Mrs. Esme Iris Abeyakoon
Mrs. Abeyakoon, passed away on 3rd May 2001 at the age of 82 years, after ailing for sometime. She was undoubtedly one of the most outstanding primary teachers of our era. She served Nalanda College, Colombo, with distinction for 36 uninterrupted years, and after her retirement from Government Service, she joined Musaeus College and served them for six years, till her health deteriorated.
Primary education is the foundation for not only formal learning, but also, to gain mental and physical competence and most important developing wholesome attitudes.
Mrs. Abeyakoon was a guiding light to all primary teachers. Miss. Kamala Peiris, Former Director of Education selected her as a Pilot Teacher. She gave the leadership to other teachers and enriched the Ministry of Education with practical ideas with how to implement the reforms of education in the 1970s. She was a versatile gold mine of information.
They say teachers are born. Mrs. Abeyakoon was one of them. She possessed a charming personality and her lovable approach attracted the "Tiny Tots". Her main object was to mould the character of the child with critical thinking, creativity, flexibility and human fellow feeling.
I do not think for a moment, that there is any other "PAIR" in the proud history of Nalanda, than Mr. and Mrs. Abeyakoon, who influenced the lives of Nalandians. They were not only teachers. They were philosophers and guides. Late Col. M. C. F. Abeyakoon, our beloved Vice Principal served Nalanda Vidyalaya for 26 years. He performed the duties as the Warden of the College Hostel. Mrs. Abeyakoon was the mother for all hostellers. She was kind hearted and generous. She was really the wind behind his wings. They sacrificed their whole lives to improve the standards of other parents children.
She was a fine actress, musician, singer and a fine pianist. Mr. and Mrs. Abeyakoon met each other at the Training College Maharagama. The story goes to say, that they acted in a drama once at the Training College, where she played the role of heroine the "Queen" and he played the character of the "Villian". In true life, the "villain" won the day, by capturing the heart of the "Sweet Princess", and thus began a very fruitful life long partnership.
She was not only a dutiful mother to three daughters - Rohini - Sakuntala and late Chandrika, but also, a foster mother for thousands and thousands of boys and girls, who learnt their first lessons under the tutelage of this great teacher.
I had the good fortune of associating with the " "Abeyakoor family" very closely, first as a student and then as a teacher at Nalanda College. Her elder daughter Rohini and I were in the same staff teaching History and Sinhala in the Advanced Level and University Entrance Classes for a couple of years.
Following the old Indian tradition practiced by "Disapamok", Mr. and Mrs. Abeyakoon gave away their eldest daughter Rohini in marriage to the "Brightest Cricket Star" of Nalanda, Chandrasiri Weerasinghe my cricket captain who lead the all conquering team in 1957, where I was the wicket keeper opening batsman.
I am confident that " Suraguru" will appoint Mrs. Abeyakoon as the new Head of the Primary section of the heavenly abode, where her beloved husband Braevet Colonel M. C. F. Abeyakoon is already a Principal. Two of youll will be very well looked after by your youngest daughter Chandrika.
May your journey in samsara be short and may you attain the ultimate bliss of Nibbana.
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