The first rays of sunlight dawning on Reid Avenue saw the 5000 chairs arranged before the J R Jayawardena Pavilion, all ready to receive the guests for that much awaited event. The cadets all dressed in their uniforms and holding their arms with much majesty awaiting to perform yet another guard of honour, the primary school kids lined up, waving the flag of blue and gold making a pathway for the guests to arrive, the entire upper school hurrying down to the chairs kept for them on the grounds and all of this under the colourful atmosphere of morning was indeed a magnificent sight.
Soon the entire school witnessed the arrival of the Chief Guest for the occasion, the Hon Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe greeted with the College Eastern and Western bands performing in pride. The massive entourage of Cabinet Ministers, State and Deputy Ministers, Parliamentarians, Secretaries to ministries and heads of state institutions, Chief of defense staff and Commander of the Air Force who were all products of Royal College was indeed a proud sight for everyone present.
Soon the guests were accompanied to the pavilion, thereafter beginning the morning’s proceedings with the College Anthem: the five thousand kids in the grounds raising their lusty throats for a cheer amidst the music played by the Cadet Band. In keeping with the traditions of the multi-cultural society at College, the religious quotes of all religions were recited by students.
The official beginning was marked with the Principal making his speech, expressing his pride to address a gathering of this caliber. As an inspirational address, this included some valuable insight about the challenges faced by the old boys present and how unabated perseverance would always pave ones way to success.
Next in line was the speech by the Secretary of the Royal College Union. Yet again he shared some valuable portions of the vast experience he had gathered over the years which was indeed of great use.
The time for the most awaited piece of the agenda had then dawned. After a vivid description by a school Student, the Prime Minister made his way to address the gathering. Having returned to the “School of our Fathers” we revealed some motivating and passionate fact about his life. Especially his emphasis on the value of patience, along with the anecdotes to the great Vijayabahu and President Jayawardena were not just informative but also amusing. In addition his elaborate detailing of the rich traditions of college, along with the tale of his grandfather’s encounter with the former Principal Hartley was equally fascinating and inspiring. Also his statements related to good governance, especially his quote from the Blessed One regarding advice given to the Vajjian clan on meeting, discussing and dispersing in peace and unity were not limited to governance but perfectly applicable to the lives of every student. Finally his promise to create a better future and to repay all debts he owed College ended the address in a high note extending immense motivation whilst awakening that Royal Spirit within all.
The ceremony ended with the Head Prefect presenting his vote of thanks. The words of Abraham Lincoln he shared and his analysis on the importance of the multi-cultural community at College that has paved the path for all Royalists to blend into any form of society must indeed be noted.
Thereafter the guests were entertained at the College Main Hall, presenting to them some achievements and developments College has made over the last few years. It is noteworthy to mention Minster Premadasa’s tour around school afterwards where he mingled with all the students even going on to play a game of cricket with his fellow brothers at College.
All in all it was a successful day and memorable occasion written indelibly of the pages of College history.