Past Principals of Holy Cross College Gampaha

Like the mustard seed in the Gospels, Holy Cross College in Gampaha, which was then a tiny plant in the education field, started operations with only seven pupils. The school began in the premises of the present Holy Cross Church by the veteran missionary Rev. Fr. Gregorious Silva. The school was entrusted to the care of Mrs. Amelia Francis Perera, who was to be the first Principal, with the number of the students gradually increasing to over 100. However at the request of the Archbishop of Colombo, Rt. Rev. Dr. J. M. Mason, the running of the school was fully entrusted to the sisters of the Apostolic Carmel Congregation and Mrs. Francis Perera gladly bowed out. Since then due to the zealous and untiring efforts of the principals that followed, all being Sisters, Holy Cross College become a vibrant and mighty institution in the district of Gampaha and beyond.

Mrs. Amelia M. Francis Perera (Late) 1928-1941

She took over the school, then a minor institution of education with only seven students and a teacher. She administrated the school when a decision was taken to hand it over to the Apostolic Carmel Sisters in 1941. In fact Mrs. Amelia Perera is remembered as the pioneer and the first principal. A debt of gratitude is therefore due to her for pioneering labours.

Rev. Sister Carmeline A.C (Late) 1941-1946

Sister Carmeline, became the first Apostolic Carmelite Principal of Holy Cross College. Sheserved as an English teacher to the students of higher grades. After four and half years of service at HCC, she was sent on another mission by the Apostolic Carmel Congregation. How ever, God willed that she returned to HCC to be its guide and thus she was appointed as the Principal of HCC in1953.  Under her leadership, the school advanced further with the number of students increasing to over a 1000. Sister Carmeline is chiefly remembered for the playground that we now have.

Rev. Sister Ruth A.C (Late) 1946 – 1948

She conducted affairs of the school in a very methodical and meticulous manner, of course within the guidelines set out by her predecessor. During her brief stay of two years, she won the love and affection of both teachers and students alike.

Rev. Sister Lelia A.C (Late) 1948 – 1953

Besides being the Principal, she was an experienced teacher and administrator who brought about sweeping changes and improvements to the school. The foundation for a new three-storied building was laid in 1949, which was to be named “Fatima Hall” and was completed in 1950. In the same year a cottage was built for teachers and a bus was purchased at a cost of Rs.20,000/= . Plans were also in place for the construction of a Science Laboratory. Successful attempts were also made to upgrade the school. Throughout her principalship, she served the school with much zeal and diligence, until she retired in 1953.

Rev. Sister Jean A.C 1957-1958

A young energetic graduate teacher, she taught Science and was a Musician as well, instilling the minds of the children a deep and abiding love for singing and music. A very courteous and gentle lady, she was able to work in unison with both teachers and students.

Rev. Sister Euphemia A.C (Late) 1958 – 1965

During her tenure of principalship, she has had to encounter a myriad problems especially those pertaining to finance. The school did not receive any form of financial assistance from the state, since it opted to go “Private”. Paying salaries for teachers was an enormous one consequently.  Nevertheless, she was able to overcome it to a certain extent by selling fruits and vegetables, all home grown. Voluntary donations which she received from time to time from parents and well wishers and fees which she was able to collect from her music classes, helped her immensely. God seems to be helping her to meet her monthly bills. She used to say “God seemed to be providing every month with just enough money to pay the staff and to meet urgent expenses”. Another noteworthy feature during her administration was, despite heavy financial constraints, they gladly admitted poor, helpless children foregoing all forms of fees and donations. Very versatile, she took much trouble to learn the local dialect for easy communication with everyone. She continued to serve Holy Cross till she retired in July, 1965

Rev. Sister Innocentia A.C (Late)1965 -1974

She was appointed principal in August 1965, and continued to carry ahead the policies laid down by her predecessor. She also boldly took the school out of external influences. Amidst the lack of facilities she effectively carried on with the management and administration of the school sacrificing her own salary to pay the teachers who served the school. She continued Rev. Sr. Euphemia’s meritorious act of admitting many innocent and destitute children to the school and enabling them to receive education. She also took the responsibility of enhancing the hostel of the school in facilitating the students who studied there. As a nature lover, she took great pains to beautify the environment with lush foliage. She took pains at developing democratic ideas and healthy rivalry by a well worked out house system. It was during her tenure that the college was blessed with a fully developed hostel which accommodated more than 100 students from distant areas. After her retirement, she was assigned to the post of Regional Superior of the A.C Congregation in Sri Lanka.

Rev. Sister Nellie Helen A.C. (1974 – 2002)

Rev. Sister Nellie Helen who took over from Rev. Sister Innocentia, was initially a student at Holy Cross, then a Physics teacher ending up as the Principal in September,1974. Vast change did take place during her principalship of 28 years. She began constructing new buildings, Carmel Hall, Child Jesus Hall, Nimala kumari Sevana and Nisala Sithum Piyasa. As a result of her tremendous efforts and unrelenting courage, she was able to steer the school through turbulent weather which blew from time to time. Holy Cross very soon won recognition as a great seat of learning. State grant to private schools also became a reality during her tenure. The Indoor Stadium which facilitated the enhancements of opportunities to practice indoor games such as badminton and table tennis was one of her achievements. Sister Nellie Helen was at all times a very gentle and caring person, whose presence at school brought about a feeling of fullness. Sister Nellie Helen also maintained a good rapport with the teachers, students and parents. She also maintained diplomatic relationships with the government and with the higher authorities of the Church which made her an an efficient leader. Holy Cross will always witness Sister Nellie’s commendable, noble service in pioneering development which presently is the second home for more than 3000 students and 130 teachers. She was like a mother who fondly fostered her feelings and commitments within the Holy Cross family until she retired in the year 2002.

Rev. Sister M. Carmella A.C. (2002- 2006)

Rev. Sister Carmella the General Vice Principal, took over as the next Principal in succession to the outgoing Principal Rev Sister Nellie Helen. Among other things, Sister Carmella was instrumental in launching the “Sunbeam” project , which was designed to help and assist the poor students of the college and appropriately it took wings at Christmas and coming alive again at Vesak as well. This project also helped the families of those students who had to face financial constraints. Another novel move during her term as Principal was to organize a function to fete the grandparents of the students, the primary objective being instilled in the minds of the students, their bound duty to love and respect their elders. Sister Carmella also arranged for students to visit those students in the North of the country on a reciprocal basis with a view to bring about communal harmony between the two communities. Within a short span of four years, Sister Carmella had done much to bring about mutual love and understanding. Another aspect of her principalship , perhaps the most important, was to drive home to the students the importance of learning English language. She will ever be remembered for the tremendous boost she gave in propagating the use of English as a link Language. She was an exponent of English herself whether it was in writing ,speaking and reciting. She expected others to follow suit. She retired in the year 2006, after a short period but colourful period.

Rev. Sr.M.Deepani A.C (2006-2016)

Rev. Sr. M. Deepani took over the honourable position of being the principal of Holy Cross College after the outgoing Principal Rev. Sr. Carmella. She was the Vice Principal at the time. She was a student at De Mazenod College, Kandana and a B.Com (Special Degree) holder at the University of Sri Jayawardenapura. Further, she holds a postgraduate diploma in Education Management. She is the replica of kindness in school and was equally admired by students, parents and teachers of alike. She gave a new outlook to the school by adding a number of buildings to facilitate the educational needs as well as the infrastructure of the school. She was able to complete Loretto Hall, Helena Hall, Joseph Vaz Hall, a Computer Lab and the table tennis court fulfilling curricular and extra-curricular needs in Alma Mater. It was the limelight when she completed the new Auditorium of the school, an elegant beauty, (providing) facilitating the students to perform their skills and talents in Performing Arts
She was able to uplift the educational standards of the students during her period and students were able to bring home a number of trophies and medals representing the school in many different fields, including the prestigious John Tarbet Trophy for athletics. She resigned from her term of office to accept a new responsibility in the Apostolic Carmel Congregation in the year 2016.