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Historical glimpses of Holy Cross College - Kalutara

Perusal of the historical annals of the inception of the Holy Cross College, Kalutara reveals that in an era as far back as the latter half of the 19th century, a Burgher national named Brohier had taken the initiative to start a private school. This private school was functioning in a rented house in close proximity to the Holy Cross Church.


Since then a number of educational luminaries both foreign and local took the reins of Holy Cross College and continued its strenuous path with firm determination and dedication to bring the college to its pristine glory overcoming numerous barricades on its way.

Holy Cross College, Kalutara

In 1890, the Parish of Kalamulla, Kalutara, Rev. Father Wilkinson became the first Rector and he was instrumental in naming this Institution of Education as Holy Cross English School which was later registered as a ‘grant in aid school’ by Rev.Fr. Leo Fernando who succeeded Rev.Fr. Wilkinson and became the founder Principal of Holy Cross College.

Rev. Fr. M. Herel hailed from Nancy, France became the Rector of the Holy Cross College for a period of 7 years since 1905 and he was succeeded by Rev. Fr. Robert Fernando who was responsible for introducing numerous innovative features to the Holy Cross College.

One of the most striking achievements during his period was that a pupil of the college emerged as the first on obtaining the best results out of the entire Commonwealth Countries in Cambridge Examination.

Rev.Fr. F.L. Breton assumed duties as the Principal for a period of 3 years from 1918-1921. During his tenure in office, it was Rev.Fr. Briton who introduced the Cadet Platoon to Holy Cross College.

Rev. Fr. Breton succeeded by Rev. Fr. C.V. Croos served Holy Cross College for 9 years since 1921. He was successful in expanding the buildings by adding a Science Laboratory and another building to the college.

In addition, Holy Cross College was upgraded as a Secondary School during the period.

Rev. Fr. Gaston Chaulieu, a French national happened to be the only Principal of Holy Cross College to serve an unbroken period of 16 long years from 1930-1946. This era was considered by many as the golden era of the College which could be proud of its unique achievements.

Colourful event

Construction of new buildings, conducting Inter-House Athletic Events transforming the mixed school to a boys’ school, preparing students for London Matriculation and Chamber of Commerce Examinations took place during this period.

Rev. Fr. Benedict J.C. Pinto (1948-1954) : Rev. Pinto in responsible for holding National Independence Day Celebrations in Kalutara District Schools in Holy Cross College grounds could be cited as an important and colourful event participated by an unprecedented gathering of distinguished visitors. The First Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, D.S. Senanayake was present to grace the occasion as the Chief Guest.

In addition, Cadet Troop of the college was able to win the covetous Herman Loos Trophy meant for the Island’s Best School Cadet Troop. In 1948, College Drama Troupe won the Shakespeare Trophy in the Inter-School Shakespeare English Drama Competition organized by Ceylon Thespians.

Crises encountered

The Radio Ceylon (present day SLBC) organized All Island Inter School English Speech Contest and the participant pupils of the Holy Cross College won the First Place in both Junior and Senior contests.

Rev. Fr. Theodor E. Pieris (1954 - 1970) During this era, government was engaged in taking over of schools. Holy Cross College was allowed to function as a non-fee levying Private School. Banning of Cadet Platoon and the termination of State grants were some of the crises encountered by the college during this period.

Holy Cross College won the Gold Medals as the winners in both Senior and Junior Contests in the All Island English Speech Contests organized by the Department of Education.

M.J. Anthony Cooray (1973-1978) : For the first time in the history of Holy Cross College, Anthony Cooray happened to be its lay Principal. During his period the Old Boys’ Association was formed.

Every Institution has to encounter both vibrant and dormant periods on its forward march and Holy Cross College was not an exception. Due to unavoidable circumstances, the college had to maintain a low profile in every sphere for a brief period until the arrival of the Congregation of Marist Brothers for its rescue.

On the invitation of Archbishop of Colombo, since 1978 Marist Brothers took over the administration of the Holy Cross College. Speedy resurgence in every facet of the Holy Cross College could be witnessed under the dedicated Marist Brothers.

In order to cater to the growing demands of the parents, for admissions, the Marist Brothers had to face the onerous task of providing more and more buildings and the development of infrastructure facilities of the college. Rev. Brother E. Francis Silva (1978-1987) : During the vicissitudes experienced by the Holy Cross College in its dark era, a great endeavour was made by Rev. Brother Francis Silva to revive the activities of the college.

Sports Section of the college was revitalized. In 1980 the Teachers’ salaries were paid once again by the government.

As a result of the maintaining good public relations, Rev. Brother Francis Silva could obtain the cooperation of the Old Boys’ Union for the forward march of the college.

Rev. Brother Clinton Perera (1900-2000) : Expansion of the college playground and the construction of four-storeyed building complex and foundation laying for a five-storeyed building complex took place during his tenure of office. The expansion of Laboratory and Library facilities had also been done by him.

Massive project

Rev. Brother Lal Fonseka (2000-2004): During his period the infrastructure development activities launched by Rev.Br. Clinton Perera were continued.

The present Principal and the Director of Holy Cross College, Rev. Brother Ranjith Perera launched a massive project of the construction of the Auditorium Complex which could be considered as the show piece of the college.

Realising the importance of keeping abreast with the demands of the modern trends of Education and to address the needs and requirements of the growing student community he soon identified the long felt need of a modern Auditorium Complex for the college.

Considerable amount

Having the traits of a true crusade backed by firm determination and the blessings of the God, he unwaveringly embarked on the massive project of Auditorium Complex. Then the total cost of the project was estimated to be considerable amount.

Miracles do happen in the precincts of Holy Cross College sanctified by the Statue of Our Lady of Grotto which has been frequented by Catholics as well as devotees of other religions from various parts of the country.

The newly built state-of-the-art Auditorium Complex of Holy Cross College is having a seating capacity for 1200 persons. It is comprised of Sport Pavilion with all the facilities and three Science Laboratories and classrooms.

This Auditorium Complex will be ceremonially commissioned on June 13 by Rev. Father Ranjith Madurawela, the Director of Catholic Schools of Sri Lanka.

A multi cultural show will be staged on the newly built auditorium in the evening and will be graced by Rt.Rev.Dr. Nobert Andradi, the Bishop of Anuradhapura.

Holy Cross College of Kalutara which stands as a beacon on the majestic Holy Cross Hill unique with its own enchanting nature’s beauty constantly provides its everlasting rays of light on spiritual and intellectual guidance for the children in and around Kalutara.


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