The most touching moment of the night was when Shubham, a Teach For India summer school student walked on to the stage and gave a speech acknowledging his journey from not being able to frame proper sentences and failing in grammar tests to coming here today and addressing the audience. For this he thanked, Aditya Narayanan and Dhvani Doshi, two of the fellows amongst the many others who were graduating that day to form the 2012 batch.
When I spoke to Aditya, regarding his relationship with Shubham, this is what he told me, I’ve left this quote unedited so as to retain it’s essence,’ For him to come up and thank me the way he did, felt special because he came and thanked me not just for the 3 weeks of learning, but also for what he would take away from this in the long term, he has understood the importance of hard-work, and to me that is what matters the most. He’s a great kid and he’ll do great in the future. Incidentally, as I write this, I’m also texting him because he just sent me a ‘hope you reached safely sir’ message from his fathers phone’.
This was after, four fellows from the graduating batch walked up on stage to sum up the last five weeks of institute, the trials and tribulations they went through, bouts of self doubt and the warmth and support of their colleagues and students which inspired them each day along the way. Each fellow tapered down their talk to one particular child who’s progress left them and the audience as well, spell bound.
The event was flagged of by Shaheen Mistry, the CEO of Teach For India, giving a talk on the various shades of responsibility, leadership and care the fellows will have to display in the duration of their tenure. This was followed by a slide-show of pictures show-casing the past five weeks of institute and by seeing how the all the fellows cheered and clapped, it wasn’t difficult to tell that combined by a vision, all these individuals who didn’t even know each other a month back, have come together seamlessly.
Amongst other ceremonies, the memorable ones were the presentation wherein two fellows took us through the progress made by the summer school students in Reading, Writing and Math due to the work done by the fellows and a medley of songs performed by a small group, which cumulated in them marching across the auditorium to the tunes of ‘Umeedo Waali Dhoop, Sunshine Waali Aasha’, a line which perfectly summed up the evening and the optimism of the fellows as they undertake on what could be, the most memorable experience of their lives.
By Shantanu Verma and Anoop Nagendra