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The Chairman of the Governing Body for CMS schools felicitates the staff of St. John’s for making the Science Stream the third best in the Island!

The Chairman of the CMS Board of Governors Dr. Dan Seevaratnam visited the College on 03.03.2016. He heads five educational institutions and also holds the designation of the Chief Executive Officer of Watawala Plantations PLC. This eminent personality is a man of professionalism and potential. His short visit to St. John’s College will definitely leave a long lasting impression.

On 03.03.2016, he organized a discussion with the Managers, Principals and Vice Principals of both Chundikuli Girls’ College and St. John’s College from 10:45 a.m. to 12:30 at Chundikuli Girls’ College. He talked in length about Strategies and Organizational Structures.

School closed half an hour after the workshop ended. The members of the staff of St. John’s, both tutorial and non-tutorial, were felicitated at a fellowship lunch for making the Science Stream the third best in the Island.

After lunch, the Principal rose up from his chair to address the gathering. He welcomed everyone and said that it was one of the happiest days in the history of the College – a day when the staff who worked hard to push the College to be on par with other leading educational institutions in the island, will be recognized.

He said that though the teachers in the Science stream deserved special mention for making the Science stream the third best in the island, all the teachers, starting from grade 1, non-tutorial staff like ‘Mahendran mama’ in the Primary School, A/L Lab Assistants and all the support staff contributed towards this success and need to be applauded.

Dr.Dan Seevaratnam wanted to felicitate all of us. Now he wants to recognize Karunainayagam Riviharan for becoming second in the island in Bio System Technology,’ said the Principal before calling the young achiever towards the head table where the Chairman was waiting with an award in his hands.
Next, the Principal passed on the microphone to the Chairman. Dr.Dan Seevaratnam, in his speech said:

  • It is probably one of the happiest days for St. John’s.
  • It is a proud day for me to share in the successes of the College.
  • Many schools prepare students for Advanced Level. But only some excel academically AND produce good citizens. St. John’s does just that and I have come to celebrate both.
  • The Principal told me that most of the achievers studied from grade 1 at St. John’s and as such, all the tutors from grade 1 need to be commended for this achievement. I support his view.
  • A chain breaks at its weakest link. Teachers, non-tutorial staff, parents, old boys etc., are the many links that make up St. John’s College – and all these links are strong indeed.
  • To become third in the island by competing with government schools that absorb scholarship students is a remarkable achievement.
  • Results are hard to come. One must put in a lot of effort. Everyone, from the sweeper to the Sectional Head contributed. Thank you.
  • Becoming third in the island must have been a real challenge. Sustaining it is going to be harder – but not impossible. You can do it.
  • St. John’s is doing well. It has even beaten my old school, Trinity College. With success comes jealousy. Make prayer your weapon.
  • Proud of yesterday, all Johnians build for tomorrow!
  • I hope to come here again next year when the A/L results are released. I hope I get invited frequently in the future. I wish to have many more lunches with you.
He remarked about an incident that happened at school. Someone walking past him had stopped to say, ‘Good morning, sir. Have a nice day.’ The Chairman said that it was this that sets apart St. John’s from the rest of the schools. These have earned St. John’s a great brand value. He asked us to maintain the glory of the College and pass on the rich traditions and sound morals and ethics to the next generations. ‘Continue to be a good Christian school imparting holistic education,’ he said.

Next, the President of the Teachers’ Guild proposed the Vote of Thanks. Mr.R.S.Bavananthan said:

  • Two years ago you laid the foundation to the Technology Block. Last year we declared open the First Four-Storey Technology Block in the Island. Riviharan’s achievement shows that our Principal’s vision has materialized – that we have made the right decision – that God is with us.
  • The Vice Principal cum Supervisor of the Science Stream, Mr.P.Srikaran before retiring in 2015 made St. John’s the third best school in the Science Stream in the Island. After his retirement, we have given his seat to another Science teacher, Mr.V.S.B.Thuseetharan - to sustain this achievement!
  • The teachers at St. John’s College work hard from 7:45 a.m. till 3:45 p.m. It is probably the only school in the island which works all eight periods and still manages to train students for the numerous functions in the College Calendar!
  • Officials from the Zonal Department of Education came to St. John’s and were highly satisfied with everything they saw. Full of praise for the College, one of the higher officials had commented, ‘The administrators of the others schools in the North should be brought to see St. John’s – they will then know how to run a school.’
    ‘Sending our principal to head the schools in the North for short stints of time will eventually improve the standards of education in the North,’ said the President of the Teachers’ Guild. His suggestion drew a lot of applause and cheer from the audience.

The crowd dispersed after the Vote of Thanks. From 2:30 – 4:30 p.m., there was a workshop on Effective Execution for Management Teams of both schools.

The workshop was conducted by the Chairman. The following points were discussed / put forward:

  • The missing link between aspirations and results
  • Leaders wrongfully think that execution is undignified
  • Execution is a leader’s most important job
  • It has to be built into a school’s strategy, its goals and its culture.

The leaders seven essential behaviours:-

  1. Know your people and your business
  2. Insist on realism
  3. Set clear goals and priorities
  4. Follow through
  5. Reward the doers
  6. Expand people’s capabilities
  7. Know yourself

Five things to clarify before winding up a meeting:

a) what the follow-through will be
b) who will do it
c) when and how they will do it
d) what resources they will use
e) how and when the next review will take place and with whom

Importance of Responsibility Charting:
a) ‘Who does what’ is clear
b) Makes sure that someone is responsible for each task
c) Identifies who needs to be given communication about each task
d) Prevents duplication of effort

Dr. Dan Seevaratnam talked about the above and said that the Board of Directors, Management and Staff should work hand in hand to achieve the desired goals and objectives.

There was a workshop on Communication for Success for Anglican Clergy, Managers, Principals, Vice Principals and Governing Body representatives of both schools from 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.

The following were discussed:

  • The importance of communication
  • The communication process
  • Uses of Effective Communication
  • The 7C’s of Effective Communication
  • Facts about Effective Communication
  • Barriers to Effective Communication and overcoming them
  • Listening and its stages
  • Co-relation between listening and speaking
  • Importance of Listening
  • Techniques of Active Listening
  • Path for Good Communication
  • Three phrases that can make life a whole lot better:
  • I am sorry 
  • I appreciate it
  • Count on me

The day’s events ended with a fellowship dinner.

The next day (04.03.2016), the Chairman and the Principal began their day by observing the Spoken English Environment Programme at 7:50a.m.

Next, they headed towards the Scout Exhibition room where the Chairman spent considerable time going through the exhibits one by one, questioning the scouts there.
After the exhibition, was the photo session with the Cubs Scouts of the Primary School.

A workshop for prefects was scheduled from 10:00 – 11:30 a.m. where the Chairman discussed about the qualities of a good leader. ‘Simply having the Prefect Badge will not get you anywhere unless you have the qualities of a good leader,’ he said. He also told the following:

  • Leadership is NOT a TITLE, but a responsibility and a role you play.
  • Leadership is empowering others to become something greater than themselves Prefects are leaders who affect other students behavior so as to accomplish a mission designated by the school Leadership is first BEHAVIOUR and SKILLS second.
  • Good prefects are followed mainly because they are TRUSTED and RESPECTED by the students they lead, not because of the skills they possess
  • Prefectship is about Being firm and clear in dealing with bad or unethical behavior
  • Leaders should treat everyone equally, back up and support your team.

‘Thanks for words of wisdom. The Prefects and monitors would have gained a lot of knowledge on how to be good leader,’ said the Head Prefect,

Julius Charoon, towards the end of the workshop.
‘This is our little way of saying ‘Thank you’ to the big things you have done,’ he continued, before handing the Chairman a handwritten and handmade card.

The Principal too gave the Chairman a Scout Centenary T-shirt and a ‘Thank You’ card as a small token of appreciation.

A prayer by a Prefect, Jonathan Selvarajah brought the workshop to an end.

The Chairman is known to have once said, ‘Passionate hearts could achieve the impossible’ – that is probably how he climbed the highest rung of the corporate ladder. He was passionate about his job. And he made the tutorial and non-tutorial staff of St. John’s more passionate about theirs, after his visit to the College.


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