The History of St.Antony's College, Kayts
The College is located in a natural surroundings in the midst of the town flanked by two arms of the Jaffna lagoon in the western and northern sides. It is Rev.Fr.Boisseau (OMI), was a pious and obedient priest. With far vision he founded the college and built it adjoining Kayts St.Antony's Church in 1872.
This is remarkably the first Anglo-vernacular school started out side Jaffna peninsula by the catholic mission. The people of Kayts supporting this enthusiastic educationist magnanimously donated six acres of land for the school building and play ground.
In 1961, a drastic change in the administration of the private schools was brought in the country and private schools administrated by the various denominations except grade 1 and grade 11 schools were taken over by the state. His Lordship the Bishop of Jaffna opted to retain five schools including St.Antony's College, Kayts among the186 schools that were being administered by the catholic mission.
The period beginning in 1976, in many ways, is a remarkable one. The administration of the school was given to a lay man, Mr.S.A.E.Ratnarajah. He was the principal of the school for the next 19 years. In 1974, as a result of the appeal it his Lordship by the parents, girls were also admitted to the Advanced Level classes of the college. Ladies were also appointed to the teaching staff for the first time. On the 1st of February 1978, the college was handed over to the state and became a director-managed school.
1979, in an another remarkable event, St.Antony's College was upgraded as a 1AB school. With the introduction of the cluster system, the Kayts cluster was founded in 1986. In June 1990, as the civil war started in the North and East of the country, the people in Kayts vacated their residences and the school was closed. On the 26th of April 1991 when the army operation started towards Saravanai the people were displaced to Jaffna.
In May 1996, when people were permitted to get back to Island, but the college buildings had been so severely damaged it was not possible to conduct classes. Therefore the College was reopened at the primary section of the Little Flower Girls M.V at Karaompon. In March 3rd 1997, with temporary repairs made to the badly damaged college buildings, St.Antony's College put its foot back on its soil to celebrate its 125th year celebration in pomp and glory.The buildings which were badly damaged were rebuilt to its former architectural beauty with the assistance of the G.T.Z. which selected St.Antony's College, Kayts as one of the eight schools selected for the rehabilitation in the first phase.
In 2000, following the promotion of the Principal Mr.K.Ratnasingam's responsibility as the Assistant Director of Education to the Kayts Divisional Education Office, Fr.J.A.Jesuthas who joined the staff in 1997 and serving as the Deputy Principal, took over the college as the Rector. It should be recorded that after the period of 25 years of lay man leadership the college was once again headed by a priest to lead the Antonian family to gain its lost fame and glory in the 3rd Millennium.
During his period Rev.Fr.J.A.Jesuthas worked hard to develop the College in many ways. He took the responsibility of constructing the Computer Learning Center, Science Lab and the library He also took preliminary steps to develop the playground to accommodate a 400m track and brought the sports activities to the highest by paving the way to win the All Island championship in physical training in 2008. Above all, his kind heart of sharing what he has with others helped to build up a hostel for the College in his own initiative to accommodate more than 100 students. This initiative is also a strong footing for the recent victories. Obtaining 3A’s in advanced level in 2005 is a remarkable achievement in the recent history of the College.
In 2009, he was transferred to Illavalai St. Henry’s College and Rev. Fr. K. James Singarayar who was serving as a Rector St .Henrys College was transferred to St.Antony’s College on a mutual transfer. The end of civil war has placed the school in development and progress in education and co-curricular activities. The students continued to show success in education, sports and culture. The College Physical Education Team won the National Championship in 2011, First Runner Up in 2010 and 2012, and Second Runner Up in 2009. Under 21 Boys Relay Team won Bronze Medal in the School Level National Athletic Team in 2010. Tamil Musical Drama (Isai Nadagam) group won First Place in Tamil Day Competitions in 2010 as well. The building in front view of the College is renovated. By his prompt actions and concrete communication skills Fr. K. James Singarayar is able to unite past students scattered in aboard to advance funds and support in sustainable manner. In 2012 the College celebrated the 140th Anniversary of fruitful service of education at Kayts. The past students in all over the world remembered the Alma Mater and organized celebrations in their countries as well. In April 2012 New Alumni Associations were formed in Melbourne and Sydney Australia with the visit of Rector and they showed much enthusiasm towards helping the College Development. Thus under the new leadership St. Antony’s College further progressed becoming one of leading school in the Island Zone.
The rugby football which is very little known in Jaffna got its foundation at St. Antony’s College only in two months from January 2012. The Jaffna Civil Affair Officer Col. Jeyasinghe wanted to start the game in Jaffna and invited leading schools in Jaffna to send players for training. The first to respond positively was St. Antony’s College which sent 10 players for coaching camp. They went to Thuraiyappa Stadium for regular coaching conducted by Mr. K. Kularatthinmandan under 20 team was initially formed. The Commanding Officer of 17thGemunu Watch Col. S. Premawansa also personally visited the college and continued training the players by sending his officers also. The Sri Lanka Rugby Union President and Secretary gave fullest support to participate in All Island Rugby Tournament 2012 which is great leap in the history of Sri Lanka thatfor the first time a Northern school team participating in Rugby tournament.