orchid completes eight years shortly!
As we start thinking about this expression, which will be published in the January 26 2014 issue of Orchid Speaks to be released on the sixty-fifth Republic Day of our country a sense of reflection and reminiscence appears to be setting in. How far back one would go into the past or in what manner is not clear. Awareness of the intent of this article, in a very subtle manner, influences it to provide a glimpse of the state of our school!
Due to the strong impact of advertisements and salesmanship by the media and the appealing malls children are losing their ability to make responsible choices. Parents feel helpless in stressing upon their children even some basic family values and concerns. Children who could not been worked upon “successfully” by their parents reach schools adding to the challenge of teachers.
The assembly presentations of the senior and junior schools this morning centred on Christmas. They were interesting and heartening to watch because they were organised by the non-Christian teachers of our school. The Christian teachers, who could have done better, were celebrating this occasion at home. Our school celebrates all the festivals enthusiastically and with equal ease. It is a joy that one cannot distinguish children from the different communities or regions of the country in any of the contexts experienced by us. On the contrary, one comes across interesting and challenging questions from, particularly the smaller children, related to God and Religion, which clearly indicates that the parochial barriers are broken irrevocably. Many of them ask questions related to God and Religion in the most scientific manner, rather than in a faith oriented manner of a diffident or blind seeker!
This morning we were was surprised to hear a small temple bell ringing outside our door. LO! It was two little children, one of them dressed as Santa Claus, who were standing to greet us. The combination of the dress of the children and the temple bell was marvellous, symbolic, and reflective of the emerging culture of our community. The fact that some of our teachers and house parents come up with such ideas, tune the ideas to our context, and implement them so well was heart warming to observe. The little ones gave us dry fruits, which are “permitted” by our school, and not chocolates, which are not “permitted” as gifts of Santa Claus! In return, we gave them Petha of Agra, which was fortuitously available at home.
Going back a few days, one recalls the cultural program of ORCHIFEST solemnised on 21 December. All the dignitaries lit the lamp on the dot at 6.00 PM, as scheduled, and the program ended at 8.33 PM instead of the scheduled 8.35 PM. This was the first time that we ended a program almost on time, which is perhaps more challenging than beginning on time. It was a benchmark achieved due to the well-coordinated enterprise of all the staff and students involved. At the end of the program, the extreme exhaustion and frustration one might notice amongst some, due to lack of planned coordination, was conspicuous by its absence. We called it a happy day with smiles right from our hearts.
As is the intent and practise of our school for the last five years, every child of the school participated in one or more items of the cultural program, depending on the age and capacity. The type of items, the width, and the depth of items was much better than previous years. A couple of were slightly more non-classical than previous years. The reason for this “liberal” approach was that the children identified, presented, and discussed these items with the teachers around in a responsible manner. In a few other cases, the students conceived, designed, rehearsed, and presented the items themselves. Surely, we can reward responsibility and talent with more freedom until one is ready to begin with freedom, which enables a much subtler quality of responsibility.
The theme of the ORCHIDFEST was Bachpan and all the items presented, expressed this clearly. The children re-iterated the theme through different media like songs, dances, tableau, dramas, and presentations chosen appropriate for the age group. It was amazing to observe that every child of performed with such ease and happiness. It is the tradition of Orchid to celebrate the cultural program with the minimal support from props, costumes, and make-up so that we witnessed the intrinsic, creative, and expressive potential of our children. We designed the program to promote, inculcate, instil values of our ancient aesthetics, ethics, and culture so that they are better human beings, while enabling them to enjoy their childhood. Excellent human beings will naturally be excellent and successful professionals. Our cultural programs seem to be developing the aesthetic sensibility of our children.
Where are we with respect to academics? It seems that the academic processes and teacher-student interactions are improving steadily. At the end of this year the ICSE and ISC results are expected to significantly better than the previous years, which should provide the required confidence and further impetus to the school.
The sports, games, and athletics of the school is improving steadily too. The residential PE team is in place. The strategy of inviting appropriate, value based and serious minded external coaches for improving the physical development and education of the students is working out well. Hence, in the time to come the important area of the field should come up very well. Our school participated in several inter-school events in the town and our children not only played well but also bagged some awards!
The hostels are one of the mainstays and strengths of our school. With most the house parents now having experience of a few years, the quality of supervision, guidance and counsel provided by them is much better and richer than in the previous years. The hostels seem like home away from home for most of the well-meaning children, who are interested to grow up well. The children with unacceptable language, behaviour, habits, and tendencies do not see our hostels as their home, because they cannot do what they want. Instead, we guide them, persuade, explain, and expect them to learn and change their ways. Our house parents are people of integrity, with good intent, who will not guide children in the “wrong” manner under any circumstances. They will take care of the children in the right manner, even if the children do not like it, and try to behave provocatively towards them. We observe that in the other domains of interaction with students too, our teachers are patient and take it upon themselves to correct, improve, and guide the children under all circumstances.
The efforts of our team comprising of Chairman, Chief Executive, faculty, staff, and students appears to be yielding the results that we had set out to achieve. The understanding and cooperation of the parents of our children has been extraordinary. The rich inputs provided by the well-wishers and friends of our school were invaluable. We stand grateful to all the segments of people who made the school what it is today, sound, and developing well and in the right direction. Let us hope that the New Year will provide the requisite stability and overall platform to take it to greater heights! Orchid International School deserves to receive a good chance to contribute richly to the field of school education.