The History of St.Anthony’s College, Kayts
The phenomenal progress of the residents of the islands is intimately linked with St.Antony’s College, Kayts. The College is located in a natural surrounding in the midst of the town flanked by two arms of the Jaffna lagoon on the western and northern sides. Fresh air blows over the college providing a soothing environment. The ancient harbour, numerous catholic churches, the convent and presbytery, the market, the bank and many government offices are all situated in close proximity to the College.
The name of Rev.Fr.Boisseau (OMI) is permanently etched in the memory of all Antonians, was a pious and dedicated priest .With far sightedness he founded the college and built it adjoining Kayts St.Antony’s Church in 1872. As a Parish Priest, with a dream of providing the children of his Parish the benefit of English education he established the College with the blessings of the extremely understanding and fully cooperative Episcopal Superior, the Vicar Apostolic of Jaffna, Rev.Fr.Christopher Bonjean (OMI).
This was in fact the very first Anglo-vernacular school established out side Jaffna peninsula by the catholic mission. The people of Kayts supporting this enthusiastic educationist magnanimously donated six acres of land for the school building and play ground.
Rev.Fr.Boisseau’s original idea, it would appear, was to entrust the administration of his School to the Brothers of the Society of St.Joseph (SSJ), an indigenous teaching order that had been founded in 1864. However the non availability of these brothers in sufficient number compelled him to place the school on the hands of a pious layman Mr.M.Swampillai one of the main promoter of the educational movement here.
After many vicissitudes, in 1896, the Parish Priest of the Islands Division, Fr.J.N.Sandrasegara, prevailed upon his Bishop, late Rt.Rev.Dr.Henry Joulain (OMI), to hand the school over to the Josephian fraternity. By the time the school was a small vernacular school but the Brothers soon brought it to footings of efficiency, and it was registered as an Anglo Vernacular school in 1907.The people of the area very much appreciated the rapid growth of the college under the guidance of the SSJ Brothers. The brothers earned a very high reputation among the people for their great service. Remarkably the brothers acquired a ten- acres plot of land adjoining the college premises where they built a commodious house and planted a number of coconut trees.
The memories of great principals such as Br. Pakyanathan, Br.Simon and Br.Cyril Ferdinand are still fresh in the minds of the past students who had the privilege of being taught by them. In 1907 the college was registered as the English school and the school building was extended in 1909.The total numbers of the students increased and number on roll in 1918 was 250.
Year 1921 witnessed the division of the school into an English and Tamil section. The extended school building housed the Tamil class .The Tamil school was headed by Br. Peter with Mr. Gnanapragasam and Mr. Rasaiah as his assistants. Br. Peter Paul was appointed headmaster of the English school and among the lay members of the staff were Messrs.Gnanapragasam, Rayappu and Arulanandam. The main building of the college with its beautiful portico facing St.Anthony’s Church and the historic Kayts harbour was completed during the administration of Br.Pakyanathar as the principal. Among the SSJ Brothers Br.Philip, Br.Linus, Br.Simon, Br.Pedrupillai, Br.Titus and Br.Alexis are also well remembered as the educationists who served at St.Anthony’s until 1938.
The late thirties brought a new era into the history of the college. That was the handing over management of the college to the Priest during the period of the then Bishop Rt.Rev.D.R.Guyomar. Rev.Fr.A.S.Joseph, the first Priest Principal of the new era had a magnetic personality He was one of the three young priests hand picked by Bishop Guyomar for university education in U.K. Fr.Joseph, born in Sillalai was a saintly a man of sterling qualities and stern disciplinarian. He was a man skilled in administration. He was able to serve only a few years .He died in 1948.
After his untimely death, Fr.William Jesuthasan took over and served as the Rector till 1950. Fr.Arulnesan continued his good work with equal vigour and dedication and served till 1952. It should be noted that Fr.Arulnesan, was responsible for the initiation of the science laboratory.He was transferred to St. Patricks College and then Fr.A.J.Karunaharar; his successor completed the building of the science lab. He also put up the Karunakarar block.
Fr. Karunaharar was succeeded by a very active and strict disciplinarian Fr.P.J.Jeevaratnam from Naranthanai who put up another new office block, known as Jeevam’s Hall. During his period he promoted science education by the recruiting Indian science graduates for the teaching of Physics, Chemistry, Botany and Zoology.
As a result the College was hailed as a leading institute for science education throughout Northern Province. Fr.Jeevaratnam was transferred to St. Patrick’s College in 1960.
In 1961, a drastic change in the administration of the private schools was brought in the country and private schools administrated by the various denominations except grade 1 and grade 11 schools were taken over by the state. His Lordship the Bishop of Jaffna opted to retain five schools including St.Anthony’s College, Kayts among the186 schools that were being administered by the catholic mission.
In the period of 1961 Rev.Fr.F.J.Stanislaus became the Rector of the school. He was a dynamic priest full of enthusiasm and he was able to create a new era of participation in almost all extra curricular activities of the school including athletics, physical education, soccer, and basketball were distinguished activities. The school teams won a number of awards in various competitions in local as well as district level. Fr.Stanislaus left the
school to take up the Rectorship of St.Henry’s College, Illavalai in 1964 and Rev.Fr. M.J. Mariampillai succeeded him. His stewardship was marked by religious activities, literary pursuit and social work.
In 1969 Rev.Fr.Alfred Benjamin accepted the stewardship of the college. He was a pious and mild mannered priest. He was destined to celebrate the centenary of the college in 1972. It was he who promoted the OBA, Kayts and the OBA, Colombo branch. He also established the Emilianuspillai Technical Institute to promote technical education for the students of the area.
During this period, the sudden death of His Lordship Bishop Emilianuspillai, the proprietor of the school, occurred .It was a severe blow since this posed new problems in maintaining the school as private. In 1973 Rev.Fr.F.J.Stanislaus returning from his higher education in U.K.once again became the Rector of the school. His stay however was very short.
Rev.Fr.B.Soosaipillai was appointed Rector after him. The Advanced Level Classes in Arts, Commerce and Science were introduced in 1974. Fr.Soosaipillai left the school in 1976. Fr.B.Soosaipillai took great efforts to equip the laboratory and Mr.Rajabalan a science graduate fresh from University joined the staff in the same year and modernized the science lab together with the help of another fresh graduate, Late Mr. Edward. In the same year as a result of the appeal it his Lordship by the parents, girls were also admitted to the Advanced Level classes of the college. Ladies were also appointed to the teaching staff for the first time.Fr.Soosaipillai left the school in 1976.
The period beginning in 1976, in many ways was a remarkable one. After many decades of being run by priests, the administration of the school was given to a lay man, Mr.S.A.E.Ratnarajah. He served the principal of the school for the next 19 years with great dedication
On the 1st of February 1978, the college was handed over to the state and became a director-managed school. On the occasion of the handing over of the college ,the then bishop Rt.Rev.Dr.B.Deogupillai in a letter he wrote to the government insisted that St.Anthony’s College, should always be maintained with all facilities as in the past and it should be primarily for the catholic children of the areas. He also stressed to the Ministry of Education that the principal of the school should always be a Roman Catholic and a good number of catholic teachers in the staff should always be maintained. He also emphasized that the school premises should be used for the purpose for which they were intended. Otherwise they were to revert to the present proprietor.
In 1979, in a remarkable event, St.Anthony’s College was upgraded as a 1AB school .With that status in the Kayts A.G.A division, it was declared as a popular school of the Islands. With the introduction of the cluster system, the Kayts cluster was founded in 1986. St.Anthony’s College was as the core school of the cluster and the neighbouring ten schools joined it.
In June 1990, as the civil war started in the North and East of the country, the people in Kayts vacated their residences and the school was closed. On the 6th of August when the Airforce bombers bombed Kayts town, a bomb fell on the college administrative block and it was completely destroyed. As most of the displaced people were temporarily living at Suruvil, St.Anthony’s College was reopened there in a private house with a good numbers of students and teachers in November. While the school was functioning here students from other cluster schools were also admitted. On the 26th of April 1991 when the army operation started towards Saravanai the people were once again displaced, this time to Jaffna.
In Jaffna, St.Anthony’s College started functioning at Jaffna Central College as an afternoon school together with students from other cluster schools. In January 1992, with the good will of St.John’s College management St.Anthony’s College moved into St. Johns Academy at Chundikuli, Jaffna. All cluster schools students had full day classes. There the students continued their education successfully and achieved remarkable success in many fields.
In May 1995 on the retirement of Mr.S.A.E.Ratnarajah, Mr.K.Ratnasingam was appointed as principal. In November 1995, when the Srilankan forces occupied Jaffna, the college had to face yet another displacement and it continued to function as a displaced school at Ushan Ramanathan M.V. for a very short period.
In May 1996, people were permitted to get back to Island but since the college buildings had been so severely damaged it was not possible to conduct classes. Therefore the College was reopened at the primary section of the Little Flower Girls M.V at Karampon. In March 3rd 1997, with temporary repairs made to the badly damaged college buildings, St.Anthony’s College put its foot back on its soil to celebrate its 125th year celebration with colour and pageantry. This date is remarkable in another way. The college, which was managed by the clergy for more than a century, got a priest in its teaching staff.
The college buildings which were badly damaged were rebuilt to its former architectural beauty with the assistance of the G.T.Z. which selected St.Anthony’s College, Kayts as one of the eight schools selected for the rehabilitation in the first phase.
Few people know that this was due to a chance encounter between a member of the team and Bishop Rt.Rev.Dr.Thomas Savundranayagam was the reason for St.Anthony’s being selected for rehabilitation. Incidentally the name of the member was Bishop. What a pleasant coincidence!
The Antonian family will always grateful to the foreign aid given by the German government through the G.T.Z organization for the rehabilitation of their Alma Mater.
During 1997-1999 the principal Mr.Ratnasingham took great efforts to bring back the school to its former glory. The newly renovated school was reopened on Feb.10, 1999 by Mr.P.Wigneswaran, the Director of Education.
On Apr.26TH.2000, Principal Mr.K.Ratnasingam was promoted as the Assistant Director of Education to the Kayts Divisional Education Office .Consequently Fr.J.A.Jesuthas who had joined the staff in 1997 and serving as the Deputy Principal, took over the college as the Rector. It should be recorded that after the period of 25 years of lay man leadership the college was once again headed by a priest to lead the Antonian family to gain its lost fame and glory in the 3rd Millennium.
After serving the college with great dedication for nearly a decade, Fr.Jesuthas proceeded to St.Henry’s College, Ilavalai on mutual transfer and Fr.James Singarayer took over as the Rector of St.Anthonys and the school is continued to be acknowledged as one of the leading educational institutions in the North.
Compiled By : J.F.Jegarajasingham (2002)
Revised by: S.R.Rajabalan (2012)
Memories of an octogenarian
I was just four when I heard the name of that great educational institution. It was then known as St.Anthony’s Anglo Varnacular School. But the villagers all around the school called it “Brother’s School” because it was under the management of the Brothers of St. Joseph (S.S.J.), a Holy order of celibates operative in Sri Lanka, India and Burma (Myanmar).
It was in 1943 that I entered the great hall of St. Anthony’s College to witness the Annual Prize- giving Day. H. S. Perera, the Director of Education, the highest ranking officer in the Education Department at that time was the Chief Guest. For such a small school it was impossible to imagine having such an officer for a school function. Meanwhile, the Rector, Rev. Fr. A. S. Joseph had got educated in London. Coincidentally H. S. Perera too had spent five years in U.K. and had just returned to Colombo, to become the first Sri Lankan to be Director, a post reserved for Britishers only until then. So this unimaginable thing occurred due to the acquaintance of the Rector and Mr. Perera.
I sought admission to the college in January 1944. I presented my school pupil’s record sheet, at the college office proving that I had already attended bilingual schools in Jaffna and Karampon and covered the J.S.C. English examination syllabus. Father Rector Rev. Joseph took pity on me and asked the J.S.C (Grade Eight) class teacher Mr.Paul Pillai to test standard of my English knowledge. He asked me to write a short essay and marked “Fair”. Our Rector said, “Sabaratnam we will put you in J.S.C. class this term. If you don’t do well in the first term test, you may have to repeat standard eight or even be demoted to Grade seven.” I was the second in rank at the term test while my class mate R.Krishnapillai of Karampon was the first.
Mr.Paul Pillai, our class teacher taught English literature with a gusto, enunciating every word in the highest pitch. “Poetry for pleasure” was the text book along with “New Tales from Shakesphere” as prose.
Mr. Pius of Pathavathai, Ilavalai, was our Math’s teacher. He told us that he was under- aged to set for London Matriculation. So we guessed that he was not an experienced Math’s teacher. On the first day he taught us Pythagoras Theorem and gradually covered the entire book “A School Geometry” by Hall & Stephen. We were able to grasp just a little. With great determination I managed to pass the Mathematics Exam. However, Physics was the bugbear. Heat, Lights and Sound authored by Nightingale were the three text books prescribed for Physics in London exams. Somehow or other we managed to pass the hurdle.
Mr. Herman Joseph, an Inter – arts man from the Ceylon University College, Colombo was our History teacher. He taught us “Early History of Ceylon” by G.C.Mendis. He was young and enthusiastic and was very popular among adolescent pupils.
Meanwhile, I was sad that I had no opportunity to learn Latin under Fr.Joseph since they started Latin in standard seven. Those days Standard Eight – Junior School Certificate (J.S.C.) was the Government (public) examination. So no one who joined the college after Standard Seven was allowed to offer Latin. As Latin was very important for learning English, we believed that we were unfortunate. But our English teachers taught us to find out the Latin or Greek roots of English words from the Oxford dictionary. I had to sell my golden ring to buy the Pocket Oxford Dictionary. I thought the possession of the dictionary was more valuable than a gold ring adorning my finger.
I obtained a first division in J.S.C. It was the last examination ever to be held by Government. Afterwards S.S.C. (Senior School Certificate) became the standard certificate exam to qualify to any one vying Government job. S.S.C. Examination was really tough for us. Krishnapillai and I had to sit with the second year students. They were already in S.S.C. Prep the previous year. Since we two had already got first divisions in J.S.C we were asked to skip the Prep S.S.C. and follow the S.S.C. final. We were looked up on with jealousy by those seniors.
Fr.Joseph taught us History .During his mesmerizing lectures; he would carry us to the Cathedrals of Rome and the Palace of Versailles in France, describing them as if we were there with him in imagination. We were dazed and sat spell bound during his lectures. While using the text book Ceylon and World History by David and Dora Hussey he did not approve of an expression used by Hussey. “If you eat mangoes often, you will begin to dislike it”. Whenever he refers to this, our Rector would immediately retort “I beg to disagree with Mr.Hussey. He has not tasted Jaffna mangoes, I afraid”. Every year this context will be remembered and senior students would talk us to observe father’s joke at this point. Well, each teacher has certain mannerism and their favorite jokes.
Father was well up in his elements, when he taught us German Reformation. Mentioning Martin Luther’s nailing 95 reasons against the sale of Indulgences on the door the Castle church of Wittenberg Germany he would say” that unholy monk “emphasizing the letter “O” as in Ox. But his classes on Counter- Reformation, and the part played by St. Ignatius Loyola were excellent. He would emphasize the part played by St.Loyala Society of Jesus with feeling for the church.
Later on when I heard that Swami Vivekananda modeled his Ramakrishna Order of monks on the pattern of Society of Jesus (S.J.), I began to specialize in this aspect of history. In my text book writing in the sixties, I did justice to Loyola and his society. After many decades my friend, S.M.E.Joseph, who was in the same class, and followed Father Joseph’s lectures, while reviewing my book would tease me “you seem to be a better Catholic than I am”. I said,” I am full of conviction on the subject – I think St.Loyala deserves to be a world example for religious revivalist “.
Later, in 1947, December, before I left College Father Rector told me, “ Sabaratnam, my former colleague in London University Fr. De Souza S.J. is now the Rector of Loyala College, Madras. I shall give you a letter of introduction to him. If you happen to decide to go for higher education, use that letter and gain admission to that prestigious College”. Unfortunately I was not wealthy enough to proceed to University. But Father Rector was prophetic. Many years later I was able to earn a University degree and was also able to write a number of text books. Later on, I was conferred a postgraduate degree by University of Jaffna and asked to teach in the M.A. classes. It was the crowning glory of my many years of hard work.
When the year was ending, Father called every student individually to discuss the performance in the withdrawal test. Krishnapillai and myself were called together and the Rector told us said “Your performance is average in all subjects. But mind you, your foundation is not strong. You have covered two – year syllabus in one year. If you pass this time, you may not shine in life”. He was right. As prophesized by Fr.Rector I failed the S.S.C. Exam with all others except Krishnapillai .He was the only one who passed the S.S.C. that year and proceeded to St.Patrick’s College.
I must mention that during the last week of November prior to the S.S.C Exam Annual prize giving was organized. Fr. (Nallur) Gnanaprakasar was the chief guest. He had already published his comparative Dravidian dictionary. Certainly he was the doyen among the scholars of the church at that time. We senior students were asked to come dressed in trousers and shoes. I borrowed both of these from my brother-in-law but I walked to school through lanes and Palmyra groves, avoiding the main road. During our student days whenever we held meetings we used to shout, like Indian patriots, against foreign clothes. As such we felt very uncomfortable wearing trousers in public.
Before the end of the year 1945, British elections were held. Winston Churchill was routed along with the Conservative party. We had no love for the lost war hero, as he was always against the independence of colonies. However we knew that our Rector was on the side of the British. When the news was known of Churchill’s defeat during lunch break we wrote on the black board “Hearty Condolences, Churchill”. The first Period after lunch was History. Father entered our class and read the big condolence message glaring on the black board. For a moment his face faded, but he recovered within a minute and said” Wrong English. Hearty congratulations, but heart felt condolences”. Then he continued his lessons. He was such a cultured gentleman .
I must relate my second sojourn at College. In January 1947 my father died and I was advised to rejoin college. Father Rector had heard about it. He said, “ Go to class and work hard. I told him my difficulty with Math’s and Physics. He was kind enough to allow me change of subjects. and I chose to offer (1) Hygiene and Physiology and (2) Civics. I was in need of one more subject. Father called me aside and told me “I give you permission to offer Hinduism. It is against the college rules. But you prepare it at home and include the subject in the application form”. I was happy. In the mean time, another new rule permitted students who are weak in Math’s to offer Arithmetic. I was quite lucky. In Dec.1947 public examination, I got first division and distinction in 2 subjects.
Later Fr. J.A. Karunakarar joined in our college after he returned from Rome. He was asked to teach us additional English. He was a great lover of the Arts. One day he brought the editorial of the “Daily News “on “Bloomsbury”. But to us poor folks Bloomsbury was beyond our grasp. Fr. Karunakaran read the Editorial and giving us a few hints and asked us to write a precis on it. Now one did justice .I wrote the précis and got a “C” from him. Others were asked to rewrite but none tried. He reported the matter to the Rector and soon after Father Rector gave us a thorough shelling. “Fr. Karunakarar is trying his best to coach you up, because précis writing is a compulsory section in your English language paper. You don’t seem to realize its importance.” We all went to Fr. Karunakarar and apologized for our poor performance and requested him to continue to take our class.
Twenty five years later, one day Fr.Karunakarar told me, “you know Saba, though I scolded everybody, I had noted that you were my best student in précis writing.” Many years later I had the great opportunity of working with him when he became Rector, after Fr. Nicholaspillai.
As soon as my pass in S.S.C. Exam was known through the “Daily News”, I was invited to join as a teacher at my old school Naranthanai Ganesha Vidyasalai. After serving there two terms I was selected to join in Colombo English training College.
Then I joined St.Anthony’s College in 1952 and served as a teacher for the next 33 years and taught two generations. During the 33 long years I had the opportunity of serving under five full time Rectors. I have also worked with my teachers, colleagues and new comers. Ours was a joint family, the elders advising the younger teachers.
“Out of Dust He made us into Men”. I use this statement to my Alma Mater and especially to Rev.Fr.A.S.Joseph. Out of clay, he made us into men, men with a human heart and divine aspirations. His name well be in our hearts till it ceases clicking.
“The old older changes leading place to new”. Still when I meet my old students, I recall their class – mates, refer to their specialties and pranks and relive our past lives. We sing with the poet:
“The Best school of All
Working days or holidays
Glad or melancholy days
They were great days and jolly days
At the best school of All
Or end up with the chorus of Sir Henry Newbolt
Play up! Play up! And play the game”
These lads from Kayts want to let their rugby fly
(Sunday Times March25, 2012 — By Nausha Amit)
They came, they sure are determined to conquer the world of school rugby in Sri Lanka within a matter of months or years .The young set of rugby players from St.Anthony’s College Kayts last week took to the road from the tip of Sri Lanka to the deep south to take part in their first major tournament at the schools division ii Rugby 7s held at Rathgama during last week end.
Two features make the story of St.Anthony’s College Kayts ruggerites very interesting which are: they are the first school in history from to take up rugby and it’s just been one and a half months since they first held the oval ball. Overall rugby was a total stranger for these enthusiastic set of rugby players who had the heart to take up the odd challenge and they are determined to move forward.
The contingement of young ruggerites left Kayts Thursday (March.15) and reached Avissawela at dawn hours the following day. An ardent rugby promoter, K.S.P.Karunaratne gave them a warm welcome as the boys and officials refreshed at his residence before attending a reception arranged by the officials and students of Talduwa School, Avissawela.
They were here for a half –a-day training camp and when I related their arrival to Mr.H.M.Piyadasa, the principal of Talduwa School,Avissawela he was keen to host the St.Anthony’s rugby team for breakfast, but I never expected this welcome to be so rousing as the boys from the north were given such a very warm welcome.” It is a healthy start for those youngsters who look forward to a successful future”, said Karunaratne during the training programme held at the Kelani Valley Rugby ground.
The Kayts Antonians were drafted in Group “E” in their inaugural competition along with Talduwa Buddhist school, Rahula college Katugastota and Mahinda College, Galle- three highly experienced teams from the south but to the surprise of many, the first timers managed to reach the quarter final stage before making their exit from the tournament losing to Eheliyagoda central on the final day. On the first day the Kayts Antonians were highly commended for their performances in the group stages where they beat Mahinda College Galle 17-5 and drew against Talduwa Central by 5-all.They only lost to Rahula college Katugastota but for a starter their achievement was overwhelming.
Father James Singarayer, the Rector of St.Anthony’s, Kayts was seen keenly involved with the boys who only knew how to plant a try, the stylish way. These boys having the physical temperament to take the full contact had the courage to come forward and adopt a totally strange game. Fr. Singarayer explained on the background of these players who had been involved in many sports even during the heights of the war in the North.
“Through sports we can build up mutual understanding. It is a very good opportunity for us and our boys to come to the south and make new friendship while gaining experience in rugby. Even during the war we travelled south in ships and boats to take part in competitions. St.Anthony’s Kayts emerged National champions in Physical Education in 2008 and in 2009 we were runner up. We also reached the finals in 2005.These boys are used to these tough conditions though we are just one and a half months old for the game. Many of these boys represent the national team in physical education and they are capable of doing all exercises performed at rugby.”
“We are the first school to take up rugby. Earlier there were individuals who took part in tournaments representing other teams but as a school unit, we are the first. We have only 500 students in the school but interestingly we had less trouble in attracting them to rugby and they were keen as ever. These boys come from poor families. Some of them even rush back home after school and help out their parents in farming before returning for practices. Some of these by’s parents do odd jobs for survival. They are not rich in assets or wealth but are rich in talents” asserted Fr.Singarayer.
St. Anthony’s college which was established by Fr.Boisseau 140 years ago was one of the schools that were selected by Sri Lanka Rugby Union (SLRFU) as one of the schools of their rugby coaching camp. The coaching camp was conducted by former national coach Ellis Meachen, Ananda Kasthuriarachi and Viper Gunaratne Jr and K.Kularatnam better known as Rajan in the rugby field. Kularatnam was attached to the SLRFU as an administrative officer through rugby though rugby was not the leading light. However having known all almost all the rugby coaches ,the SLRFU decided to appoint Kularatnam as a development officer and coordinator. He has been involved with the St.Anthony’s Kayts rugby team during the past six weeks as their rugby coordinator.
‘All schools that took part in the coaching camp in Jaffna were presented with a rugby ball but sad to say St.Anthony’s Kayts was the only school that fielded a full team and continued the sport up to now while the other schools sent only a few players or none to represent their institutions.There are over 20 leading schools in Jaffna but it seems many of them didn’t show much interest in taking up this sport. As such we have to commend the effort of St.Anthony’s .They requested my assistance and we train them every Mondays and Thursdays at the Duraiappa Stadium with the help of security officials. In addition Mr.Karunaratne was a key figure in helping our rugby team. Though I am not that experienced on rugby yet I was able to provide these boys physical fitness with the help of Sri Lanka army personnel. Though these boys lacked adequate exposure and training after watching their performances in the training camp here in Avissawela, I think they can go far” Kularatnam said.
St.Anthony’s Kayts has been a school that has been a regular participant at national events. One of their runners even won the 400m relay bronze medal at the Nastional Schools Athletic Championships. In addition to their travels to the south for other sporting events they also compete at volleyball, football, softball cricket, badminton, table tennis, basketball and now rugby. The school interestingly has only 500 students to engage in all these sports but for rugby the turnout has been commendable.
“There are about 20 boys from all the age groups. The boys are young and they can certainly develop to a level to challenge leading teams from the south. We hope these boys will be given the much needed support fro the schools association and SLRFU by providing coaching personnel and playing gears. In addition we need to have an allocated period for rugby in Jaffna. At the moment all the schools engage in all sports disciplines without proper selection process. As a result the quality does not prevail in sports among Jaffna schools. We have understood the need of focusing on development if we are to reach a standard and that’s what we are trying with St.Antony’s Kayts rugby” pointed out Kularatnam.