S.Thomas’ College OBA NSW/ACT - Annual General Meeting 2015

The Annual General Meeting of the STC OBA NSW was held at the Wrights Community Centre in Castle Hill on Sunday November 01 2015. The meeting was chaired by the President Graham Masefield (STC Prep 1956 – 1962 Keble House, STC Mount Lavinia 1963 – 1969 Buck House)

The Secretary Indrajith Gunawardhana (STC Mount Lavinia 1974 – 1978 De Saram House) was pleased to inform the assembly that in 2015, a record number of 70 Old Thomians had contacted the OBA prior to the AGM, of which, 49 had confirmed their attendance with 21 apologies. The committee was heartened by the result, as they saw it as an indication of the greater interest exhibited by the membership towards the activities of the OBA in Sydney. During the year the committee had held a series of functions to cater to the interests of Thomians in Sydney and Canberra. This has resulted in increased support for the initiatives of the OBA; the renewal of friendships, greater awareness of the old school and the development of a good support base for the OBA in NSW. 41 attendees were recorded at the AGM.

At the commencement of the meeting President Masefield requested the assembly to stand and observe a minute’s silence for those who had departed this life in the year under review. Thanks to the good officers of the OBA movement in Sydney and abroad, the membership is kept informed of the sad occurrences, enabling friends to share fond reminiscences of the departed with their families, thus providing support in their grief.  

The President appraised the membership of the activities that had been organised under the OBA umbrella, for Thomians, their families and friends, since the last AGM in November 2014.

  1. The Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols –  November 2014
  2. The Annual Royal Thomian Match –  January 2015 (This year the STCOBA organised the match)
  3. The Special Dinner in March 2015 to welcome Thomians who were visiting Sydney for the World Cup T20 tournament.
  4. The Thora Family night in June 2015
  5. The Special Strategy Session to develop a five-year plan for the OBA – September 2015
  6. The current initiative to develop the STC NSW OBA website
  7. The development of a new initiative to build a special global academic scholarship program for students at STC

It had been an eventful year. Graham thanked each committee member for investing their energies whole heartedly and enthusiastically. Much time had been spent organising each event. Suppliers needed to be sourced, services had to be negotiated, a series of meetings preceded each event, the members had to be informed and then reminded. Venues had to be booked and facilities checked. On the day the committee had to arrange and fit out the venue for the function and often clean up after the event. The volume of work to cater to the expectations was significant. Much of the work had to be done by committee members who gave of their time gratis. In concluding his brief address Graham said that he felt humbly privileged to be working with a committee that had a blend of youth and experience and was often amazed at the contributions made by the younger members in committee.  

The Treasurer presented the annual accounts and invited the members to make suggestions, come up with ideas or share their input about the OBA.

Rex  STC Prep Kollupitiya (Keble) 65-69 : STC Prep B’wela 70-73  (Keble): STC Mt L 74-78 (Stone) had invested much time and effort in the compilation of a detailed accounting analysis of the OBA’s progress over the past five years. Since one of the core aims of the OBA is to divert earnings to worthy, Thomian causes in Sri Lanka, Rex was keen to explain how funds were raised in the past. He also suggested, based on recent experience and results that, the feasibility of having an annual Thomian Dance, with all the associated costs and work should be debated by the members.  During the past year the Thora Curry Night has emerged as a bench mark, with returns significantly greater than hitherto generated by the traditional dance.  It was less work for a greater return. The members were somewhat divided on the matter and no firm decision was made. However, the work done by Rex proved to be an eye opener and the debate will continue. It must be noted that there is community support for the Curry Night. This is evidenced by the responses to a questionnaire that had been circulated.

In addition to the explanation on cash flows and the forecasts of future flows Rex also reviewed the strategic meeting convened to develop a five-year plan for the OBA. The general membership is invited to consider the establishment of a Council of wise heads instead of a Patron. It was a detailed presentation and much ground was covered. A lot of time and effort had gone into the presentation. As a result, the issues that need examination and evaluation can now be debated by an “Informed” membership, equipped with facts and figures.

Indrajith had the most challenging task on the day. To garner support for the establishment of ongoing NSW OBA sponsored merit based Scholarship program. The OBA has already entered into discussions with the Warden on the viability of a scholarship for needy students. The sole criterion proposed was that the student should be academically gifted to qualify for consideration. There was much discussion surrounding the terms and conditions that would apply. Prem advised that the terms should be open and transparent and be clearly enunciated before commencement of the program. Some members felt that the criteria should be twofold i.e. academically gifted and needy. The members were surprised when a video message https://youtu.be/n1PtwsvOQGg was played of the Warden addressing the proposed STC NSW OBA initiative adding his support to the idea. It was apparent that Indrajith had walked much further than the proverbial mile to build widespread support by involving all the stake holders in the planning process. In this regard Ananda Amaranath will be instrumental in the drafting of a Trust Deed that will serve as the legal basis for the proposed annual award.

Indrajith was breaking new ground. The intention was twofold. One to establish a rolling set of scholarships over a period of about 5 years. Two to establish links with other OBA’s and encourage them to follow the example set by the STC OBA in NSW. The committee was amazed when a young Old Thomian who had attended a NSW OBA event for the first time shared his feelings with the President. He explained that he had come with a degree of hesitation but, soon felt he was with a band of brothers. As always, proceedings were concluded with a loud and lusty rendition of the College song, and in a first for the OBA a picture of the entire group. Here is a clip of the day’s proceedings https://youtu.be/R-71kdW4OQo

STC OBA NSW/ACT – 2015/2016

Ananda Amaranath – Hon Patron

Graham Masefield – President

Richie de Silva – Vice President

Eksath Perera – Vice President

Indrajith Gunawardhana – Secretary

Rex Ratnam – Treasurer

Kumar Rasiah

Duke Ramachandran

Bob Praba Subramaniam

Nihal Ramanayake – ACT representative

Lesley Manikam

Jeremy Vandersay

Sujeevan Srikanth

Majintha Weerasekara

Rajiv Chinnah – Hon Auditor