Dream India’s Educational Festival
Venue: Vedanthangal GHSS
This event was the first of many more educational events to follow in the year 2019 for Dream India. Vedanthangal GHSS was a New school – New event – New experience for us. The man in charge of the school, Headmaster Kannan sir was very kind & cooperative since the inception of the DI event discussion. Not just the HM sir, other teachers too have been extremely considerate, polite & cooperative and always willing to be of assistance to our DI team. Since the school is remotely located in the Madurantakam taluk of Vedanthangal area, the school’s gathering delayed slightly. Another challenge awaited us in the form of logistics for students. As the frequency of the government bus is very very limited, HM sir requested us to wrap-up the event at 3.45 PM as the bus arrives at 4.00 PM.
Soon after HM sir made the mandatory introductory speeches, we rendered Ayya Manonmaniam Sundaram Pillai’s masterpiece, Thamizh Thaai Vaazhthu. We volunteers then took turns to iterate the itinerary to the children who had gathered in large number [200 nos.] only to prove their mettle and announce themselves to the world.
For all the competitions, participants are divided in two categories: one for students of the 6th to 8th class and the second for students from the 9th and 10th class.
This was the very first event of the day. Drawing topics was announced for the children. Few of the amazing entries blew us away. We asked the kids to be creative and they [few] just delivered. It was not an easy decision to choose the final winners of the competition as all the drawings were great and displayed powerful messages. It was tough to choose from over a large set of imaginative drawings, but we found our star drawings in the end. There were so many diverse, creative and colorful entries, but only a few caught our attention and considered as prize winning entries. Perhaps the winning entries were ‘love at first sight’. We planned to offer more opportunities for these artists in future DI events in this school. The aim of the competition was to encourage participants to think and express their ideas in a pictorial way thereby improving their creativity.
The event next to follow was communication skills building event – Elocution competition. It is an art form, which only a few are really blessed with and others must master it through repeated observations. We the DI panel of judges sat with particular attention paid to pronunciation, grammar and style of the delivery given by each individual. The speech rendered was varied and very enjoyable. DI always conducts this event in an attempt to enhance their communication skills in both Tamil & English in its spoken form. All the kids rendered exceptionally well, winning loud cheers from their teachers and friends. This competition gave a lot of encouragement and confidence to the performers and to all the students present there as well. On completion of few of the speakers, the judges [Satish / Kabilan / Aravindhan] gave a few words of advice for improvement and of encouragement. The young and gifted orators had won our hearts as we were overwhelmed by their oratory skills and preparation. Amidst thunderous applauding, the confidence, expression and talent of the young ones made this elocution event truly memorable.
We were supposed to break for lunch by now but we were told that there would be one-hour delay owing to technical issues concerning the gas stove. However, that delay did not deter the determination of the children and they all collectively gave us go-ahead for the third event of the day – Tirukkuṛaḷ event. Dream India team always conducts this event as a round of quiz format than a normal recitation competition. Objective is to mainly stimulate the children’s memory power and kindle their interest in Tamil language. Students were notified prior to the event on the Adhigarams that contains 10 couplets or kurals in each to be prepared for the event. This is one subject area where our DI judging panels [Satish / Kabilan / Aravindhan] were completely dazed by the participating teams. There was no one kural that was left unanswered. Satish & I tried to tough it out but we were proven wrong until the end. One team [I think it is TEAM D] that was outsmarting us in every possible way, was expected to finish first in the event were outsmarted by another team silently in the end who fought very closely until the Tiebreaker round. Even the teachers were quite stunned witnessing the performances of students to such high level of their ability.
ESSAY WRITING & QUIZ COMPETITION:
We requested the school to conduct the essay-writing event during the school days under the supervision of their teachers. DI team did the evaluation of the essay entries on the event day. This event is to provide the students with a platform where they can pen down their knowledge and perception about the given topic. There were some repeated contents across the essay entries, which we ignored it without any second thought and considered only the fresh ones. Winning entries were adjudged considering factors such as presentation, grammar, content [fresh ones].
Quiz competition is something that we at Dream India team collectively felt needs improvement in students. Kids were struggling to answer even the very basic and the simple GK questions and the kids who are seated as audience too couldn’t answer much for the questions that came their way in the form of a ‘direct / pass question’.
We have expressed our feedback at the end of the event to HM sir on the areas of improvement across all the events and HM sir too accepted it and assured us that more guidance & preparation will be provided to the students.
By 3.15 PM or so we have gathered for prize distribution ceremony. Upon hearing a thanking note from the school management, our DI team of volunteers arranged beautifully all the prizes that are meant for distribution. Every winner ran to the stage with cheers filling their face and some thunderous clapping following them to collect their coveted prizes. We at DI team also expressed our sincere thanks to all who made possible the competition. HM sir, teachers and of course, to all the students who enthusiastically participated.
The smile with which the kids pose for photographs when receiving the prize, medals, and trophies from HM sir or from any other teacher is evident that the best effort put in by DI team did not go in vain. It is for such bright smiles that we at DI are yearning for.
Overall, the competition was a great experience for all and it definitely succeeded our expectations in the quality of work we put in. We received excellent feedback from teachers and students, which we believe provides a very strong argument to our event’s purpose. We will continue to organize activities such as this one in the future as well. It was by 3.50 PM we finished singing our National Anthem and waved a good-bye to all the children.
Photos of the event can be viewed in the below album:
P.S., As a gesture of thanking our Dream India team, one teacher from the school came forward and took us to the ‘Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary’ which is located just a few meters from the school. Madam guided us completely in the Vedanthangal Park and sent us off.