In 1918 four Marist Brothers came to Negombo, Sri Lanka, and took over the management of St Mary’s College. In 1922, the school moved to its present site and assumed the new name of Maris Stella College. The history of the Primary School goes back to 1921 when Bro. Lewis was in charge of the elementary school, Standard Two E.S.L.C (Elementary School Leaving Certificate) Class. There were three long cadjan sheds which housed eight primary classes.
The school’s broadcasting services were inaugurated in 1930. Maris Stella installed a wireless set in the library, and the boys followed lessons, such as nature talks to children. Electricity came to the whole of Negombo in 1931. The same year the first Corpus Christi procession took place. It went around the quadrangle. The cadets presented a Royal Guard of Honour.
In August 1939, broke out. The following year the school was requisitioned in part by the Royal Artillery for their headquarters. The Primary School shifted to Tammita Church grounds into temporary cadjan sheds. Then Royal Artillery moved out in November, but the occupied the buildings in March the following year. The College was put under protection of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. There were frequent practices of Air Raid Precautions in schools. Trenches were dug for shelter, and every child knew what to do in case of an air raid warning. The school was in Easter holidays when the Japanese Air Raid took place in 1942 but their invasion fleet was turned back.
The origins of this Catholic college date back to 1922 when on 13th July 1917 four Marist brothers came to the fishing town of Negombo, 34 km north of Colombo, and took over the management of St. Mary’s College, the leading school in the area at that time. They had arrived first in Batticaloa on the eastern coast in 1911. In 1922 the school moved to its present site under its new name of Maris Stella College. The history of the primary school goes back to 1921 when Bro. Lewis Gervaise, a Frenchman, was the principal of the elementary school (1922-1926). Three long cadjan sheds housed eight primary classes.
The brothers who had joined St. Mary’s College, were in dire need to expand their sphere of education in the island (then Ceylon) and searched for new land. In 1920, Anthony Coudert, the then French archbishop of Colombo, transferred to the Marist brothers the property known as ‘Coppara Handiya Estate’ which was in extent of eight acres and 19 perches. The property was a gift to the Catholic Church from two sisters -Mrs. Rosa Isabella De Croos Dabarera and Mrs. Mary Christine De Croos Rajchandra. The two donors wished that the property must be used for founding a Catholic college to provide education for boys of the area.