Beacon Hill Academy was established in 2003 by Canadians Rebecca Mears and Matt Baker with the help of Kyle Patmor of USA and several local teachers. Rebecca, Matt, and Kyle had all taught in Sri Lanka previously and saw the need for postsecondary education to be made more accessible to young adults in underprivileged districts like Nuwara Eliya.
The school is currently operated by Schools for Asia Educational Foundation, registered Sri Lankan NGO No. FL-117004.
Please send all correspondance to:
Beacon Hill Academy
18 Wedderburn Road
Email: contact (at) beaconhillacademy.org
We enable our students to make a positive difference in their communities by:
Since English is a main requirement for most jobs in Sri Lanka, all our classes are conducted in the English medium and we maintain a strict English-only policy. In class, we use a variety of communicative methods to improve our students’ grammatical accuracy. Through interactive activities based on the local culture and context as well as lots of practice, students learn to be able to correct their own work by the time they graduate.
Business Management is taught to students to prepare them for their future role in the business world, giving them the skills necessary to become a good employee or employer. Students learn how to motivate and get along with different people, be assertive, gain an appreciation for the different positions in a business, and understand the dynamics of the various aspects of a business. One major project during the year involves students forming a miniature business with a small amount of seed money and then running the business during BHA’s annual Fun Fair.
Keyboarding & Office Computing
Students learn the basic skill of keyboarding as the foundation for this course, designed to make a student capable and confident in handling basic office administration tasks on the computer. After developing their keyboarding skills, they move on to word processing tasks and learn the basics of Microsoft Office applications and Internet usage.
An Integrated Student Body
In addition to these technical skills, students also learn how to work together as a team toward common goals, using differences in class, religion or ethnicity as strengths.
Because of languages differences, most students in Sri Lanka grow up attending schools that are exclusive to their own ethnic group. For many, coming to Beacon Hill provides them with their first opportunity to study in an integrated setting. In a country recovering from decades of ethnic conflict, this serves to break down barriers, correct stereotypes, and build bridges based on genuine friendship and shared goals.
Sri Lanka Unites
Sri Lanka Unites is a grassroots youth movement promoting hope and reconciliation in Sri Lanka by uniting young people from all the various ethnic and religious groups across the country. Beacon Hill students have participated in several national Sri Lanka Unites events and have formed a local chapter in Nuwara Eliya.
At Beacon Hill, several extra-curricular activity days are held throughout the year so that students can practice building teamwork skills in a fun, hands-on way.
One of the main extra-curricular events used to promote teamwork building is our annual Talent Show. Students perform traditional dances, skits, and musical numbers and are responsible to work together to coordinate the entire event from start to finish. It is from such experiences that the student body becomes cemented together in a way that is impossible to acheive through classroom study alone.
However, Beacon Hill is more than just a vocational school. Since most students are unable to attend university, we also aim to increase their general knowledge of the world and their ability to think critically about issues that are relevant to their lives. Our goal is to help students to develop confidence, strong ethics and independent thinking skills so that they can become leaders in their communities and workplaces.
Character & Ethics
In this class, based on The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey, students practice critical thinking with regard to their personal beliefs and their interactions with other people. The goal is for their self esteem and sense of personal power to increase as they learn to take responsibility for their lives and explore different paradigms of life.
Students gain confidence and fluency in English through learning to organize and deliver formal speeches and presentations. Through a program based on Toastmasters International, students are taught to research issues, think on their feet, and increase their listening skills. These skills are showcased during our annual Speech Banquet when the top speakers are chosen to deliver speeches at a formal business dinner.
The purpose of this class is to expand students’ critical thinking skills as well as their general knowledge of the world by providing them with a survey of the arts and sciences. A wide range of topics are covered, ranging from Shakespeare to astronomy to comparative religion. Students concentrate on improving their academic writing skills in this class and basically receive a “mini university” experience.
Finally, our hope is that all of the above will be joined together with a desire to serve the community and use what they’ve been given to make a difference in other people’s lives, not just their own. This idea is summed up in our school motto: “Live a dream. Make a difference.” Through the various community service projects done throughout the year, students get to practice their leadership skills in hands-on ways.
Three times per year, our students get together as a school or in smaller groups to do service projects in the community. These have included organizing events for local orphanages and special needs schools, entertaining senior citizens in nursing homes, and large-scale cleaning projects in town. Here, some BHA students are shown with boys from a nearby young offenders home, where our students spent the day doing activities with the group.
Students are also responsible to plan, organize, and conduct their own individual service project during the year. Here a student is shown cleaning the area around an unused bus halt so that it could be once again used by local residents. Other projects have ranged from teaching life skills to elementary school children to raising money so that a poor family could buy a milking cow to use to earn income.
Rotary International is a well-known organization of service clubs located all over the world. Beacon Hill students have worked together with Rotary on several service projects and have formed a local Rotaract (student-based) chapter in Nuwara Eliya. One recent project (shown below, right) involved educating village members about how to prevent dengue fever.