Dear students, Teachers. Staff, Parents, Alumni and well wishers,

As I pen these few lines, I am aware that our students are preparing for examinations, that we are on the threshold of the Dussehra, Durga Puja, Muharram and Diwali festivals (though the latter is still a couple of weeks off), that on the educational front the schools are reeling from very tragic incidents and atrocities on children and the reaction of significant players in Government and education. We mourn too, the tragic deaths of the twenty or more persons killed at a Mumbai Suburban railway station. On the weather front we take heart that cooler early mornings herald the change from high temperatures and humidity to more pleasant weather.

What are my reflections on these experiences ? Which of my reflections do I feel may be relevant for you who peruse these pages ?

It occurs to me that the cycle of life challenges us to show the results of our efforts from time to time. When we are children, we are fortunate enough to have these scheduled for us - and thus we can prepare for the same (however, I am aware that a large section of children, if any, don’t feel “fortunate” to have to do exams !). Educators are challenged by current events to review the child protection measures we have in place and judge if students are truly supported in their growth and development, let alone are assured basic safety within the school premises. And people of all persuasionsare invited, during this season,to take cognizance of the balance of light and darkness in our lives.

To our students, I encourage all to consider how they use the time of their childhoods. While at school we need to work with our teachers; involve ourselves in the various programmes, learn how to schedule our times of play and times of work; learn to differentiate between curiosity and distraction, self-expression and disrespectful talk. We learn how to set goals and work towards achieving these goals. We learn that we live life in the company of others not just as individuals, but as a social community.

We, on the school front continue to study our systems and interactions to provide students the best environment for their growth and development - taking into account their psychology at each stage of development, the innate potential each are called to realise and let flower, and the world into which they are called to celebrate their lives. But the staff, administration and management need parents, families and the child himself, to consider these things and work with the school. We have been blessed with a very vibrant PTA Executive committee and I find the Parent and Staff members doing exactly what has been outlined above. Thank you, members of the PTA Executive Body. The PTA Executive Body have been assisting the administration and management in improving the school environment and together we are working in deciding on the book-list for the academic year 2017-18.

We have been blessed with an official visit to the school by our Provincial Leadership Team. The PLT’s annual visit is to guide us into becoming truly an Edmund Rice Educational Institution. This year their theme was on “Collaboration” - encouraging us to embrace the challenging yet only viable way to move effectively forward.

The Hearth Educational Advisors are working with our staff and administration to help us be increasingly more effective. In the month of October, we shall be also be working with Educational Initiatives to see how our teaching learning processes can be developed in the light of the results of the ASSET diagnostic test results.

Our Alumni have been active and supportive. Thanks to the newly elected OCA Executive team a meeting of significant alumni from the various groups was organized on the 18th September and I believe that this meeting breathed new life into the oragnisation. We thank the Old Columban Trust, The 1976 Batch and the OCA for enabling the school to proceed with the support of Hearth Educational Advisors, for the Breakfast and Evening Study programmes for the most needy students of the school and for looking at further ways in which they can support the school in our growth and development.

I end with two quotations which drew my attention recently :

Goethe “Treat people as if they were what they ought to be, and you will help them become what they are capable of being.”

Angela Merkel “Teachers are NOT common people and common people are NOT teachers.”

Wishing all of us every blessing !

Principal, St. Columba’s School