It has been over a decade since I graduated from Wycherley International School, and yet those memories of my beloved Alma Mater are as Technicolour bright and vivid as events that occurred a day ago. Time has not diminished any of the valuable lessons learned or the treasure chest of memories gathered. Why, it seems like only yesterday I was running around on the day of Wycherley's inception, playing with new found friends, some of whom have remained my friends to this day.
When my years as little "Wych" first began, school was the source of many new and exciting adventures; a kind of Hogwarts, if you will. Of course, schools are primarily educational institutes, but Wycherley was always so much more. Lessons didn't end in a classroom and teachers didn't seem to forget students when the class bell rang. Their conservative, culturally imbued approach to teaching and their warm, nurturing spirits have left life - long impressions.
I was always aware of how my conduct would reflect on my school, my teachers and my peers. Today's young students might not put much stock in this.
But when they look back on their Graduation Day and in the years ahead, they will realize just how important those instilled values and principles were.
My school years were during a turbulent time on our country's history. And despite the talk of ethnic conflict and various threats of violence around us, Wycherley always felt like home. Students from every local ethnic group mixed freely with foreign nationals. Our differences enriched each other's lives; never hindered them. When I reflect on it now, I realize what a perfect example we set for society, within those school walls.
As my Junior School years gave way to preparations for Ordinary and Advanced Level exams, we had to move to the Senior School building on Queens Road, leaving behind the Bauddhaloka Mawatha Campus that we had grown so fond of.
The pace changed and the workload got heavier, but we adapted. We had to be more mature and responsible but the foundation had already been laid years in advance, so we took it in our stride. Discipline was paramount and we saw our share of justice being handed out. But it was not without reason.
Those punishments serve as life’s lessons and every one of them was carried out fairly and was intended to mould us as individuals, not crush our spirit.
In a day and age where everything appears to fly by at the speed of light, we do not really get a chance to savour some of life's experiences.
Wycherley will always remind me of a time when life was simpler and more laid back. When the staging of a school play was the most anticipated event of the year, or when the chance to ring the school bell, to signal the end of the mid- morning interval, was something to be excited about.
It seems trivial, I'm sure. But to me, that was a time of child- like wonder, where simple, innocent things made me happy.
It is for this reason that I also find it comforting to know that despite the passage of time, Wycherley for the most part, has remained unchanged, both in spirit and appearance.
There might be a few more classrooms, some new corridors, fresh coats of paint and more technology as it beautifully keeps up with its peers.
But its glorious colonial architecture, complete with those spiral staircases, wooden floors and split level rooms still remain. It might be a far cry from today's modern, Feng Shui'd structures, but Wycherley, with its old world appearance had and still has a charm all its own. I can only hope and pray that future "Wyzards" and "Wyches" will see it as more than just a school, and cherish their memories of a place I will always hold close to my heart.
Pascha Emmanuel -
Diploma in Journalism (Sri Lanka Foundation Institute)
B.Sc in Business Management (Imperial Institute University of Wales)
CIMA- Managerial Level