History of the School
History of the School
Providence works in unexpected ways. When Mrs. Janet Poulier began her little drawing room school in the year 1900 in a house called Lawrence Villa. she never envisaged that in later years the city of Colombo would be dedicated to St. Lawrence in whose name the first catholic Church was built in the fort of Colombo by Lorenzo De Almeida whose patron saint happened to be the same Saint. When Fr. Robert Fernando built the new parish Church of Wellawatte, he dedicated it to this same Saint- the lover of poor and friend of the youth. Perhaps it was the name of her house that made Mrs. Poulier interested in the life and work of St. Lawrence. Through a Protestant by denomination, in later years she called her school St. Lawrences School.
The Poulier School flourished under this great lady, an educationist dedicated to her calling. In 1930 when Mrs. Janet Poulier found the pressure of work hard to handle, she appointed her niece Miss. Gladys Poulier her successor, though she still remained on the scene as consultant & adviser.
In the early year the school catered to both boys & girls. Mrs. Poulier and her noble band of teachers worked tirelessly and school expanded moving premises from the early ???Lawrence villa which later became the old post office at the site of which stands todays structure, to across the Galle Road where Mrs. Poulir purchased land for her new school building.
When she decided to sell the school Mrs.Poulier was adamant that the school should remain an educational institution institution and refusing an offer of Rs. 200,000 she offer of Rs. 150,000 to Fr.Robert on condition that it remained a school and always bear the name of Lawrence. Thus in 1951 Fr. Robert Fernando purchased the school on behalf of the Catholic Church. The school came under the direction of Miss. Gozmao. In 1953 two Good shepherd sisters with mother Finbarr as the head of the school began their work here. Certain changes were inevitable but the school continued along the same line for some years more.
Girls and boys continued to be educated here till later on the boys were allowed to remain only up till standard 5 and in the early sixties they were stop altogether. Sinhala, Tamil and English classes ran parallelly though numbers at the start were small. Some of the dilapidated classrooms gave way to a new building which included a laboratory as well. An old house at the bottom of the garden gave way to a two storeyed building.
One of the stalwarts from Mrs.Pouliers time who continued to serve the school for many years afterwards on the administrative staff and gave her best loyal and devoted service to the school is the unforgettable Miss. Lou Bartholemeuz. She was associated with the school for almost half of its extince.
The school went onwards from strength to strength and today as an assisted private school holds its own as a small school producing well conducted all round students who take their place in the todays society holding responsible position in various fields. Ten principals have held office in the second half of the school existence with each principal developing the school in one field or the other.
Since it was initially a private school the staff was not transferred and many there were who spent their entire teaching career in the school. The success of the school was in large measure the result of their dedicated loyal services. A word about our parents who were always with the management at all times,- supporting , advising but never interfering in the administration of the school. The wonderful rapport between the management, parents and teachers is worthy of note as it contribute much to the development of the school.
The hallmark of a true Lawrentian is courtesy, versatility and responsibility. Small is beautiful they say- it is advantageous as well. Since the numbers are manageable there is more interaction between students and Teachers and among the students as well. The child, her skills and talents, her home background are all known and these help the teachers to bring out the best in a child or offer her guidance and support when necessary.
God has been generous with his gifts to St. Lawrences and has helped us to grow not just in age but in wisdom and grace as well. To him we humbly rededicate ourselves and declare that all we did was for The greater glory of God as our motto invites us to our patron St. Lawrence we add our salutations with the prayer that his inspiration and guidance will lead us ever onward to greater height and achievement.