A Pat on the Back

A Pat on the Back

Fame is a fickle friend, it is said. But we think it is also partial. Each year around this time, various NGOs and other organisations felicitate SSC and HSC toppers from the city. The students who are recognised for their academic brilliance often hail from mainstream schools, both private and public, while we often conveniently forget the students that belong to the underprivileged or poorer sections of the society. These students may not score in the high 90s, but if you compare the resources available to students from mainstream schools with those that study in, say, municipal schools, you will agree that perhaps the achievements of the latter deserve equal, if not more, acknowledgement.

On 12 July 2005, 47 SSC and HSC students belonging to municipal schools and tribal villages from Thane were felicitated at a specially organised ceremony. The programme was held at the Thane Manufacturing Association’s Hall at Wagle Estate. Dr B K Mahavarkar, a city-based cardiologist, and the head of a local association (Rotary Club of Thane North End), took the initiative to organise the event with the objective of encouraging the oft-neglected section of the society.   Toppers from 12 schools and junior colleges in remote areas of the city such as Balkum, Kasar Vadavali, Manpada, Kapur Bawdi, and Subhask Nagar were felicitated. Students from a tribal village called Pankhanda, situated off Ghodbunder Road, were also honoured.

Each student was presented a certificate of honour along with a pen set and some food packets. Although most of these children were shy of talking in front of an audience, their teachers volunteered on their behalf and thanked everyone for the support and encouragement offered to the students.

Priyanka Marathe, the topper among girls from Mumbai board was also invited to grace the occasion and to share her experience. The presence of Priyanka ensured that the students from municipal schools and tribal village felt on par with those from mainstream schools. While sharing her experience, Priyanka stressed on the importance an all-round approach revealing that she enjoyed herself till December 10, participating in all sorts of extra-curricular activities. Only after that date did she begin to single-mindedly work towards her board exams.

The chief guest of the evening was Principal of Bandodkar College, Madhuri Pejawar. In her address, she commended the efforts of the organisers and said that such initiatives go a long way in promoting the cause of education. She also advised the organisers to go a step beyond and help these students in developing their personalities. She said that grooming the students in matters such as dressing up, speaking eloquently and interacting with people was as important as basic education if they were to succeed.

French Writer, member of the French Academy and Nobel Prize Winner for Literature in 1921, Anatole France, once said, "Nine tenths of education is encouragement." This quote surely holds true for our young friends from tribal villages and underprivileged sections. A gentle pat for their achievements may drive them to achieve further success.

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