Story by Mike Hogan
Photo and video by Alex Parra
Webmaster & Videographer
Mathematics teacher Ruth Moonesinghe announced her retirement to her classes, effective November 8. Her plan to retire at this time coincides with the opening of her son’s new pop-up restaurant in Washington, D.C. She told her students that the name of the restaurant will be “Ammi, “ which is a Sri Lankan word meaning “Mom.” Moonesinghe has taught for 30 years, the last 17 of them teaching calculus at SPHS.
“What I always tried to instill in my students was integrity, hard work and service,” Moonesinghe said. “I was fortunate to have students who believed in those same values and will carry on my work. As an immigrant, those three values have helped me succeed and do well in the US. I would hope that everyone would try to do the same. It isn’t about intelligence. You can do anything through hard work and dedication. Service to others will help you to be happy.”
Principal Janet Anderson expressed the high school’s appreciation for Moonesinghe.
“We are so grateful for the years Moonesinghe has influenced our mathematics department and the SPHS culture of giving back. She has inspired many students to carry on philanthropic endeavors. She continues do to the same in her own private life. We wish her well in the next phase of her life, that includes a foray into the Sri Lankan restaurant business with her son,” Anderson said.
Senior Jamilah Hah has been Moonesinghe’s student and TA.
“I had always heard about the rigor and challenges of her class but after experiencing it firsthand, I know that it has changed me for the better. Ms Moonesinghe is a teacher unlike any other; she is filled with passion and care for her students. She pushed me to my limits and accompanied me through all of my challenges. I learned to see the world as more than just school, and studying. Without her, I wouldn’t be who I am today,” Hah said.
Calculus for a Cause and the annual holiday Sock Drive were both born from Moonesinghe’s love for giving back to the community, and her legacy of giving will continue through these two projects. In addition to managing a restaurant, Moonesinghe plans to tutor students in math and travel to London and Sri Lanka.