Tag Archives: prize giving

My ‘Mill Hill’ 1971 School Picture — A Few Months Before I Was Expelled.

by Anura Guruge


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So, can YOU spot me. I have NOT changed. Honest. Still as dark (in every way & sense) as I was then — 49-years ago.



This picture was sent to me by a classmate, in 1971, from Mill Hill. He is in this picture.

He found me, on the Web, a few months ago. So, we reconnected after 49-years. He had gone onto become a very well respected doctor. Good for him.

It has been great chatting with him.

Wow. 1971.

A momentous year. I got expelled, from Mill Hill, around May or June. All I know that it was 2-weeks ahead of the A-level exams. They let me come back, to take the exams — but could only stay for the exams. I was well are truly expelled for being ‘an undesirable influence’! Haven’t changed, have I. Just think of ALL the people who would still like to expel me from their lives for being ‘an undesirable influence’.

My 2nd expulsion, from a school, in 2-years!

I was good — at getting expelled.

Got expelled in 1969 (around May/June too) from the prestigious ‘English School of Paris’ in 1969. Why. Because I refused to have my haircut for the upcoming prize giving. Mary Soames, Winston Churchill’s daughter was attending to present the prizes. I had (per what used to my wont) won a few. They wanted me to look presentable. I refused. They called my parents. I still refused. I was expelled & banned from attending the prize giving. My parents went. My mother collected my prizes.

I will be honest, in my old age, as a HUGE FAN of Winston, I regret not getting to shake Dame Soames’ hand. C’est la vie. I didn’t want to get my hair cut. SMILE. Haven’t changed, have I.

This was also from Mill Hill, but the prior year. I am wearing tinted glasses. I must have got my contact lenses between these pictures. I know I started wearing contacts when I was around 16.

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by Anura Guruge

Ananda College, Sri Lanka Pays Homage To American Colonel Henry Olcott, Its Founder.

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by Anura Guruge


Ananda_CrestRelated posts:
>>
List of prizes at Ananda.
>> Ananda College prize giving 1969.

++++ Check Category ‘Sri Lanka’ or search ‘Ceylon’ for other posts >>>>


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Colonel Henry Steel Olcott [2 August 1832 – 17 February 1907], born in New Jersey, an officer during the Civil War, and a member of the committee that investigated Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, is NOT a well known figure in the U.S.

Not so in Sri Lanka (once Ceylon).

Henry Steel Olcott is a well known and well respected legend. His greatest and justified claim to fame is that he founded a number of Buddhist schools in Ceylon, my old alma mater, Ananda College, in Colombo, with 6,000 students in my time [i.e., 1958 to 1967] and now [per Wikipedia, 5,000], the largest. We were ‘taught’ about Olcott and his picture hung in the school (and I must admit that he comes across as being a bit scary, when you are a 6-year old boy in shorts, not used to men with such luxuriant beards).

Olcott other claim to fame was that he, with his ‘good friend’, Russian-born Helena Petrovna Blavatsky [1831 – 1891], converted to Buddhism in Ceylon — at that time the highest profile Westerns to do so. They were also the founders of the (to me the always very strange and confusing) Theosophical Society.

Anywho, I just thought I would share this with you. Checkout the Theosophical Society. It might appeal to YOU.

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Blavatsky and Olcott in 1888 (from Wikipedia). Ananda College was founded 2 years prior to this picture being taken.


Ananda College, Colombo, Ceylon: 1960 to 1967 List Of Prizes Won By Anura W.P. Guruge.

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by Anura Guruge


Related posts:
>> Ananda College prize giving 1969.

++++ Check Category ‘Sri Lanka’ or search ‘Ceylon’ for other posts >>>>


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Doing the post on June 7, 2015 about Udeni Wijegunaratne receiving a prize (in this case a pile of books) at the 1969 Ananda College, Colombo, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) annual Prize Giving definitely got me thinking.

I knew I I had won a fair number of prizes. How could I forget. Winning prizes was one of the many things that was expected of me. I also knew that I had a document from August 1967, just prior to me leaving Ceylon, of all the prizes I had won. My adoptive father, a professional educator, believed that all these documents that I received an education in Ceylon would be necessary to get me into a public school in Buffalo, New York. Little did he know. I don’t think anybody ever looked at these documents.

Anywho … I wanted to capture and preserve that document for posterity. Now I have. I counted the prizes (and awards). 39.

To me, and to YOU (if you are interested at all), only two things in this list really count.

The Challenge Cups (highlighted in yellow) and the ABSENCE of Grade VI.

I did NOT attend Grade VI — the 1st year of Middle School when you start learning Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry, Chemistry, Physics and Biology. I was, for my SINS, given a DOUBLE PROMOTION. School year in Ceylon started in January. We had the whole month of December off. My adoptive father told the school that he would make sure that I would learn a WHOLE YEARS worth of all those subjects in a month — and to top it all I got measles or mumps during that month. That did not deter my adoptive father. I was taught, tutored, beaten and punished 12 hours a day UNTIL I learnt all of what I had to — that I was sick, very sick, was not an excuse. This is why working 14, 16, 18 hours a day is a piece of cake for me. Plus now there is nobody who beats me if  I don’t work. And I was 12 years old.

So that was the Double Promotion.

The other BIG thing that was demanded of me was to WIN the damn Challenge Cup EVERY year. Yes, it was a silver cup BUT I never got to keep it. It was for my adoptive parents ego. I see that there was, on average 39 students, in each of my early classes. There were typically 6 classes per grade. So roughly 230 to 240 kids per grade. The Challenge Cup said that when all the grades, and this was the British system where grades are numeric, 0 to 100, were added up I had the HIGHEST aggregate score. First in Class is what they would say in the U.S.

Well as you can see I won that damn Challenge Cup every damn year other than in Grade 3. I think I actually set out to NOT win it. Because I, probably given all the beatings and punishment I took, was quite a devil, already. Well I got beaten to a pulp. All of 1964, and I was 11, UNTIL I won the Challenge Cup again was hell. But what the heck. It made me what I am. My life now is walk in the park. When you had the life I had as a kid you grow up rather immune to most hardships.

Well it gets better. Remember that Double Promotion. Learn a year’s worth of 6 subjects in a month. I was EXPECTED to win the Challenge Cup after that! I think I won one Challenge Cup in Grade VII AFTER the Double Promotion BUT not THE cup. But, I did the following year! And for the WHOLE Middle School. That one was MY doing. After the Double Promotion I was the youngest in the class. I took my stick. So I wanted to stick it to all of them. OH, I got an air rifle, as a present, for winning that! That was big. We had to go to India to get one. You couldn’t get them in Ceylon.

So that was my life in Ceylon. It was hard. I wasn’t allowed a dog or any pets. I wasn’t allowed a bike. (I WONDER whether this has anything to do with why I am surrounded by dogs and toys, like Jags). My life was to study, study, win prizes and most of all the DAMN Challenge Cup. It wasn’t all bad. I had plenty of food, all the books I ever wanted, my own chemistry lab and a fair amount of toys. I also got to travel.

But it has stood me in good stead. So I don’t regret it. I would never dream of imparting what my life was to my kids. I took enough punishment for a few generations.

And SOME people wondered why I did not attend my adoptive father’s funeral (last year) and actually was on a cruise of the day of his funeral.


Ananda College, Colombo, Ceylon Prize Giving 1969.

Anura Guruge December 2014 thumbnail.
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by Anura Guruge


Related posts:
++++ Check Category ‘Sri Lanka’ or search ‘Ceylon’ for other posts >>>>


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Udeni Wijegunaratne receiving a prize (in this case a pile of books) at the 1969 Ananda College, Colombo, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) annual Prize Giving.

I got this picture, from him, via e-mail this morning. He is looking for information as to who the Chief Guest was and the people, other than him, who appear in this picture. He thinks the Chief Guest was a diplomat. Per tradition it would have been the chief guest’s wife handing out the prizes. She looks Asian. So it must have been a Ceylonese or Indian diplomat — and judging from a sari, and I am NO LONGER an expert, she looks Ceylonese than Indian.

He also informs us that Sanjeewa Senanayake was awarded the ‘Pritz Kunz’ in that year. Not sure what that means and whether the spelling is correct re. the name and the prize.

This was 2 years AFTER I left Ananda College and Ceylon.

If NOT I would have been there too. I got prizes every year. I haven’t counted or checked RECENTLY but for some reason the number ’64’ comes to mind. That might have been the number of prices I received during my 8 or 9 years at Ananda College — and bar ONE memorable year, for which I was beaten and punished for months, I won the Challenge Cup, which was indeed a polished silver cup, year year for the HIGHEST overall marks for all the boys in that grade. But that is history and as you can see winning those Challenge Cups didn’t do me much good.

But IF you can help Udeni Wijegunaratne contact me or get in touch with him.

All the best.