The 5th Decade (1962 – 1971)
Another novel introduction by Fr. Arthur Fernando to augment the finances was the boarding he started in 1962. Having steered St. Peter’s through such a difficult era, he retired on 30th April 1963 paving the way for Rev. Fr. Mervyn Weerakkody Mis. App. to take over the reins on 1st May 1963.
The troublesome period for private school education which began during the tenure of Rev. Fr. Arthur Fernando continued into Fr. Mervyn Weerakkody’s period of Rectorship. His presence earlier at College would have stood him in good stead in steering the affairs of the school during these difficult years.
Appreciating the need for close contact between teachers and parents for the benefit of the students, on 6th November 1969 he inaugurated the Parent-Teacher Association with himself as President and Rev. Frs. Rufus Benedict and V B S Abraham as Vice-Presidents and Mr. G V Gunawardena as Secretary. He had the courage to give more authority to the lay teachers during his tenure establishing Boards of Discipline, Studies and Sports. Considering the future security of the teachers and their welfare, he enrolled them in the Employees’ Provident Fund.
A talented musician himself he showed keen interest to develop musically inclined, talented students and St. Peter’s saw many a musician emerge in both the classical mould and the pop arena. Dr. Sarte de Fonseka, John Molligoda, Douglas de Niese, Bede de Zilwa, Nihal Fonseka and Fr. Claver Perera emerged in this era and in the popular music arena, Bill Forbes, Harold Seneviratne, Menezes brothers, Desmond Kelly and Raddy Ferreira shone. Sunil Perera and the Gypsies too bloomed in this garden school in this era.
Having ensured that St. Peter’s would ride the financial storms of the era, he received a transfer to St. Joseph’s as Rector on 15th September 1971. On the same day, Rev. Fr. Theodore E Peiris OMI took over from Fr. Mervyn Weerakkody.