Gateway Kids bring Sri Lankan history to life at Nelum Pokuna Theatre

Sparkling Stars2014, the concert of the Primary school of Gateway College in Colombo was staged at the NelumPokuna Theatre. The audience was treated to performances of a very high standard far surpassing the standard that one expects from Primary school concerts anywhere. Every single student of the Primary School, from Play Group to Year 6, took part in the concert.

The first night brought on stage kids between the ages of 2 ½ – 7 years. The first half of the show centred on the famous folklore of ‘ThoppiVelenda’- the Hat Seller. The script had been cleverly drawn to capture diversity of the natural beauty of our country. The Hat Seller was seen travelling through the length and breadth of the country from the sea shore to the village hamlet and the hill country. The different sub culture in each of these areas revolving round their livelihoods was brought to life by song and dance peculiar to each part of the country. Of course the story had to end with the hat seller encountering a group of monkeys who were eventually out smarted by the hat seller. The kids did not fail to highlight the moral of the story, that little children are like monkeys in copying adults and requested the adults “to take care and be good and nice” much to the amusement of the audience who were left in stitches.

The second half saw an innovative adaptation of some of the familiar fairy tales. Goldilocks with more than three bears, snow white with dozens of dwarfs and a sleeping beauty woken up by a frog prince no doubt stretched the imagination of the audience.

The second night brought on stage kids from 7 – 11 years of age. The theme was Sri Lankan History. The story began with the early years of Singhabahu confined to a cave and eventually breaking free. The scene then shifted to the landing of Prince Vijaya with his group of 700 and the encounter with Kuveni. Next the intriguing story of Pandukabhaya and his tryst with destiny. The beginning of the Agriculture based society was skilfully depicted through beautiful dances. The Highlight of the Kandyan Kingdom was the Perahera with a magnificent tusker animated by the students themselves which received a thunderous round of applause. Then followed the era of foreign invasions and the influence of European countries on the fabric of Sri Lankan society. The tea industry and the game of cricket were portrayed as lasting impressions of colonialism. The evening culminated with gaining of Independence and the unfurling of the Lion Flag.

It was clearly evident that the students had gained much knowledge and understanding of Sri Lankan history through this concert. It demonstrated how class room teaching can be further enhanced though drama and theatre.

Hats-off to Gateway Kids for exhibiting two nights of star class entertainment that educated all present. The creativity of the teachers and the immense talents of the students were the striking feature of the entire show. The show was directed by Mr. Jerome L de Silva, a veteran of Sri Lanka theatre, who functions as the Director of Performing Arts of the Gateway Group of schools.

Gateway College - truly home-grown with the best of international standards

Gateway College which was the brainchild of renowned Sri Lankan educationist Mr R I T Alles stands out as a beacon in the local International Schools circuit as a school offering truly world class education in an authentic Sri Lankan setting. Gateway has the unparalleled distinction of securing no less than 86 awards (including several world prizes) at the last awards ceremony of Edexcel International. The school has already produced many outstanding sportspersons in Athletics, Swimming, Basketball, Badminton, Chess and Netball, who have gone on to represent the country at International meets and tournaments.

International school education is increasingly gaining popularity not only in Sri Lanka but the entire Asian region. This has led to a proliferation of International Schools which have mostly been set up in collaboration with western educators. Very few schools can claim to be truly home grown yet on par with the best of international standards. Gateway has thus managed to carve out a niche in the market by combining state of the art facilities, cutting edge technology and global best practises with Sri Lankan expertise and knowhow coming from our very own educators.

The school though awarded internationally continues to be governed, managed and administered by Sri Lankan Educators of repute and vast experience. The present Chairman of the group Dr. Harsha Alles has broad experience in the field of education having been a faculty member of the Colombo Medical Faculty prior to joining Gateway. He has also been nationally acclaimed for his pioneering efforts in IT education having developed computing modules for children which have spread across the country as well as overseas. The Managing Director Mrs Rohini Alles counts many years of experience in teaching at Royal College and as the Deputy Principal of President’s College,Rajagiriya. Mrs Dinali Alles, Director Gateway Group, is aqualified Government Trained Teacher with nearly twenty years of teaching experience in the State Schools prior to joining Gateway. Mr Asoka Herath who is also a Director and the Headmaster of Gateway College Kandy is a highly respected educationist having functioned as the Principal of Dharmaraja College in Kandy in his long and distinguished career. The recent joining of Mrs NirmaliWikremesinghe,also a well-known educationist, adds further weight to the Gateway Team. She brings with her years of experience and intimate knowhow in moulding young children to grow as confident individuals upholding their own cultural heritage.The Gateway Graduate School is headed by Mrs NelumSenadira whose distinguished career with the Fulbright Commission makes her the best choice for guidance on overseas higher education. The new branch school at Dehiwala is headed by Mrs Noreen Welikala,a veteran in the field of International School education in Sri Lanka. Mrs DevikaAlldis and Mr Harshana Perera who are in charge of Negombo and Rajagiriya respectively have both had extensive experience in education having been associated with leading private and international schools in the country.

Many International schools carry the stigma that they churn out students who are alien to the Sri Lankan culture and insensitive to the historical and current context of our country. The most striking feature about Gateway College has been its ability to offer its students an upbringing similar to a typical public school while offering an international curriculum. This school is a good case study on how international education can be delivered in a local environment upholding Sri Lankan values in a disciplined school setting. The Gateway model of education is a testimony to the immense potential of Sri Lankan educators and teaching faculty.

Religious observances are held daily for all main religions at Gateway. Students are encouraged to practice their faith with religious activities and festivals commemorated frequently. The students get the opportunity to appreciate the values of other religions and respect them for their teachings. Sri Lankan history is integrated into the History curriculum up to the secondary school. This makes the Gateway student fully aware of the historical and cultural heritage of the country.

The students of Gateway College grow up to be confident young men and women armed with world class learning and international qualifications yet firmly rooted in the Sri Lankan soil.This is what makes Gateway a truly unique learning experience.

 

 

Seated (L to R) Mrs.NelumSenadira – Head of Gateway Graduate School, Mrs. Noreen Welikala – Consultant, Gateway College Dehiwala, Mr. Asoka Herath – Director Gateway / Headmaster Gateway College Kandy, Mrs.Rohini Alles – Managing Director Gateway, Dr.Harsha Alles – Chairman Gateway, Mrs.NirmaliWickremesinghe – Consultant, Gateway Group of Schools, Mr. Harshana Perera – Headmaster, Gateway College Colombo, Mrs.DevikaAlldis – Headmistress, Gateway College Negombo.

Standing (L to R) Mrs.ZakiyaMohommed – Deputy Head, Gateway College Kandy, Mrs. Cheryl Cooray – Deputy Head, Gateway College Colombo, Mrs.ManrookaObeysekere - Deputy Head, Gateway College Dehiwala, Mr. Anthony Chelliah - Deputy Head, Gateway College Dehiwala, Mrs. Vinita Shenoy - Deputy Head, Gateway College Colombo, Ms.ManjariTennakoon - Deputy Head, Gateway College Negombo.

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