Phothisamphan Phitthayakhan School earlier this month celebrated its 54th anniversary in Naklua. The ceremony was also held to pay homage to the late founder of the school, Bunmee Akhapunyo, aka Provost Luangpo.
Former Culture Minister Sonthaya Kunplome and Suan Phanomwattanakul, chairman of the Office of Basic Education Commission, participated in the July 10 festivities for the school started on the grounds of Phothisamphan Temple.
Suan Phanomwattanakul, president of the Office of Basic Education Commission, lights candles and incense to pay homage to the school’s founder, the late Bunmee Akhapunyo.
Suan lit candles and incense to worship Provost Luangpo while Sonthaya sounded the war drum to begin the ceremony. Students performed, monks prayed and everyone had lunch.
Prasert Sopharak, a first-year alumnus of Phothisamphan Phitthayakhan School, then read the biography of the late school founder Bunmee Akhapunyo.
Prasert Sopharak, the first alumnus of the school, reads the biography of school founder Bunmee Akhapunyo.
Bunmee Akhapunyo, the revered monk was born in 1913 in Nongket Yai and at age 11, was left by his parents with an old monk at Nongket Yai Temple, where he learned to read and write both Thai and Khmer.
Having impressed the monk with his language skills, Bunmee was given 12 prayer books, which he memorized.
After 8 years, Bunmee left his mentor behind to help his parents farm, but, at age 21, was ordained at Chonglom Temple in Naklua. In 1935, he started the recitation of 227 precepts for a Buddhist monk.
Sonthaya Kunplome, former minster of culture, plays the Thai war drum to signal the opening of the event.
In 1956, Naklua locals Prong and Yin Phansamniang donated five rai to Bunmee to build a temple. He had only 40 baht to spend, but built the temple with donations from the community.
In 1960, he applied to the government to open a Prathom-level school at the temple and, a year later, opened the Mattayom-level classrooms and the school took the name Phothisamphan Phitthayakhan School.
Students perform a traditional Thai dance.