Renowned school teacher Padmini Amarasinghe is 90 today


Padmini Amarasinghe

By Revata S. Silva

Padmini Amarasinghe nee Abeysekera, an illustrious government school teacher in the post-independence era, who had served her profession for over 30 years, celebrates her 90th birthday today, February 16.

Born in Southern Sri Lanka, on February 16, 1924, she was the elder sister of Percy Abeysekera, the renowned cricket cheerleader.

Her father, Walimuni Simon Mendis Abeysekera, and mother, Dolly Margaret de Zoysa Siriwardene, were both prominent school Principals of the British colonial period. Her mother was a niece of famous King’s Counsel Francis de Zoysa, a stalwart of the National independence movement who was also the father of Stanley de Zoysa, the Finance Minister of the SWRD Bandaranaike government of 1956.

After joining the then Education Department in 1947, following the footsteps of her parents, Padmini went on to teach in eight government schools. She retired from D. S. Senanayake College, Colombo in 1977 when the school was having a great success under its founder Principal, the late R. I. T. Alles.

Her distinguished pupils at DS include Dr. Harsha Alles, Dr. Allan Ludowyke, Dr. Aloka Pathirana, Jaffer Sattar, and former Sri Lanka cricket captain Aravinda de Silva.

Amarasinghe was an old pupil of Southlands College and Sacred Heart Convent, Galle. A leading figure in the National Girl Guide Movement, Padmini introduced guiding to many schools that she taught in. She was the District Commissioner of the Kalutara Girl Guide Association at the time of her retirement.

In 2003, Amarasinghe received a Gold Medal for her 50 years of service at the Girl Guide Association of Sri Lanka. She also did a yeoman service to the poor in the area of Kalutara as the founder President of the Housewives’ Association’s Kalutara Branch.

Padmini was married to N. S. Amarasinghe who was also a much respected Principal in the Kalutara District. She is still a strength behind cheerleader Percy, who is living with her at Kalutara North.

Percy mentions with gratitude that her sister was the one who presented him his first cricket book, ‘Farewell to Cricket’ written by Sir Don Bradman.

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