Sunday, February 13, 2011

125th Aniversary Celebrations Of A School

The school next door to my home called "All Saints Middle School" celebrated its 125th. anniversary yesterday the 12th. February 2011. The school was previously known as the Saint John's Vernacular School and was established in 1885 by the Danish Missionaries and was handed over, in 1946,  to the late Mr. S. D. Rajendram who was an educationist and a strict disciplinarian. On his passing away in it was taken over by his daughter, the late Mrs. Grace Ponniah (1962 to 1981) and subsequently by his son, the late Mr. R. Ambrose Navamani (1981 to 2000). The school is now being run by the granddaughter of the late Mr. S.D. Rajendram and the daughter of Mr. R. Ambrose Navamani, Mrs. Rosette Jegajothi Selvakumar. The school was renamed as "All Saints Middle School" in 1946.

The vision of the school is to "Educate Everybody",
The mission of the school is to "Impart Education To The Unreached" and
The aim of the school is "Illamyil Kal" which means "Education At An Young Age".

The school was staffed by teams of teachers who were very dedicated, strict disciplinarians, following the foot step of the founder, and they passed on their legacy to the teachers who followed them and is now also staffed by dedicated  and strict disciplinarians. The school has standards from the 1st. to the 8th. and a strength of some 200 students mostly drawn from the lower socio-economic group of people, but they are also well dedicated in their studies.

The school starts at 08:50 a.m with the singing of a prayer song, a recitation of a couplet known as the "Thirukural", a song called "Tamil Thai Vazhthu" - a song in praise of the State of Tamil Nadu where the school is situated, a recitation of a memorized verse from the bible and with a prayer by one of the teachers. The couplet known as "Thirukural" was written by a sage named Thiruvalluvar and they are very elaborate in just two lines and the children are taught the meaning of the couplet by the teachers and they are supposed to recite it from memory during the assembly. The Thirukural deserves a blog on its own..

After the arrival of the Chief Guest, Mrs. Girija Vaidyanathan an Indian Administrative Office and other invited dignitaries, the function started of by a prayer by the pastor and the singing of the "Tamil Thai Vazhthu" sung by one of the students. 

The Chief Guest And Other Dignitaries On The Dias
A picture of the girl singing the song is shown below.
This was followed by the presentation of bouquets to the invited dignitaries like the chief guest etc.
 This was followed by a dance by small children carrying the letters
"W E L C O M E" 
hanging around their necks.
This was followed by local indigenous dances by some girls.
Then there was a skit by some boys arguing about the value of each number - the number one claiming that he was the biggest number and the best as he stood first and so on with number claiming the he was the best because he had the greatest value. The number zero just laughed and kept quiet. So a teacher was called to settle the claim to which she called number one and asked him what value he was? He replied that his value was one and so the teacher called the number zero to stand beside number one, the value was immediately increased to ten. She did so with a few other number ending up with nine and repeated the same procedure. Each time that the number zero joined one of the single numbers the value of the number went up. So the teacher settled the question as to which number had the biggest value by stating that it is zero.

This was followed by another dance by some girls holding umbrellas.

Then came the speech by the Chief Guest followed by the presentation of a memento to the Chief Guest and then prizes to the student who had excelled in various activities by the Chief Guest.

Mementos were presented to the old school teachers who had retired and to the teachers still serving.
A picture of the Chief Guest with the retired teachers of the school.

The function came to a close with the singing of the National Anthem followed by a sumptuous dinner. Of course all of the dances and activities of the students was interspersed with speeches by the various dignitaries with the presentation of  mementos to them.