St Patrick's College, Jaffna.
Alumni Association, UK.

Registered Chartiy in England & Wales: 1088167

Albert Santhiapillai - A Personal Apprciation

Posted by Patrician Scribe on October 18, 2010 at 6:21 PM
Nobody ever forgets a Cool Teacher


To us one of them was Mr. Albert Santiapillai our grade 9 teacher at St Patrick's
College, Jaffna. Mr. Albert Santiapillai with good looks, superior perm and
equally superior access to the school’s sporting events. He possessed a rare
ability to constantly attach real-world application to virtually every academic
field and keep the enthusiastic attention of the students.

We take this opportunity in mentioning his school days, his style of teaching and
commitment to sports with love and appreciation. Albert Santiapillai (fondly
known to many as Albert Master) was born in Malaysia, returned to Sri Lanka
in 1947 with his parents. Interestingly with his good looks young Albert did the
right thing by joining the Holy Family Convent, Jaffna for pre-primary
education and later during Fr TMF Long’s era joined St Patrick's College.
School days and sports:

Albert was the Senior Prefect and a dam good sportsman. Represented the
college athletic team for three years at the All Ceylon Pubic Schools meet held in
Colombo. His events were 100 yards, 200 yards, long jump and the relay.
Played soccer for college and represented Dunne House in athletes, soccer and
cricket and captained both teams. He represented the college athletic team for
five years and captained one year and won many awards at the inter-colleges
sports meets. His interest in Sports continued through his teaching carrier in
helping his students.

As a staff member:

Albert is the grandson of G.C Patrick (who was a head master for many years
when Fr Matthews was Rector) joined St Patrick College as a substitute staff
member in the early 60s after completing the London Advanced Level, quickly
secured his permanency and taught in the senior classes. In the mid 60s he joined
Aquinas College and successfully completed a Bachelor of Science Part I London
exam with science subjects, but was unable to continue as he could not get study
leave. Later in 1967 on a no pay leave he completed his Special Science Training.
In 1961 Fr John Mary was appointed as secretary of games and in the same year
Albert was appointed as “coach and master-in- charge of athletics” to assist Fr
John Mary.

He served under four Rectors at St Patrick’s College - Fr Jeevaretnam, Fr
Mathuranayagam, Fr John Francis and Fr Francis Joseph. He also taught the
present rector Fr Jerome and former rectors Fr Justin and Fr Bernard.
He is a qualified soccer referee, cricket umpire and sports official, and was
Secretary of inter-colleges athletic association and secretary of inter-colleges
cricket association. As a result of all these he was popular, known to other school
members and to many sports fans in Jaffna.
He was appointed secretary of games in 1983 and promoted to special post grade
1 in 1984.

He moved to Canada with his beloved wife, whom he married in 1969, and three
kids in 1988. In Canada he got actively involved with Old Boys of St. Patrick’s
and was with the pioneer group that institutionalized the Old Boys Association of
Toronto and had been the President of the SPC -OBA in 89/90 & 90/91. He is
very happy & proud that his students and many Patricians are doing well, all
round the globe and thankful to them for their love and sincere appreciation for
being in touch with him.

Looking back on 40 years in schools, we would say that students have always
been difficult. If they can annoy teachers and get a laugh, they’re going to do it,
because they're young and have their eye on the main chance.
In his decades of teaching at SPC, Albert always stressed to us that he would do
his best to make his lessons interesting and relevant; however, it was student’s
responsibility to attend school regularly and to participate in class to the best of
their abilities. From 1980 to 1988 he was the section head/senior master at SPC
for grade 9 &10.

As a senior teacher/section head for many years, he started his classes by
explaining the importance of the subject he was teaching to them and how it
would help them now as well as in their future jobs. He also taught us strategies
of how to learn the subject.

Albert was not the sort of teacher who got work done. He was the sort who
worked hard himself to share and inspire. His form of approach always brought
a relaxed atmosphere and there was a surge of confidence among students in the
classroom. He was the ideal teacher, a friend and not the standoffishness of
superiority and he was freely accessible whatever the time, wherever the place.
He was a man of exemplary personal qualities and these qualities remain
uppermost in the minds of those who studied under him.

Thanks Albert for your valuable contribution and we Patricians wish you
well.

- CHANDIRAN HOMER-VANNIASINKAM

Categories: Appreciation

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