We at St. Joseph’s Boys’ High School celebrated our country’s 72nd Independence Day with great fervor and patriotism. The bad weather could not dampen the indomitable spirit of every Josephite who proved to be a true patriot in every sense of the word.
The whole school wore a festive look as teachers, students and parents were clad in at least one of the tricolours to show their solidarity. ‘It’s a great feeling to be Indian. Let’s spread the feeling all over.’ With this quote as a backdrop on stage, the mood was set.
The program began with a prayer followed by the ISC Choir singing a very meaningful hymn: ‘Here We Are Lifting Our Hands to You’. No better way to give thanks to God for the gift of freedom in addition to the many gifts we receive daily.
Our Principal Rev Fr Clifford Sequeira SJ, welcomed the gathering. He urged the students to think of what this freedom really meant to each one of them. He highlighted the need to speak the language of affection and brotherhood to all around. He encouraged the students to celebrate differences and reiterated the message that respect should guide their every action.
The Chief Guest for the day was Major General B. Thambiah, an ‘Old Boy’ of the school, who was accompanied by his wife, Dr. Mrs. Thambiah. They were felicitated with flowers as a token of appreciation.
This Independence Day was extra special at SJBHS as we welcomed another famous personality, Mr. Dean Jones, former Australian Cricketer. The students were thrilled to see him and hear him speak. He reminded the students of the great personalities that SJBHS has formed and shaped in the past. He mentioned the fact that in order to have freedom one must have discipline. He spoke about Rahul Dravid, SJBHS’ Old Boy. He encouraged the students to stop mediocrity by leaning heavily on our values. He made a reference to Taj Mahal as being one of his favourite monuments as it is built on a very strong foundation. He left the students with a very motivating thought: to be the best that they could be.
The students of Std 9 portrayed the need to place our Indian nationality above any religious differences that divide us. The students of Stds 5 and 6 danced elegantly to a number of patriotic Hindi songs chosen by their teachers.
We often forget our unsung heroes; a tribute was paid to one such lady, Raj Kumari Gupta, who lost the security of her family while helping in the freedom struggle. The students were urged to remember every drop of blood that was shed for our freedom and independence. This paved the way for a Kannada song soulfully sung by the students of Stds 5 and 6.
v Major General B. Thambiah remembered his time spent at SJBHS when he was a student. He passed out in 1963 but still remembers the school song and the school prayer. He told the students that everyone is different: not everyone can be brilliant or not everyone can be a sports person. However, each single individual can be successful by keeping the fire within oneself alight. He said that life has taught him several lessons. However, the most valuable and basic lessons were taught by his teachers in the hallowed portals of this very school. On being conferred every rank in the Army, he shared that joy with his school teachers who delighted in his success. He ended his message on the note that life is not going to be a bed of roses. However, we have to survive and overcome our fears.
The students of Stds 9 and 10 sang patriotic Hindi songs that left most of the audience teary-eyed. The cost paid by our soldiers and unsung heroes is a huge price and we should be forever indebted to them for their sacrifices.
Catholic staff and students, including some parents, moved to the school chapel for a Mass in honour of our Blessed Lady to celebrate the ‘Feast of the Assumption’.
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