St. Mary’s College is the oldest boys’ school in Kegalle, Sabaragamuwa Province, Sri Lanka.
St. Mary’s College is one of the oldest boys colleges in Sri Lanka, having a history of nearly 150 years. It is the school of many distinguished citizens in Sri Lanka from sportsmen to political leaders. It was established in 1867 adjacent to St. Mary’s Church as a vernacular English school and came under the direction of Benedictine Missionaries. It was Rev. Fr. Domenico Pingulani who initiated the school and was in religious missionaries between 1864 and 1880. St. Mary’s College Kegalle was the fifth established Catholic boys’ school in Sri Lanka after the schools of Colombo, Jaffna, Kandy and Galle.
In 1893, the Jesuit Missionaries from Belgium took over the management of school and were in charge of the college from 1893 for 76 years. This period could be called the “Golden Age” of St. Mary’s College and it is during this period that the school took its initial steps in the direction of the “Pathway to the Heights”. The first Parish Priest was Friar Neut, who came from Belgium. From the beginning, the school was famous for the best results at the Cambridge Junior & Senior Exams. The school maintained a very high standard. This was best illustrated by the fact that it admitted overseas students (especially Indians) as early as the 1990s.
Since its early days, St. Mary’s has been famous for scouting. The scouts of yesteryear have participated many activities both in Sri Lanka and overseas as well. The school has also been famous for its sports and extracurricular activities. St. Mary’s has an unparallelled record in sports and many alumni who excelled in them and have taken part at the national level and some have even represented Sri Lanka in several international events. For example, in the 1950s John Perera and Mr. Farook from St. Mary’s College were members of the National Youth Football Team and participated in foreign tour as well. The other sports students and alumni excelled in are cricket, volleyball, table tennis, carom & boxing. Under the guidance of the Master in Charge of Cadet Platoon, there was also a Shooting Club in school.
In the late 1950s, St. Mary’s College had its own observatory with a powerful telescope. And from this very early point of time, St. Mary’s College was honored as the pioneer school in relation to astronomical studies.