buddhist women who our visionary founder and Visakha Situ Devi inspired us to be and who can truly live up to our school’s motto -
‘Pannaya Parisujjhati’ - ‘by wisdom is one cleansed’
The function was well organised, well attended and provided a great opportunity for everyone to meet and get to know students from the past few decades.
The organisers, Dharshani Gunasekara, Nilanthi Udayaratna, Prithi Jayasuriya and Anuli Gunawardana wish to thank all those who contributed and supported in numerous ways and to all who participated to make this function a success.
Much gratitude is paid to the Most Venerable Maha Sanga for facilitating this event successfully.