Make History and Tradition a Living Reality

Kingswood’s library has been relocated since my time, which (for the record) was a decade back. What has since come to be known as the “Old Library” — which had initially been the college chapel at yore — has seen much transition since. Soon after the library was moved to the spacious and well planned out new setting in (what is technically) the “Language Laboratory” building, the vacant space was used as a museum in memory of the late Arthur McGill. Later on, the museum too was removed to another space and now the “Old Library”, in its refurbished state, gives room to an AL Arts class.

The new library, which is in the spacious upper storey of the double-decked “Language Lab” building (with a music and dancing class in the ground floor) has the comely atmosphere a library demands. The librarian of my day, the stern Mrs. Samarajiwa is the only missing ingredient in a homely setting which facilitates classes from Grades 6-13, books on a variety of subjects, tranquil silence (in spite of the occasional low murmur characteristic of school libraries) and well spaced out seating facilities.

The corridor of the ground floor of the Library Building
The corridor of the ground floor of the Library Building

The library has an upper elevation which holds the “Reference Section”: a rich deposit of archives, which documents Kingswood’s history, her publications and other related articles that date back to the very origins of the school. Among these documents we have all collected editions of Our Boys magazines, the few existing anthologies of the Prologues, first editions of Blaze’s biographical KFE: The Story of Kingswood, Kandy, magazines and other souvenirs dating back to the earliest years. The same floor can be used as a conference space and one hopes it will be improvised on for such purposes.

One feels that it is a timely venture to compile a historical publication of the school for the general consumption of students — specially the younger students who grow up, but superficially internalizing some of the “traditions” and “knowledge bits” about a school which was set up with a radical purpose; and which was carried forth through immense difficulty. In fact, I have met several persons — including the current Principal Mr. Chandrasekara — who has hinted at the aptness of such a project. But, this time consuming and energy sapping exercise needs a good team of capable and dedicated fellows; and sufficient funding to get it underway.

It would also be a crucial move to complement a study of Kingswood’s history to the classroom reading — and by such a study I do not mean the introduction of a who-is-who and what-is-what of the school, but a reading which enhances an understanding of Kingswood in practice. This study can be enacted in either / both the History and Literature classrooms, giving an education of the values and spirit Kingswood promotes; and of what has been carried through her history.

In short, that rich deposit of what is called the “Kingswood Collection” in the Library has to be transmitted into the hands of the students in a meaningful and beneficial way. A collection that collects dust will not serve any purpose and a history that is shut up serves no moral function either. The literature of Kingswood is by no means irrelevant, for it is the thread that binds the past, present and future into one seam. Its richness has to be shared with the current studentship, in order to preserve the Fide et Virtute for the years to come.


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