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Friday, 25 January 2008

A Special Day at School

On the 24th, I had the opportunity and the privilege to be part of a great gathering at my school, Don Bosco Mat. Hr. Sec. School, Thanjavur. This was the celebration of the Silver Jubilee (25 years of the institution) from 1982-1983. It was nostalgic and more a family re-union than a celebration of an event.

Many former Rectors and Principals of this school made it to the function. I remember especially Rev. Fr. Joseph Fernandez, Rev. Fr. Paulraj Maniam, Rev. Fr. A T Thomas, Rev. Fr. Patrick Alphonse, Rev. Fr. Amalraj Thomas. It was sad that Rev. Fr. V. V. Abraham (who gave me my first opportunity to use a laptop) was unable to attend because of an illness which has kept him indisposed in Delhi.

Several teachers, including beloved Mr. Sekar, Mr. Albert, Mr. Souvuriraj, Mr. Armstrong, Mr. Kumar were able to attend the function. Mr. Paulraj, Mr. Gabriel, Mr. Balasubramaniam, Ms. Jacintha, Mrs.Hazell were all part of the events and continue to be involved in the everyday activities of the Institution.

I had the privilege to share a few words about my experiences at school, which was taken in good light by all the former rector principals who had arrived for the solemn gathering. We shared more experiences on our personal life, exchanged business cards and "re-connected" the family. I shall never know how the skills and values imbibed in me through the days at school can ever be repaid for.

Of the past pupils several from the batch of 2004 had made it. The earliest batch who managed to make it had one participant, Dr. Leo Joseph who practices in Thanjavur who also shared his experiences of the earliest days of the institution. Sadly a few residents of Thanjavur Dr.Manoj Xavier and Dr.Anand Mohan were indisposed and unable to attend the function. Most of my batch-mates (1997 pass-out) had the information too late and were unable to plan the trip due to dearth of tickets as the Music festival in Thiruvaiyar has already begun.

The day started with an early and long mass. The function had several performances from both the Primary and the High school. The function took until 1345hrs and was followed by a luncheon buffet in which all the past pupils, and parents of the past pupils partook with the members of the Salesian family.

I had the opportunity to mingle with some of my juniors (past pupils) and get to know them better. This was indeed a most wonderful and nostalgic event. The institution merely did not give us academic opportunity. All the teachers, brothers, Fathers and the non-teaching staff of the institution instilled in us skills to become better people with better values and respect. It was nice to see Ms.Lourde Marie being honoured for her service to the institution as the caretaker maid for the Primary school. I remember her getting me to eat when I was in preparatory school (then called Dominic Savio, in honour of a boy saint chared by Don Bosco.)

The values to treat individuals as equals, to respect everyone's opinion and to put morality above all else are priceless. This is what the institution had instilled in everyone. They had done this with a paradigm of education named "The Preventive System" whereby students are not "punished" for their wrongs, but rather guided in a way they would avoid mistakes and correct themselves had they committed one.

Today, Newspapers talk of the "Education Ministry's" order to prevent "punishment" in schools that cause potential injury. Most schools are ill-placed to really understand and implement this law.

The Preventive System does more than that, it instills self-discipline in the "Individual." In the words of my first Principal in school Fr. Berkman, this Family was, is and will continue to be a place for creating "Persons" (who by definition are people to whom one can relate with, not beings or individuals in isolation) with high regard for morality and social values.

We, the students of this school will always remain Students of Don Bosco Mat.Hr.Sec. School, Dear School of our Hearts!!