The D-factor: Kingswood Discipline.

Widuranga Nathavitharana (1990-2003)

image522521To be frank, I’m benefiting the real outcome of those experiences only now, as I go further and further into the professional field.Today In the real competitive world, we have become a part of a race where people try to win by any means possible. No matter whether it’s right or wrong everyone wants to win. But by being a Gentleman of Kingswood, we have the ability to always stand out in many situations because we were often raised with a strict sense of discipline.

When most schools in Sri Lanka focus on producing a well-educated boy/teen/man to the society, I was a one of the few lucky people to be a part of a College where the prime focus was on producing a Gentleman; to be a part of Kingswood College, Kandy, one of the outstanding schools in Sri Lanka, which calls even a six year old Grade One student, a Gentleman.

During my School days, I always wondered why we were called a Gentleman. What’s the meaning of this practice, and what differences did we have compared to our brother schools? But the truth dawned on me only after leaving the school, after being a part of the busy, competitive corrupted society.

From the first day itself, we were touched by the rules that led to “Discipline”. From the day I joined the school, we were asked to walk within the school in a line. A nice straight line. From 8.00 am to 2.00 pm even if two friends were going from a class to another, we walked as a line during the whole long 13 years. Honestly, this was really annoying at that time. I can remember during our senior years, our sister schools used to bug us saying that even If a bomb went up inside Kingwood, all the students will come out in a line without a rush. But later, it made me realize how unique we were, because of the same reason. This annoying little line has made a bigger impact on the fellow school students. It had become one aspect of our identity.

Not only this, we never had a chance to do various fancy hair styles. It was always the so-called “side part” haircut.  We were always forced to polish our shoes. Literally, every day. Wearing the badge was a must. Shirt had to be tucked inside tightly. No “Baggy” style was allowed. Prefects used to check our fingers randomly. If the nails had been long, we had to scratch a tree or a wall as a punishment. No friendship bands were allowed. No pump shoes or so called “Caterpillar bumper” shoes (during 90’s) were allowed. I remember somewhere in 1998/99, we were introduced to a uniform “DI” shoe for the entire school. I was also a little lucky to be an exception as my shoe size was 12 and they had to custom make one shoe for me. J.

We had a special task force inside the school to look after all these disciplinary activities, called the “Prefects”. I remember when we were in the Primary, we were dead scared of three people. One was the Principal Sir, the second was our Primary Principal Sir. Thirdly, it was the Senior Prefect – who, in most other schools, is generally called a Head prefect. During our primary time we were the most notorious brats. We were scared of the Principals because we knew that if we get caught shouting or with any undisciplined behaviour, we will end up with a nice red color “Veval” mark on our butts. But I cannot remember a single Senior Prefect ever punishing a Primary student. But still, whenever we catch a glance of that golden badge with the straight bar and the chains, all of us went stoned.  We used to respect the seniority that much.

Another value addition which our school gave us was its encouraging almost every student to take part in a sport or any other extracurricular activity. As far as I know each and every gentleman in my class was a part of a sports team or a society. We had a number of societies and sports fitting almost every student of the school. This enabled us to learn on team work, organization skills, presentation skills, hospitality, to face winning and losing etc. But the base of all these societies was a common factor: Discipline. Those days we used to participate in all these events just because we wanted to be a winning figure, and to compete among ourselves. But to be frank, I’m benefiting the real outcome of those experiences only now, as I go further and further into the professional field.

Today In the real competitive world, we have become a part of a race where people try to win by any means possible. No matter whether it’s right or wrong everyone wants to win. But by being a Gentleman of Kingswood, we have the ability to always stand out in many situations because we were often raised with a strict sense of discipline. We were trained not only with academic skills, but with all the other skills, which includes accepting victory and defeat alike. We were raised with ethics and a value system to respect others. Today we stand straight as “real gentlemen” in a society gone awry; all because of our Second Mother – Kingswood College.

Always, proud to be a Gentlemen of Kingswood. KFE!

Widuranga Nathavitharana (1990-2003)

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