Mangaluru: With the motto “In Love We Grow”, St Agnes Special School-Bendore, Mangaluru organized their “Annual School Day” on Tuesday, 1 December 2015 at their open air school grounds. Nearly 300 differently-abled students belonging to this Special school unleashed their hidden talents in the form of music, songs and dance-proving to the august gathering that they too can “Dance, Sing and Act”, even though they were mentally challenged/differently-abled. And for the fact, I too was astonished at their various performances rendered by them during the nearly three-hours programme. These children simply enthralled the audience, and everyone who were glued to their seats watching these “Special Children” perform so good just like “Normal Children” were amazed and went “Wow”, applauding them after each event.
Inspired by Christ’s Compassion for persons with disability and the charism of their Foundress Mother Veronica, the staff of special School, strives to help those, under their charge, to accept their condition and to use their potential to the maximum extent and thus leading them towards a better quality of life. This is done, with the support and cooperation of the family and society, through individualized educational programmes, imparting skills for daily, functional, value based living and learn and earn programmes. The school also strives to be a centre for out-reach programmes. The school helps the differently abled students to achieve as much integral development as possible i.e. intellectual development, healthy social relationships, economic efficiency, civic responsibility and spiritual fulfillment in accord with individual potential
St. Agnes Special School which started in the year 1970 as the centenary memorial of the Apostolic Carmel Sisters in India, has played a big role in the field of Special Education. From four mentally challenged children in 1970 the school strength has increased year by year and at present around 300 students are studying at this school. As the first school of this kind in the district of Mangaluru and Udupi, the Apostolic Carmel Sisters, teachers and staff of this school have helped hundreds of children with disabilities in rehabilitating them either in the school programme or Vocational Training Programme. The children who come to St Agnes Special school have acquired daily living skills like brushing of teeth, washing of face, eating, dressing and undressing etc. the fine and gross motor abilities are increased through exercises.
St Agnes Special School educates, taps, and develops the potentialities of these children and youth , both boys and girls, from the age of 3, with it’s Early intervention, Academic, Pre-Vocational, Vocational, Home-Science and Computer Training Programme. No doubt it is one of the pioneering school in Mangaluru catering to the needs of the Mentally Challenged. The school also helps the differently abled students to achieve as much integral development as possible, and has helped hundreds of students to help find out their innate potentialities and showcase their abilities to the World. Through the Hard Work, Dedication, Love, Care and Commitment of the Sisters, Teachers and Staff, many of these students have developed various talents and have shine in academic, co-curricular activities and sports- and many of them showed their potentials and talents during this Annual School day.
The guests and other dignitaries were escorted to the venue by the school marching band, and the programme began with a prayer dance performed by the school children, which was followed by a minute of silence remembering the departed souls. The welcome speech was delivered by Sr M Shruthi AC- Principal of St Agnes Special school, followed by a welcome dance by the students. A colourful drill and display using umbrellas and rings mesmerized the crowd. The students really got into action performing to the medley of Bollywood Action songs. The annual report was presented through audio-video display, followed by a scintillating group dance.
Various students and parents were felicitated during the occasion by the dignitaries on the dais namely the chief guest-Gopikrishnan Konnanath,Vice President-Infosys Ltd, Mangaluru; Sr Valeriana AC-Joint Secretary, Sr M Shruthi AC-Principal, and Irene Pinto- President of PTA- all three of St Agnes Special School. Fardeen, a student SASC was felicitated for winning Vth place in the Football Tournament in the World game held at Los Angeles, USA; Four parents were also felicitated for their achievement and contribution to the society, namely Madhava and Mohammed Rehman (both in the field of sports/athletics); Balakrishna Puthige- awardee of District Rajyotsava Award in journalism; and Ln Kavitha Shastri for her achievement in Lionism and for being the Lion District Governor.
Schoolchildren were also presented with awards: Nandhika, Nishan, Thretheksh, Akdas, Srilaxmi, Jenita, Trishool, Rilson, Sharal, Amithesh and Rayan for completing their SSLC through National Institute of Open Schooling and Karnataka Open School; Other students who were awarded prizes for winning/achievement in National Level Sports were- Eljitha (2 silver medals in Athletics), Anisha D’souza (Basketball-gold medal), Nizam (Football-Gold medal), Sachin Jake (Volleyball-Gold medal), Danon and Thazman (Silver medal in cricket at the Asia Pacific Tournament held in Australia).
Chief guest Gopikrishnan Konnanath addressing the audience and students giving an example of his grandmother, how she cared for him and her kids said, ” All grandparents and parents want is the love of their grandchildren and children, and their respect. It is easy for children to back-answer grandparents. Grand parents, whose life revolves around their grandchildren, are rarely given the love they deserve or crave. On the other hand, those grandparents who have a life of their own, who are involved human beings, who have a social life, a career or fulfilling hobbies, tend to be more respected by their grandchildren. We need to be polite to our parents and grandparents. This does not mean that you should quash every argument at the outset. Let the children and their grandparents speak their mind, but at the same time make sure you (children) are not rude. Do not neglect your parents and grandparents, because they are the ones showed you love, care and support.”
“Chances are that your children will grow up to be negative, critical human beings, noticing the bad in someone before noticing the good. Instead, if you have a grouch with someone, discuss it with your spouse, not with your children. If you had an argument with someone, leave the kids out of it. Your children don’t have to go out of their way to be nice to everyone, but showing respect and being civil to elders is the essence of good breeding. Also regarding these differently-abled children we should make sure we treat and respect them as normal children. They too are human beings like us, and they don’t deserve to be treated different. They need our love and company. I compliment the teachers and staff of this school for moulding these students to lead a better life and develop better qualities and talents. God bless St Agnes Special School”.
A colourful tableau was presented by the training students of St Agnes Teachers Special Education”, and the glittering annual day celebrations ended with a Christmas theme act “Christ has come into this World” enacted well by the special school children. Christmas came early, as “Santa Claus” appeared in his red suit and bagful of candies to be distributed among the kids. Merry Christmas! The entire programme was professionally compered by Jyothi Fernandes- Teacher, and vote of thanks was proposed by Alwyn Peris- Em-member of PTA, both of St Agnes Special school. Long Live, St Agnes Special School which is catering to the needs of the mentally Challenged/Differently-abled!