KARACHI, Sept 15: The buzz was palpable. The hall was crammed with students — a happy lot at that. There was a celebratory smile on their faces, and it wasn’t because they had achieved some kind of a feat.
It was for their illustrious teachers and domestic staff of the institution, St Joseph’s Convent School Karachi, two of whom (Aileen Soares and Sabra Siddiqui) had completed 50 years of their untiring service as teachers, while the rest of them had successfully worked for 25 years.
The ceremony, organised on school premises on Thursday, was timed to coincide with the event marking 150 years of the institution’s establishment.
The day began by holding Mass at St Patrick’s Cathedral. Then the students, their parents and teachers moved towards the school and entered one of its halls where the teachers were to be honoured. Faiza Qazi efficiently conducted the whole ceremony and looked just as excited as the students who kept cheering at the top of their lungs every time a teacher’s name was called out.
Headmistress Cambridge Section Naseema Kapadia, in her welcome address, said it was a momentous occasion for the school as it was honouring Aileen Soares (a math teacher) and Sabra Siddiqui (an Urdu teacher) who had served the institution for 50 years as well as eight teachers and seven non-teaching staffers who worked there for 25 years. She acknowledged the presence of all the ex-principals in the hall and said not often did such a historic moment come as the school had completed its 150 years of existence.
She also remembered one of the teachers, Shafiqa Fikree, who recently passed away. Had she been alive, she’d have also celebrating her 50-year association with the school, Ms Kapadia said.
Highlighting the achievements of St Joseph’s Convent High School, she said it had produced known members of parliament, educationists, doctors, teachers and women in the media.
Talking about the distinguished teachers, she said it was their unparalleled communication skills with the students that had earned them great respect. She said the dedication of the eight teachers of primary, Matric and Cambridge sections and seven domestic staff also kept the school going. Each had played their role in the lives of students, she added.
Later a video made by Class XI students was shown. It was a tribute to the two teachers on their golden jubilee and an interesting effort which with the help interviews, old photos and footage tried to highlight their accomplishments. The students loved it, particularly when an old picture of Aileen Soares appeared on the screen, they greeted it heartily.
The film was followed by a visual presentation, which was another tribute to the teaching and non-teaching staff on their golden and silver jubilees.
Then, it was the turn of presentations and citations to the eminent teachers and members of staff. Sabra Siddiqui and Aileen Soares were presented with bouquets. Rose Correa, Gulnaz Mondegarian, Shireen Afzal, Z. Sikander, Qaseem Fatima, Seema Yousuf, Nilofer Minhas and Nuzhat Sattar were also given bouquets after which a school choir sang two songs.
The domestic staffers — Sadiq Masih, Mohammad Jamil, Mohammad Rashid, Jawaid Masih, Musthaq Ahmed, Samar Francis and Mohammad Taj — were honoured with garlands.
In her address, Sr Julie Pacheco (principal) said it was a momentous moment for her too because the school was celebrating the 150 years of its existence along with golden and silver jubilee celebrations of its staff. She said some of the staff had been working for 27 to 28 years.
She extended her gratitude to all those teachers and staff members who made the event possible.
She concluded her speech by reading out a teachers’ prayer, “God grant me wisdom, creativity and love.”
In the end, the choir sang the school song and national anthem.— Peerzada Salman