In 1873, Rev. Fr. Francis Xavier OMI from Jaffna, established St. Mary’s English School in Batticaloa which later became St. Michaels’s College.
The Old Boys’ Association of the School was inaugurated in 1909 with Rev. Fr. S. Lazarus as the President.
In 1945 Rev. Fr. A. E. Crowther S.J. Rector and Principal of St. Michael’s College, commissioned young old boy S. Arulanantham, who was working then in Colombo, to start a branch association in Colombo.
Arulanantham walked and cycled the length and breadth of Colombo, amidst the overhanging clouds of World War II, meeting the few old boys then working in Colombo. His efforts resulted in 34 old boys meeting on St. Michael’s day, Sep 29, 1945 at Victoria Hotel, (now no more) Olcot Mawatha, after a religious service at nearby St. Philip Neri’s Church.
At this historic meeting A. Thetchanamoorthy was elected president, S. Arulanantham Secretary and A. Ebert Ragel Treasurer. Thus was born the first and oldest branch association. After a few years of activity, however the Association went into hibernation.
Revival and Growth
In 1971 J. Albert Sabapathy convened a meeting, of a group of old boys living in Colombo, in a classroom of St. Joseph’s College Colombo, courtesy B.M. Ockersz who was PTI and SJC.
At this meeting the following office bearers were elected. S. Arulanantham President, Dr. S. Sivasubramaniam and R.C. Perumal Vice Presidents, J. Albert Sabapathy Secretary and B.M. Ockersz Treasurer
The association changed its name to St. Michael’s College, Batticaloa Alumni Association (Colombo Branch) as old girls also started coming out of College.
The first committee meeting after revival was held at R.C. Perumal’s residence in Wellawatte under the chairmanship of S. Arulanantham. After the meeting the essence of the coconut palm promoted good fellowship and bon homie. This set the pattern for future meetings, which are held monthly, like a prayer for the past 44 years.
The Committee, which consisted of 8 in 1971, is now 32 and includes members from the fair sex, which speaks for itself.
Committee meetings are hosted by committee members at their residences or common places with dinner or lunch provided voluntarily. Meetings have been held at the Bogambara Prison premises, Kandy when past pupil late Leo de Silva was Superintendent of Prison there, at Negombo when Titus Cooray was District Judge and at Galle when he was High Court Judge, at Hambantota when I.T. Canagaratnam was ASP and at Beruwela Police Holiday Resort when he was DIG, at I. T. Canagaretnam’s Estate Bungalow , Mylambavely, Chenkalady at Katutara, the residence of our long time secretary F.R. Ragel, at Hotel Hibiscus, Kalutara and Browns Beach Hotel, Wattala both sponsored by S. Sivakumar.
Annual General Meetings are held regularly but attendance could be better.
Activities and Achievements
The first project was the donation and installation of a marble plaque in memory of Rev. Father Joseph V. Sommers S.J., the first the first American Rector, in the foyer of the College to complement those already installed in memory of Fathers Ferdinand Bonnel S.J. and Boutry S.J.
1973 was the College centenary year. To mark the occasion the Colombo Branch published a centenary volume and a two page supplement in the Ceylon Daily Mirror newspaper now defunct. A centenary dinner held at Park View Hotel was well attended
During the period the late Albert Sabapathy was president, a statue of Rev. Father Bonnel S.J., sculptured in Colombo by former College teacher P. Nallaratnam, was taken and erected in front of the College and stands there to this day.
On May 22, 1988 Rev. Father Ferdinand Bonnel S.J. architect and builder of the college was declared a national hero along with four others. With much help from past pupil Walter Diaz who was in the Department of Posts, Sri Lanka, the Colombo Branch sponsored the issue of a 75 cent stamp.
In July 2004 the committee operating from Colombo staged the second Invitation Peace Basketball Tournament at College (The first one was at St Peter’s College ) which was a grand show and a great success. Suffice to say that Batticaloa Town came alive during those few days. A colourful souvenir was published to mark the occasion.
Since then, in commemoration of Basketball Legend, Rev. Fr. Eugene Herbert S. J. The Herbert Basketball Tournament has been organized by the Colombo AA and was held at the SMC courts, Batticaloa, for the fourth time in April 2015.
The year 2005 saw the handing over, in association with the Batticaloa, Canada and U.K. associations a brand new Ambassador minibus costing Rs. 1.5 million for the use of the College students. This was a unique project as few schools in Sri Lanka and none in the North-East had such a transport facility.
The U.K. and Colombo AA jointly donated a public address system costing Rs. 100,000/
The Association’s Newsletter, The Archangel, continues to be published once every three months.
The Colombo AA provides visiting College sports teams material and moral support
The Association has since changed its name to, St. Michael’s College, Batticaloa, Alumni Association, Colombo.