145th Founder’s Day College Assembly Speech By The OBU President Wilhelm VanDort

Good Morning Everyone,

 President/Bishop of the Methodist Church Rev. Asiri Perera,/ Principal Mr. Avanka Fernando, / Co- Vice Principals, / Members of the Tutorial Staff,/ Members of the Non- Academic Staff, / Members of the Old Boys Union, / and My Dear Boys of Wesley.

On this 145th Founder's Day as the President of the Old Boys Union, I greet you all, as we gather here this morning to give thanks to Almighty God and to our Founding Fathers of Wesley College - Rev. Samuel Wilkin and Rev. Daniel Henry Pereira for this great Heritage and Institution. Today, we have much to learn from our founders and their vision of what constituted a good life.

Founder’s Day is an important milestone each year, where we show our gratitude for the wisdom, courage, and commitment demonstrated by Rev. Samuel Wilkin, and our first Vice-Principal Rev. Daniel Henry Pereira who contributed to the establishment of the School. It is a day set aside to celebrate Our History and revisit and reconnect with the continuing journey of the College.

This is a special day when the entire school family Staff, Students and Old Boys of Wesley have a chance to reflect, not only the beginnings of the College and its founders, but also on the significant development since the College’s inception. In light of the increased tensions and disharmony around the globe, we continue to embrace the Tradition and Christian Values on which our College was founded upon and understand, how important and relevant they still are today – to both our school and to the world we live in.

Being successful is more of a journey, not a destination. The greatest journeys in our lives start off with small steps. As I address you this morning as the President of the Old Boys Union, I wish to pay humble homage to this great Institution, when I say that Wesley College has given me opportunities and made me what I am today and for that, I will be forever grateful.

I remember my first day at Wesley College. I would say the journey of my life which has long memories and friendships which were formed at Wesley, began in the Classrooms, the corridors, on this Very Stage where I performed Drama and Music, on the grounds at Campbell Park where I did sports - as a Cricketer, Ruggerite and Athlete, and as a College Prefect fulfilling my duty in upholding College traditions and values. I am proud to tell the whole world that I am an Old Boy of Wesley College Colombo, which allowed me not only to flourish as a student, but gave me a rounded education, nurtured great traditions, solid Christian values and special memories which will last a lifetime. This is my earnest wish for every Wesleyite standing here today, as we celebrate 145 years of the founding of this great College.

On this significant day, I would like to draw the attention of every member of the Tutorial and Academic Staff, The Members of the Non Academic Staff and dear Boys of Wesley towards an important fact…. Please bear in mind that none of you are here by accident. You are here because, in the plan and purpose of God, you are destined to be a part of this premiere Christian Institution, to accomplish a mission in the Society, Nation and World.

Dear Teachers, you have been thrust with a great responsibility of molding fragile young lives, to become assets to the society and the world. You are privileged to be in this hallowed institution, and therefore you need to absorb the traditions and values of Wesley, so that you can nurture these young lives effectively, with the legacy of the rich and noble values handed down by our founders.

Every single life you are molding has been entrusted to you by God and to Him you are accountable. To prepare students to fulfill their God-given purpose in this world by delivering quality teaching, leadership and service opportunities, through extracurricular activities.

The Role of a good teacher is to guide students with a strong sense of right and wrong, to make them aware of the spiritual blessings that come from doing what is right, and to enlighten them and warn them of the consequences of doing wrong. It is the responsibility of Teachers to build character, to inculcate tolerance and civic responsibility, to encourage lifelong learning. Your responsibility as a Teacher and Mentor is to educate every Student under your care, to reach his fullest potential so that he is ready to accomplish his mission in life - whatever it may be. To educate him academically, spiritually, and socially – and so, you should consider yourselves blessed to fulfill this task as a Teacher of Wesley College Colombo.

Dear Boys of Wesley, it is possible to achieve Success, however you have to decide for yourself whether you’re willing to work hard or not. College is where relationships strengthen and friends - became best friends. The playing field is where it doesn't matter what you looked like or what you wear. What really matters is that you have fun and you enjoy yourself. Times spent in College are the most exciting parts of life and you will always remember it, when you think of your days in School. As you go through your years at Wesley and think about your futures, I hope you learn to look beyond tomorrow, next week, and next year. I hope you ask yourself, what you can do to make the problems that plague our world a little bit better.

Today is a day of celebration and the occasion on which we can wish our Beloved Alma Mater a very happy 145th birthday. On the school’s birthday, we celebrate the gift of an outstanding education. Dear Boys of Wesley, please remember that whatever you choose to do — whether you become an Educator, a Doctor, a Lawyer, a Journalist, an Engineer or any other Profession — you must be a Leader. As a steward of your community, the greatest contribution and service you can offer to the society in the example of our founding fathers - is to be forthright, and have farsighted thinking.

We honor our Founding Fathers as we reflect on the commitment, resilience and dedication they displayed to see their vision of Wesley College come to reality. That is why Founder’s Day is so important – it is a celebration of the fabric that makes each one of us a True Double Blue. We celebrate the bond that we share with past and present members of the Wesley Family.

Mr. Avanka Fernando – Sir, you are an Old Boy of Wesley…. We are happy to have you as Our Principal - someone who has walked through these very corridors and playing fields, someone who understands the Spirit, knows the heartbeat, and feels the Pulse of Wesley. We are encouraged to see that you are persistent in expanding the school capacity for development, and making great efforts in equipping the students to meet the changing needs of the society, so that students with different aptitudes, abilities and interests will be able to exploit their potentials to the full, while at the same time exploring the professional potential of the teachers, and we see that a lot of initiatives have been introduced and successfully implemented in the school. I assure you that the OBU Colombo will always extend our 100% support to you, especially to uphold and pass on the Traditions and Values of our Founders, and keep the Double Blue Flame alive in the hearts of the Boys of Wesley.

Thank You and God Bless You All……

Ora Et Labora…

Wilhelm VanDort

President OBU

Wesley College Colombo