Dear Columbans,

On the 25th July, (the 4th Sunday in July) we celebrate National Parents Day!

On National Parents Day, we honour and express gratitude to parents for the efforts they put in to shape the futures of their children. The day celebrates the unique relationship between children and parents and it also provides us with an opportunity to appreciate parents for the sacrifices they make for their children. Parents play a crucial role in their children's lives ‘: for career, social, financial and mental development. The theme for Global Parents Day 2021 is 'appreciate all parents throughout the world'. The theme puts a spotlight on the struggles, sacrifices and efforts made by parents for their children worldwide. For instance, during the COVID-19 pandemic, parents took all responsibilities of their children and took care of them even when they were burdened with their own tasks. The theme has been kept in accordance with the efforts and hard work done by parents across the globe during the pandemic for their children.

What I am writing, I'm penning especially for our students - to encourage you to grow in awareness of the challenges your parents have had to go through and did go through not only out of a sense of duty towards you, but especially out of the love they have for you. Love does pull at the heart strings and this is an essential part of love. Yet, love is also a commitment and a decision to another - a day-in, day-out commitment, which takes work.

I am also writing this to assure you, the parents of our students, that while, I as Principal, have mainly being interacting with you regarding the education of your children, I have always attempted to keep before me, your personal and family challenges during this period of covid while balancing the challenges of running an educational institution under constraints.

I am very aware that nearly all the members of the staff are also parents and that while they have stretched themselves and given of their every effort and more to not only take care of the educational needs of our students, but also their social, health, spiritual and psychological needs, they have had the additional challenge of being parents during this time. Congratulations teachers and staff.

Parents have been coping with the challenges which covid brought to us, not only for themselves, but also for their children and families. As individuals each parent coped with the unexpected which the covid pandemic brought to our lives. Each, as persons coped with the anxiety of managing a sudden threat the whole world was learning and trying to comprehend and deal with. They had to do this, while realizing that they had the responsibility of caring and of being the inspiration, comfort and support of many dependents - especially their children. While a significant number coped with personally contracting the disease, some of them very seriously, they had the added concern for the health of their spouses and children. Some parents had to cope with the loss of a spouse and the challenge of managing a family on their own. Others had to cope with uncertainty in the work-place and impact on the household finances. Yet others were front line workers dealing with public health and safety and possibly having to remain for days, sometimes weeks away from their spouses and children whom they also had to care for. Those who had to work onsite had the daily fear of not only contracting the disease but also the fear of bringing it home. With markets closed parents had to ensure that all requirements of the family were well stocked. With the family confined to the home for months, parents had not only to manage the need for ensuring covid safety protocols but of also ensuring variety in a routine which would have soon become very challenging. With working from home and schooling from home, parents were picking up online skills with their children - being learners with them and at the same time leading the adaptation and learning.

To all the parents – you are acknowledged for the heroism you have shown and continue to show (the pandemic is far from over! – but we’re getting there!). It has often been glibly mouthed that that nothing is so certain than change. You have shown, by your example, to your children how to adapt to change - you have taught them a vital life skill ! Well done!

In this context. I wish the express my gratitude to some of the parents of our present pupils and some of our alumni (parents themselves) who though they have been coping with the challenges of the covid pandemic have helped the school assist other parents of our students in special need as a result of the covid situation. We thank the alumni batches in which though members of their batches have unfortunately succumbed to covid, they have worked to establish awards in the memory of their batch mates.

I encourage all parents to ensure that they and all members of their families who are eligible to take the covid vaccine to do so. The vaccine is our only protection from the covid virus. When the majority of persons in the home are vaccinated, it creates a safe place for all in the family. If every family is adequately vaccinated – the whole nation is protected!

Wishing you continued blessings,

Principal, St. Columba’s School