Dear Columbans, Staff, Parents and well-wishers,,

It recently struck me that as we go about our daily busy lives, maybe we forget the larger picture. I thus looked at the list of special days that the United Nations lists in an effort of help all of us realise our responsibilities as global citizens : You could google this and get the list.

The days which are I believe are most relevant for us in our present time and circumstances was / is the 22nd August : International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief; 15th September : International Day of Democracy; 16th September : International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer and 26th September : World Maritime Day. For, which one of us are not concerned about the situation of our brothers and sisters in Jammu and Kashmir; in many places in our country - the sad increase in the number of vigilante atrocities seemingly against targeted persons, the concern of the widespread fires in the Amazon and in Siberian Russia and the threat to our oceans by the influx of plastics and the rising of sea levels. I'm sure that each one of us can decide on how we can make a stance in favour of our global community. The world has been challenged by the activism of one such young person – the 16 year old Greta Thunberg who has made a stand - challenging the political powers to do what needs to be done to reverse the impact of climate change (I do not subscribe to students missing classes or to social or political activists taking out school students - it just seems the easiest thing to be done – I would rather that bureaucrats and adult workers sacrifice one day of their work or leisure !).

Our school community has taken a decision to actively engage with other schools and educationalists and it is the endeavour of each teacher to participate in teacher-workshops to share in search of how best to enhance our educational efforts. Each teacher also endeavors to prepare a group of students (trying to include our special children in each such group) for inter-school activities and we are happy to share that St Columba's students have shone at many such events. Details of these will be given in this newsletter.

I joined a group of Columban special educators and the Administrator of the Senior school on a 2 day workshop on Inclusive education at one our neighbouring schools. We have prided ourselves at St Columba’s for being one of the schools who pioneered special education in the city. However, the concept of inclusive education has evolved over the years and we need to embrace the evolved understanding of inclusive education and why it is essential that all schools be such centres today. It is our endeavor at St Columba’s to continue to be a truly inclusive school. I hope to write a vision paper of St Columba’s as an Inclusive school in the near future and the same will be hosted on our school website.

We thank Mrs Maria Menezes who has been a teacher in the Junior school for the last 26 years and has decided to take her life on a new course from the month of September. We all wish her the very best. Her stint at St Columba’s has been significant in our 78 year history.

On the 29th August, we celebrated the 175th Death Anniversary of the Founder of the Christian Brothers – Blessed Edmund Ignatius Rice. Mrs Poornima Dhasmana and the Middle School staff hosted "The Edmund Rice Canvas" – an inter-school event – inviting students from Catholic schools through painting and power point presentations to share the vision and lives of the founders of the respective Congregations who run those schools. It was a truly inspiring day. The school community celebrated our love for Edmund in a wonderful programme on the main school filed on the 29th August morning.

Teachers Day, on the 5th September is just a few days away and I acknowledge the sincere efforts of each member of the staff to give of their best for the students. Teaching has never been as demanding as it is today and it is only the visionary, the selfless person and motivated human being who will dare to rise to its call. Thank you, dear Teachers for being such persons.

May Edmund, children like Greta, committed teachers and the many outstanding human beings whom we meet each day, continue to inspire us to partner in the endeavor to create a more just and humane world.

Principal, St. Columba’s School