Milestones

1813 Dec 29th
Dr. Thomas Cook with six young ministers leaves Portsmouth in a
mission to establish Wesleyan Missionaries in India and Ceylon. (Dr. Cook and Mrs. Ault died during the journey)
1814 June 29th
Five ministers landed in Weligama. Rev. James Lynch and Rev. Thomas Squance proceeded to Jaffna
1814 Aug 10th
Arrival of Methodist Missionaries Rev. James Lynch and Rev. Thomas Squance in Jaffna
1816
Jaffna English School (Boys’ school) was started on the present
central college premises
1817
A lengthy building of Commandant’s country residence in Dutch rule was bought at a public auction by Mr. James Mooyart, the Sub-Collector
1824 Mar 27th
The building was transferred to the Wesleyan Mission. The site of
the building was known as “Vembadi Mission House” then “Vembadi Veethi Mandapam” now
1825
The boy’s school was shifted to Vembadi campus (There were 40 girls mostly Burghers in attendance taught by Mrs.Schrader)
1834
1834 Synod minutes record that 5 girls, were being taught at the
Mission House – the three daughters of Mr. Price and one Tamil and one Burgher girl – the first products of VembadiRev. Peter Percival is appointed as the Chairman of the district.
Synod minutes state five girls  study at the Vembadi Mission House
1835
An excellent school was run by Mrs. Percival and Ms Aston.
1836 A Female Tamil Boarding School is established by Rev. Peter Percival. No. on roll – 6 adventurous Jaffna girls. Curriculum – a Christian education which emphasizes proficiency in book work and needle work as well.
1837
Mr. Percival has made provisions for girls education in Jaffna.
1838
Female boarding school is started with six Tamil girls as its first
inmates.
1839
The Boarding School gets its first Lady Principal – Miss Twiddy.
Sent out by the Society for Promoting Female Education in China and India
1841
Arrival of Miss Isabel VeraEacott to assist Miss Kilner – first
appointment by the Methodist Women’s Auxiliary in England
1862
Departure of Ms. Twiddy. The school is managed by the wife of the resident missionary for nearly 20 years
1868
First classrooms for the school erected by a special
contribution
1869
Miss Maria Cartwright takes charge of the school
1870
Government Grant Scheme is  introduced. Vembadi opens its doors to inspectors (the thin end of the wedge!) and qualifies for its first grant of 25 pounds
1875
Miss, Cartwright’s departure. Arrival of Miss. Penny. Music and
singing introduced into curriculum.
Rooms for the Lady Principals built are built.
1880
Revised Code introduces 8 standards in school instead of 6 earlier. School officially titled as ‘Anglo-Vernacular School’, in synod minutes.
1882
Miss Kilner is appointed as Principal. Introduction of Tamil proficiency exams for Lady Principals.
1883
No. on roll – 112. Staff – 5. Salary scale for teachers – Head
master Rs. 30/-, Trained Teacher Rs. 10/-, and untrained teacher Rs. 1/- to Rs. 3/-
1884
School officially declared as  the first “Girls boarding school” in the
Island
1887
Miss Kilner retires. Appointment of Miss Merrikin – whose
enthusiasm for the study of Tamil at midnight often led her to be mistaken for a ghost!
1888
Miss.Annie Stephenson, Principal. Rev. Trimmer is  appointed as the Chairman of the North Ceylon District – Mrs. Trimmer gets involved in the school and its welfare.
1892
Launching of extensive building scheme. Configuration of school
compound to remain unaltered till 1925.
1894
First school picnic to Mandativu organised by Mrs. Trimmer. Weren’t those the good days?
English class is formed to prepare  girls for Cambridge local examination. School uniforms are planned at this time – white jacket and cloth for both pupils and teachers.
1896
Miss. Stephenson returns from  England, with a new
school bell. Beginning of regimentation
1897
A sister for the boarding School !. Separate High School set up to
cope with demand for English education is  now developed into Vembadi Girls’ High School. Miss Ireson assumes duties as the  first Principal.
1899
Vembadi blazes the trail. For the first time in the history of
Jaffna, girls entered for the Junior Cambridge and the Calcutta Entrance Exams. Nallamma Tambu is the first successful candidate in the Junior Cambridge.
Nallamma Williams Murugesu passes Calcutta Entrance Exam in the first class and obtains the Keshub Chandra Sen Prize for being the girl candidate who stood first in all India and Ceylon. Well done Vembadi!.
1900 Government grant given to English school – Inspired by the previous years’ achievements, eh?
1904 First Old Girls Re-union held. First rumblings of the ‘Move
Central’ cry heard – surprisingly enough supported by the boys as well.
Govt insists that pupils should do Cambridge and London Exams and not Calcutta or Madras ones. Result – Tamil is now relegated to the back seat.
1907 Sick nursing classes are organized for pupils by Sisters from Puttur.
Beginning of Domestic Science classes.
1908 Miss Hornby Principal. Miss Alphonso joins staff – to teach for 32
years
1909 Junior Cambridge Classes have been started.
1910 Boy’s school crosses the road at last, to occupy new premises – How we miss them! Miss Lottis Spittel – first trained teacher to be appointed to the staff.
1911 Public meeting to welcome a distinguished Old Girl – Dr. Nallamma
Murugesu – first Tamil Lady in Ceylon to obtain the L. M. S. and L. R. C. P. & S. in Scotland
1912 Special classes set up for girls who have already graduated from
the Boarding School and now want to learn English to enhance their
prospects in the matrimonial market Unusual phenomenon of girls aged 20 or more taught by teachers of 17 MissT. de Silva appointed to the staff
1913 Boarding School gets an “upstairs dormitory” – never heard of
before in Jaffna, My Dear! Beginning of earliest log book-in Miss Ireson’s hand writing.
1914 Beginning of World War 1. Vembadi loyally plunges Into Red Cross work.
1915 Miss. Lythe Principal. Vembadi Girls’ High School is recognized by
Director of Education as ‘an efficient elementary school with secondary department, working up to the Junior School Examination’. Infant Department is registered and grant assessed at the highest rate, because of the excellent work.
1916 March 13. Old Girls’ Association formed.
1920 Miss Lythe goes on furlough and for good. Miss Creedy, principal,
she used to hang placards with ‘I can’ in all the classrooms. (This, later becomes motto of Creedy House). First Head Girl appointed – Jane Thamotheram.
1921 Third Jaffna Guide Company formed by Miss Creedy, 12 guides and 3 patrols. Miss Murgatroyd appointed Principal of Boarding
School.
1923 Miss Pickard Principal. 10th Oct. Miss Scowcroft made Vice
Principal of Vembadi – an appointment made for the first time in the
history of the school. Senior Cambridge classes are organized. High School raised to Grade II. Netball pitch laid and cries of ‘defend’ and ‘pass the ball’ echo in the compound. Staging of “The Taming of the Shrew”. Reason for choice of the play – most suitable to Jaffna taste, as inculcating wifely submission. To maintain modesty of girls and so as not to hurt Jaffna’s susceptibilities, women in the cast clad in sarees, and the men in flowing robes.
1924 Feb 7th Vembadi is  made into a Secondary School.
1924 Mar 24th Prize Giving. Principal Miss M. Pickard. Special Guest: Miss C. B.
Horaby, Prize distribution: Miss E. P. Ireson. The House System is introduced. Three Houses, Lythe, Creedy and Hornby named after Past Principals.Staff – Principal, Vice-Principal, one graduate, one trained teacher in the Kindergarten, one Tamil trained graduate and all the rest, unqualified teachers.First Inter – House Netball matches.
A motto for the school – ‘Dare to do right’
1925 Publishing school magazine “The Torch Bearer” for the first
time, with Miss Scowcroft as editor. Brownie Pack has organised. Literary Association is founded. Opening of Domestic Science Block.
1926 The beginning of a long rivalry in the field of games and sports
First netball match between Chundikuli and Vembadi. Sad to say, Chundikuli won! Miss Wilson joins staff for three years. Mr. J. C. Thamotheram retires. No more men teachers at Vembadi, so they said. Miss Kuruvilla – first of many more Indian graduates – joins staff
1927 Miss Pickard leaves and Miss Scowcroft succeeds her. Introduction of Honours lists and Disorder Mark Books.
Retirement of Mr. A. V. Charles from staff of Boarding School Unveiling of, the School Crest. The Torchbearers’ Fair brings in the princely sum of Rs. 1164/- .The Opening of Ireson Block -the new sick room
1930 Y.W. C. A. branch is started.
1932 Still another first! Election of Mrs. Nesam Sarawanamuttu – Old
Girl to State Council. First Woman in Ceylon to receive this
honour
1933 Miss. Dore Joins staff. Thangamma Akka ‘the mighty atom’ retires
after years of devoted service as teacher and  matron – Never again shall we see a person like her.
1936 Miss Barker joins staff for a period of 2 years.
1937 Forming  Colombo Branch  O. G. A. Staging “Quality Street”.
All the characters include the men wear English costume of the period, and believe it or not!.A murmur of disapproval from Jaffna.The end of an era! Since two schools can no longer be
housed in the same compound, to prevent Boarding School from going out of existence altogether, Synod decides to amalgamate it with the Bilingual School at Pt. Pedro. So, Exodus of staff, boarders and many day girls accompanied by Miss Murgatroyd, to Pt. Pedro, carrying with them the spirit and traditions of Vembadi.
1938 Building and compound of Boarding School handed over to High
School, which now reigns supreme in Vembadi.
The Tamil Preparatory is attached to the English Preparatory Dept.
1938 Aug 12-14 CENTENERA CELEBRATIONS – Old Girls from all parts of the island come back to Vembadi to rejoice with her over a 100 years service to Jaffna women and girls – and should we also add, to their
husbands!
1939 Jul 25th Miss Scowcroft’s dream comes true. “The Scowcroft House” is  built at the then exorbitant sum of Rs. 57,000 is opened by Mr. R. Patrick, Asst. Director of Education.
1940 Aug Miss Scowcroft leaves on furlough, handing over reins of government to Miss Barker. Vembadi gradually gets accustomed to a principal who prefers tennis to embroidery!
1942 Jan We welcome back Miss Scowcroft and bid good bye to Miss Barker.
1942 Oct 14th The principal attends the first convocation of the University of
Ceylon in Colombo.
1943 Feb 1st The School Council is revived. School officers given more
responsibility, which certainly adds to their stature !
1943 Jun 25-26 1ndra Ambal” first of the many plays written and produced by Mrs.
C. K. Hoole. The Jaffna public seldom has such a treat!
1943 Oct Scowcroft Home is full – 60 boarders. No more rooms to let
1944 Oct 1st A red letter day. We join the Free Education Scheme Swabasha in the Primary Department. (Reaping the benefits now)
1946 Jan An unheard of thing – 2 divisions in Std. 4 (A & B) Fancy this!
1946 Nov 3rd 3rd Jaffna Guide Company – (our very own) celebrate their Silver
Jubilee. Miss R. Thomas – Mistress of Ceremonies.
1946 Dec 16th Miss Scowcroft decides to leave Ceylon for good. Hard to think of
Vembadi without her. Glad to have Miss Barker again.
1947 Feb 25th Miss R. Thomas is appointed Guide Commissioner for Jaffna. We
rejoice with her.
1947 Aug 1st Inter House P.T. Competition held for the first time and the
Creedyites win the Chandramalar Niles Cup.
1947 Oct 6th Department regulations penetrate the school. Christians and
non-Christians meet in separate Assemblies for worship
1948 May 1st School raised from Grade III to Grade 11
1949 Jan 17th A Fourth House is created. Name : Scoweroft, Colour: Blue, Motto : Aim High – We expect great things of it.
1949 Sep 6-7 Farewell to Miss Barker. Welcome to Miss Mabel Thambiah – Our first national Principal.
1950 Jan 17th Miss R. Thomas is appointed as Vice – Principal.
1950 Jan The first land mark in Miss Thambiah’s rgime. We started H. S.C.
Arts & University Entrance classes
1950 May 25th We seek contact with the Homes. Inaugural meeting of the Parent Teachers Association
1950 Aug 12th The school sends a Relay Team and 2 athletes to take part in the Inter-club Athletic Meet in Jaffna. What’s more, they win the Relay Cup and 1st place in the 100 metres flat race
1951 Sep 7th More revolting from Jaffna girls! One of our athletes take part in
the 100 and 200 meters flat race in the Junior A. A. meet in
Colombo.
1951 Oct 9th We stage “Barets of Wimpole Street.” A great success
1952 Jan School raised from Grade 11 to Grade 1. Miss G. Vadivelu appointed Lower School Supervisor.
1952 June School and Old Girls bid farewell to Mrs. C. K. Hoole and Miss T De Silva.
1952 July 11-12 “Mid summer revels” in Vembadi.
1953 Sep 25th “Sarasangi” adaptation of Shakespeare’s “Cymeline’ is  staged at the Town Hall.
1954 Jul16-17 “Northern Light” twinkle in Vembadi
1954 Dec Our first venture into a giddy social life. The first H.S.C. Union
dinner. What will they say? We get our first male member on the staff (permanent) What’s more, He’s young ! !
1955 H.S. C. Science classes started.
1955 Feb Prefects take their oath at a solemn installation ceremony.
1955 Sep Another dream comes true. A new block is put up to house Home
Science and Science Laboratories, the Library, the Geography room and any odd classes that wander around homeless. Vembadi becomes the meeting place of the Nations. World Industrial Fair organised by the Education Department. We run the French stall, and what chic French women we make!
1956 Tremendous attempt to keep pace with modern educational methods. We get a new tape recorder and film projector for the school – and use them regularly.
1957 Pottery classes are started. We begin to cater for the more
practical minded in our school.
1958 Those from behind the Iron curtain visit those behind the Cadjan
Curtains. We welcome the Cultural delegation and a group of teachers from the U. S. S. R.
1958 Sep 6th Our Jeans – clad P. T. Squad marches off with challenge cup awarded by Lankadipa for the All Island P. T. Competition, held at the Oval.
1958 Sep 29th The ‘Australian Crusaders’ meet the Jaffna Schools, Net ball Team
on our grounds.
1960 National Education bill passed and Vembadi becomes a Director
Managed School.
1961 The school was vested with the Government.
1962 Vembadi was selected as the only “All Island School for Girls” in
the North. The Senior P. T. Squad took part in the all Island P. T.
Competition and came 2nd, winning the Asia Foundation Challenge
Trophy.The “Ireson Block” is  converted into the “Principal’s
Bungalow”.Inauguration of the Hindu Association. Saraswathy Pooja is celebrated for the first time.
1968 Gandhi Centenary. Sri Jeyaprakash Narayanan and Srimathi Vijayalakshrny Pandit visited the school and the inauguration of t he Sakthi Senai Group of senior girls. The school is reorganized into two sections with Miss G. T. Vadivelu as Principal of the
Kanishta School. Staging of the dance drama “Suganya”The School Western Band is formed. They won the First place
in the first all island band competition.
1969 Completion of the five class rooms and three Science laboratories
in the Mabel Thambiah Block.
1970 Completion of Mabel Thambiah Block with an Assembly Hall.
1971 Opening of Mabel Thambiah Hall by Dr. P. Udagama, Director General of the Education Department and Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Education.
1971 Mar 22nd Ms.Mabel Thambiah retires and Miss Pathmasany Arumugam assumes duties as Principal
1972 The primary Section of the School is terminated. Pre -vocational
subjects are introduced in the curriculum.
1973 Construction of the Saraswathy Block and the Chemistry Laboratory.
Golden Jubilee Celebrations of the 3rd Jaffna Girl Guide Company of Vembadi Girls’ High School
1974 New look is given to the class rooms along Vembadi road and named as Vembadi   Veethy Mandapam
1975 Dec The first batch of students under the new educational reforms
were inaugurated in 1972 sat the NCGE Exam.
1976 Sri Lanka hosted an International Conference. The Non – aligned
Summit Conference. Our school band, both Eastern and Western participated in the events to welcome State guests.
1981 Miss P. Arumugam retires and Mrs. A. Rajaratnam takes over as
Principal. The introduction of the Non Formal Education Unit. Stenography Course for school leavers.
1983 Prize Giving held after a long period.
1984 Vembadi reaches the coveted status of being made the First National School for Girls in the North.
1985 Year 6 is reintroduced at Vembadi
1986 Difficult years for the school
1987 Due to its proximity to the Fort, Vembadi was also one of the
targets of shelling and bombing. We bravely decided to remain in the premises despite frantic suggestions to leave our premises for security reasons. We have saved our traditions of 150 years old
1988 The completion of the 3 storyed “Ariamalar Rajaratnam Block”.
Frantic moves to repair the damaged buildings and re-equip laboratories.
Our Library lost most of its valuable books – a colossal loss.
1988 June 28th & 29th “150th ANNIVERSARYCelebrations”.
1989 Miss Ratneswary Rajaratman takes over
1993 Mrs .S. Skandarajah is appointed as Principal
1995 Oct Mass exodus from Jaffna. Vembadi was no exception
1996 Feb 1st Mrs.K.Ponnampalam assumes duty as Principal of Majestic Vembadi in the corridors of Chavakachari Ladies College
1996 May 13th Back at Vembadi. Pathetic to see our grand old lady in ruins.
Buildings damaged, Loss of furniture and equipment and priceless
literature and photographic records.
1997 Mabel Thambiah hall was reconstructed and now
the hall stands majestically
1999 A decision was taken to build a 3 storey building in place of the shattered ‘Vembadi veethy mandapam’. It was erected and named as ‘Kamaleswary Ponnampalam’ block in recognition of the principal’s strenuous effort.
2000 Basket ball court was constructed to promote the sports skills of our students.
2003 March With funds received from the Ministry of
rehabilitation , ‘Rev. Peter Percival’ block was built and is used as
‘library’ & ‘General Science laboratory’ now.Peter Perceval Block and Library and learning resource centre was constructed in ground floor to reading materials to students.
2003 Aug – 2004 Aug A project was carried out at Vembadi by
Japanese Internaional Co-operation Agency. We received the 1st runner-up award for Best pilot school among the 25 schools islandwide. We came first among Tamil medium schools and second among Island wide schools.
2004 The teachers and students corner was formed to enhance the talents of students in various fields such as sports, quiz and other extra curricular programmes.
2005 The Saraswathy statue was erected.Saraswathy is the god of knowledge and wisdom. Her presence in our school will radiate the minds of our students.
2007 The playground had been renovated to enrich the physical skills of our students. Our students are trained here throughout the whole year.
2008 The Basket ball court had been renovated. We always have good teams which scored several places in the competitions.
2009 Vembadi entrance gate had been renovated with grandeur elegance. It provides a majestic look to our school. Also a new learning centre has been attached with our students corner now. This centre promotes the skills of our students and also provides ample opportunities to practice in the life.