Letter from John Lewis:
Dear Parents, Old Collegians and Friends,
Members of the King’s College community will have been moved by the impact of the Boxing Day tsunami on lives, limbs and livelihoods throughout the region affected, and will have contributed to the heartening appeals for emergency relief. At King’s an immediate donation was made from Chapel Collection funds, but the school community was obviously not in a position in the weeks following Boxing Day to mount a collective response. Questions began to be asked, however, about what King’s might do (and should do) to help with the work of reconstruction once the worst of the initial disaster had been dealt with and at a time when the focus of news would naturally shift elsewhere.
When school resumed in February, a small working committee was formed with Roy Kelley’s blessing. Consideration was given to the possibility of assisting a school in the region and, in particular, Sri Lanka. A Sydney headmaster representing the Australian Heads of Independent Schools’ Association, of which John Taylor and Roy Kelley in their turn have been overseas members, has recently returned from a fact-finding visit to Sri Lanka. King’s has now been offered by AHISA the opportunity of establishing a link with Wickramasingha School near Galle on the flood-ravaged south coast. Wickramasingha is a government school with 375 boys and girls, aged 5 to 17, and 18 teachers. One building was completely destroyed and every room on the ground floor suffered severe damage to furniture and fittings, as sea-water went through at a height of two metres. All science equipment and the library with its 3,000 volumes were destroyed or swept away. Some of the classes are now being taught under awnings or in tents, but these arrangements will become increasingly uncomfortable once the monsoon rains come.
Warner Wilder, Chaplain at King’s, sees this attachment as an opportunity for the school to extend its outreach to a community outside New Zealand. Old-timers like myself have been impressed by the way in which King’s now involves itself in the Mangere area via its Community Service programme. Warner sees the Sri Lanka link as a natural and welcome development of such activity, and hopes to lead a first party from King’s to Wickramasingha School later in 2005.
Current students at King’s have recently contributed $2,500 through a mufti-day fund-raiser. It is our hope that the wider community of Parents, Old Collegians and Friends will support the students as they help the Sri Lankan school get back on its feet. We know from contacts on the ground in Sri Lanka that desks, books, and other items of equipment are badly needed, and that a comparatively small sum in NZ dollars (see the list of prices enclosed) will go a long way. In addition we plan to rebuild one or more classrooms at an estimated cost of under $5,000 each. Our aims are to keep our costs as low as possible (mailing the King’s community individually would cost as much as a classroom); to raise a minimum of $20,000; and to have that sum available for use by the time a week of fund-raising activities at King’s ends on May 27. Fund-raising in the King’s community must normally promote King’s purposes direct, but we believe that our project is very much in accord with the purposes for which King’s was founded. We hope for a prompt and generous response, and believe that we can make a real difference.
I write for the Committee as a whole, and with thanks to its members.
John Lewis (St John’s 1955-1959) Warner Wilder, Chaplain
Warwick Grieve (Selwyn 1961-1965) Tim Kay, Development Director (Peart 1970-1974)
Terry Gould (Major 1969-1972) representing the KCOCA
John Lewis was at King’s College from 1955 to 1959. In 1960 he went to Cambridge University as a Girdlers’ Scholar, and completed a degree in Classics. In 1964 and from 1965 to 1970 he was back at King’s as a member of staff. From 1971 to 1980 he taught at Eton College in the United Kingdom, for the last five years of that time holding the position of Master in College, housemaster of the 70 King’s Scholars for whom Eton was originally founded. From 1980 to 1994 he was Head Master of Geelong Grammar School, which has 1600 pupils on four campuses, and is Australia’s largest boarding school. In 1994 he returned to Eton (1300 boy boarders) as Head Master, and continued in that post until his retirement in 2002.
“I am proud that King’s College is prepared to look outside its boundaries to help people most in need. The opportunity to make a genuine contribution to assist a school in Sri Lanka, ravaged by the Boxing Day tsunami, is a humane and just cause that thoroughly deserves our support.”
“As a Christian school we have a duty, not only to reach out to those in need, but also to instill in our students the need to make this ethic part of our daily living. I see this project as a natural continuation and extension of this principle. It is also a wonderful opportunity for the wider King’s community to be part of the College’s Christian journey. Your support is greatly appreciated.”
Rev Warner Wilder.
King’s College students wrote poems about the Tsunami:
Earthquake in the Sea,
Triggers a wall of water
that, destroys the towns
Flags at half-mast for two weeks,
While more dead are being found.
By Manasvi Narula
Grieving for their loved
Ones and for themselves, trapped
Under the rubble
That was their home, their
Family’s home, the place that
They loved and is now destroyed.
By Nick Laurence
The sea, deep, blue,
With tides sweeping in and out
So calm and peaceful….
Just another day
Gone by, yet nobody knows
What is to unfold
Tsunamis crash in,
And with no mercy, sends all
Around to their graves
The street is empty
A lone woman stands weeping
For all that is lost
The sea, deep, blue and
So calm, yet caused the deaths
Of the innocent.
By Seb Cheng
KING’S COLLEGE TSUNAMI APPEAL
The Wickramasingha School’s needs and costs in $NZ
Classroom $4500 each
Computer and printer $1300
Water tank and stand $620
Toilet with wash basin $500
Class set of Library books $200
Set of sports equipment $25
Student desks (each) $10
Tsunami Week (23-27 May)
Each lunchtime there will be fundraising fun activities and sale of food such as a sausage sizzle and cake stall
On Friday 27 May there will be another mufti day
Call to action
Yes, I wish to donate to the King’s College Tsunami Appeal
Amount donated $_______
Please pay by cheque (made out to King’s College Chapel) or provide credit card details below:
Name of card holder ___________________________
Circle one - Visa Mastercard American Express
Card number _________________________________
Expiry date __ / ____
A receipt will be forwarded on request.
Thank you for your support of this worthy cause.