St. John’s College, Jaffna is indeed proud and delighted to celebrate the Scouting Centenary from April 4 with great enthusiasm and gaiety. This is a historic occasion in the history of St. John’s College. Every one rejoices at this phenomenal event. St. John’s College is a school of International fame, globally recognized as a centre of academic, sports and scouting excellence.
St. John’s College is always on the lookout for excellence and remarkable achievements. This is made possible due to the dedication, commitment, hard work, loyalty, devotion and efficiency of the present Principal, Vice Principals, Director of the Academy and dedicated Teachers.
Lord Baden Powell, an International figure and founder of the Scout Movement deserves a special mention in this context. He first founded a Junior Scout Movement in England in 1907. The International Scout Movement was later founded in 1920. It is the most popular International Movement. Universally, it is recognized for its good values, loyalty, sincerity, commitments, dedication, reliability and yeoman service. These are the virtues of scouts. The Scouts of today are expected to blossom into future leaders, useful and worthy citizens of tomorrow.
The Scout Movement was first started in Sri Lanka in Matale Christian School in 1910. The Scout Movement of St. John’s College too has a glorious history. In 1916, the Movement was first introduced to St. John’s College and later to Jaffna as a whole, when the Rev. Jacob Thompson was the Principal.
Scouting at St. John’s College flourished over the years. The inauguration of the Scout Movement at the College was a milestone. At the invitation of the Principal, JV Mendis, Scout Master of Richmond College, Galle, came over to St. John’s College with a few of his Scouts to enlighten the students of the North on the educational values of Scouting in school. He spent three days at St. John’s College and was able to accomplish a great deal. During his short stay, the College organized the troop in Jaffna. It was an honor to have the Government Agent as President and Mr. Wood as the District Commissioner of the Scout Movement. The training given to the boys of the troops had different aspects, for example character and personality building, good habits and health care, and training on handicrafts.
Dr. GC Phillips provided First Aid lectures every Tuesday. The Government Agent and representatives from other schools were present at the Scout display. At the end of the display, three patrols of the College were enrolled as Scouts and the tender foot badges were pinned by the G.A. A group photograph was taken together with FG Stevens, Chief Scout Commissioner for Ceylon. He inspected the troops and was highly pleased with the progress made.
The past Principals of St. John’s College gave topmost importance to the Scout Movement at the school. The much loved and respected present principal, Rev. NJ Gnanaponrajah is no exception. He organized special intense training progarammes and Scout Camps. The Principal is the heart beat of the Scout Movement. The Scouts are an integral part of the College.
Scout camp phase II held recently at Mullaitivu provided excellent training for 43 teachers over three days. The training sessions were held at Thanneeroottu YMCA Mullaitivu. Scouts from the National Training Team, National Head Quarters Soundarajan, Course Leader Trainer; S Thevaranjan, district Commissioner, Jaffna; Dr. Puvanenthiran, Leader Trainer, the only person to have PHD in Scouting in the Island; M Raveendran Leader Trainer; MG Kamalakumar Assistant Leader Trainer; C Sikvakumar, Assistant Leader Trainer; P Ajithkumar, Assistant Leader Trainer; S Anojan, assistant district Commissioner, Mullaitivu; and Thamen, Assistant district Commissioner, Akkaripatu guided the staff.
Both SS Thomas and V Daniel Jeyarubam staff of St. John’s College, qualified Wood Badge (Phase V) assisted the leaders and teachers. Lessons on subjects such as First Aid, distance estimation, different types of knots, uses of various tools like axe and improving memory were given.
A bonfire which was designed to collapse in a particular manner at a particular time to keep the fire burning, was made. The 45 Scout Teachers were divided into groups and each group presented dramas, jokes, songs and poetry recitals in front of the bonfire. Bonfire drives out darkness. Similarly, Scouts are expected to lead their lives in such a way that they shed light on the world.
The Scouts are expected to be beacons to the society by discharging their duty to God and country to the best of their ability.
Service to God is Service to humanity.