|Chennai’s Sishya faculty turns 50|
It is a blustery day with the promise of a thunderstorm. The PT instructor blows his whistle, signalling to boys skirting the puddles within the playground to get again to their school rooms. A parade of umbrellas, underneath them a gaggle of ladies, makes its solution to the tuck store adjoining the principal’s workplace. Despite the climate, little ruffles the calm of the urbanely self-confident ambiance at Sishya faculty in Adyar.
The confidence-building train has been on for 50 years now, ever since Sishya’s founder KI Thomas (affectionately referred to as KIT) and its co-founders Thangam Thomas and Grace Cherian, introduced their experiences honed at different hallowed establishments throughout the nation, to determine the college in 1972.
KIT graduated from Madras Christian College, following it up with a post-graduation in Teaching from Edinburgh and London throughout the War years. He taught at Rajkot and Sindh earlier than settling down in sylvan Lovedale in 1951 the place he grew to become the headmaster of Lawrence School, with the onerous activity of remodeling the British navy establishment into considered one of India’s premier public faculties.
Thangam, his spouse who studied at Lady Irwin College, Delhi, is credited with naming the brand new faculty they based.
Grace, who had taught at Lovedale and the opposite Lawrence faculty at Sanawar, was the primary to be recruited, educating math and manners, aided by a blackboard and her booming voice.
The faculty is now run by the KIT Thomas Educational Society, with KIT’s daughter-in-law Omana Thomas at its helm. “Sishya started with 25 college students. Today, now we have 1,200. On campus, we even have Chennai’s first French faculty, Ecole Franco Indienne Sishya. One follows the ICSE/ISE curriculum, the opposite follows the French baccalaureate. Over the years, now we have expanded however our core values to ‘Aspire and Excel’ have remained unchanged,” says Omana.
The faculty that started on Edward Elliot’s street moved to a many-pillared, vanilla shuttered, red-tiled home that belonged to a posh as soon as owned by the royals of Travancore. It lends the campus an old-world appeal.
Kaveri Bharath, ceramicist and previous president of the alumni, and Lekshmy Nair, who teaches English language and literature for Class XII college students, lead a tour across the rain-soaked grounds.
We stroll previous KIT’s bust lording over the doorway and basketball court docket, previous the three-storeyed library and the Travancore home that has administrative workplaces.
“Not taking the childhood out of the kid has been a core precept of Sishya,” says Sandhya Thomas, Psychology instructor. “Mental well being is a precedence and youngsters can stroll in anytime to satisfy the 4 counsellors on campus.”
“Sishya has all the time been a child-centric faculty,” says Kaveri, “one thing uncommon within the Seventies. It had no uniform for some time, lecturers was inspired however the thrust was on extracurricular and cultural actions. Biology lessons with Jayakumar (fondly generally known as Jakes) meant standing in a drizzle and digging for worms within the faculty grounds which was as soon as a lake and recognizing the birds that visited.”
This seemingly completely happy area pushed Sishya to host occasions that discover a place on the cultural map of town’s faculty calendar similar to Sishyamrita (inter-school culturals), Sishmun (mannequin United Nations) and sport-related occasions. “The Sishya fete continues to be a crowd-puller,” says Kaveri.
Lekshmy provides, “To mark the golden jubilee, the college had organised an artwork and literary pageant that includes a bunch of alumni in varied fields and superstar audio system similar to Jonathan Gil Harris, author and professor of English, Ashoka University.
“The alumni shares a robust bond, assembly twice a 12 months,” says Kaveri, “many are dad and mom of scholars, persevering with to return again to a campus they love.”