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KARACHI, Sept 20: It was a memorable occasion for students, teachers and other staff members of the St Lawrence’s Convent Girls’ School on Tuesday. They had gathered to take part in the platinum jubilee celebrations of the institution which has long been held in great esteem. And the celebrations did commensurate with the rich traditions of the school.

The evening commenced with a Mass held in the St Lawrence’s church. All those who attended the service then proceeded to the school ground, which was chock-a-block with students and their parents, to celebrate the 75 years of the institution’s existence. Sr Helen McAllister was the chief guest of the event. She was presented with a bouquet.

Head-girl of the school Ayesha Amin Khan was the first speaker of the evening. She told the gathering that it was a happy day for all those associated with the school and all had gathered to share their memories of the institution. She requested Sr Helen McAllister along with Archbishop Evarist Pinto to unveil the plaque commemorating the 75 years of the school, which they did and were heartily applauded.

School principal Christine Martins also delivered a speech. She termed it a nostalgic joy to be celebrating the platinum jubilee of the institution of which she had been a student and was appointed the principal in 2006. She said her love affair with the school dated back to 1971 when she was enrolled as a pre-schooler. She said that during her stint as a pupil she learned a lot of things, including a strong set of values — truthfulness, honesty and integrity — which she identified herself with. She mentioned with great respect the F.M.M. community of sisters responsible for the establishment of St Lawrence’s Convent School in 1936. In the beginning there were only 115 children.

The sisters who founded the school knew that the only way to empowering women was to educate them. She said the institution had managed to maintain a good reputation despite being nationalised in 1972. She thanked profusely all her staff members, students, former principals and benefactors for extending their generous support. At St Lawrence’s school they tried their best to make it a happy place to be in for students, she said.

After her address a slide show was presented. Ms Martins briefed the audience about the various pictures and images that appeared on the screen during the show, indicating the 75-year-old journey of the school. As per the presentation, St Lawrence’s Church was opened in 1931, the convent was founded in 1932 and the school was established in 1936, hence its platinum jubilee celebration. Between 1972 and 1990 the institution remained nationalised.

The various names of former principals and heads of the school along with their pictures were also screened, followed by the different events that took place on school premises on a regular basis. The slide show was wholeheartedly appreciated by the students who cheered loudly every time a familiar face appeared on the screen.

This was followed by some assorted tableaux items presented by children, including two performances of nursery students to the famous Shahzad Roy number ‘Laga reh’ and Strings’ song ‘Main to dekhoon ga’.

After that Sr Joyce Correa came to the podium and thanked everybody for joining in the thanksgiving prayer.

She said the school always imparted quality education and even when it was nationalised the standard of education didn’t drop.

Sr Helen McAllister in her speech thanked and acknowledged the principal and other staff members of the school for putting together the platinum jubilee event. She particularly talked about those, and extended gratitude to them, who during the nationalised period of the institution kept it going and kept its standard intact.