Life is a journey. The path we take, what we look back on, and what we look forward to is up to us. We determine our destination. It has indeed been a long and enriching journey of 50 years. We are gathered here today to celebrate the golden jubilee of Carmel Convent School, Delhi. Your presence is a source of inspiration and encouragement for us and I extend a hearty welcome to you all. On this momentous occasion, as I take you down memory lane, I am reminded of what Winston Churchill once said. I quote “You know you will never get to the end of the journey. But this, so far from discouraging, only adds to the joy and glory of the climb”. I begin this glorious journey with a historical perspective.
Mother Veronica of the Passion, the foundress of the Apostolic Carmel was born in 1823. She pursued a call to religious life and her vision became a reality with the birth of the Carmel for the missions. In the year 1868 she founded the Apostolic Carmel at Bayonne, France. 19th November 2006 marked the hundredth death anniversary of Mother Veronica. I had the good fortune of being in France for the occasion. I visited Carmel at Pau where she spent her last few days and I paid my respects at her grave.
‘Carmel Convent School, Delhi seems like a dream come true.’ These were the words of Mother Theodosia who founded this worthy institution on July 16th 1957. She, along with 6 other sisters, was the pioneer of this establishment. To begin with the sisters resided at 65/48, Diplomatic enclave, while the rented school was at 66/48. Mr. J M D’souza, manager Times of India provided tremendous support and we remember him with gratitude.
On 16th July 1957 the first 60 children entered the sacred precincts of Carmel. The school took on an international character with the admission of foreign students from the embassies for classes nursery – std II. To accommodate the growing numbers a bigger house was rented on 4, Kichener Road, now known as Sardar Patel Marg,
After nearly 4 years the prize plot – the present premises was acquired on 15 Feb 1961.
In May 1961 Mrs. Violet Alva, Union Deputy Home Minister laid the foundation stone of the Carmel Convent School building and His Grace Angelo Fernades, The Arch Bishop of Delhi blessed the foundation stone.
Now we present a few glimpses from our school archives.
Carmel Convent School has grown from strength to strength since its inception in 1957. We would not have been what we are today with out the missionary zeal and untiring efforts of my predecessors.
The institution’s objective is best expressed through the motto God’s vision our mission. Through the years our effort has been to Educate, Empower and Enlighten. I thank the Management, Staff & co-workers who help me carry forward this mission.
What would Carmel be without its children! Academic excellence along with co-curricular activities has been the hallmark of Carmel. As some one rightly said ‘the aim of education is the knowledge not of fact, but of values’. We provide a platform to our children to showcase their talents and discover a new facet of their personality.
Our students actively support social issues like environment, literacy and relief. Carmel convent’s out reach programmes include Hindi school, National Institute of Open Schooling, rehabilitation and exchange programme. Our endeavour is also to inculcate leadership qualities in our children.
Such an all-rounded system of education has helped Carmel produce an ever- increasing list of alumni who have made a name for themselves in diverse fields. I feel proud to share with you the achievements of a few of our alumni.
For the first time in the history of the British Judicial system, an Asian woman was appointed a circuit judge on 22nd November 2005. She is none other than Usha Karunairatnam of 1975 batch from this institution.
Abha Adams was the head girl of Carmel Convent School New Delhi in 1969. She is now an education consultant with a number of progressive schools and international orgationsations. She is a writer of weekly column of education for the Hindustan Times.
The two sisters, Monica (of 1990 batch) and Sonica Kandhari ( of 1995 batch) have won the prestigious ‘IIM top women entrepreneur award’ in 2005.
Sanyuktha Chawla of the 1999 batch, is a budding director of Hindi Films. She has worked as asst. Director for ‘Hum-Tum’ and ‘Fanaa’ .
Another Carmel alumni-Jigyasa Taneja- is an independent film maker ‘Dussehera-The festival’- a film by Jigyasa won honorable mention at BAFTA/LA student Award.
Carmel has produced a number of achievers in the field of Performing Arts. Meenakshi Sheshadri , the renowned actor needs no introduction. She is from the 1981 batch of Carmel and is a noted exponent of BharatNatyam.
Arushi Mudgal of the 2004 batch, is an Odissi dancer of repute and has received the ‘Indian President Balashri Award’ and the ‘Original Mind’ award in the field of performing Arts.
Annette Philip is indeed a young achiever from the 2000 batch-she is founder director of ‘Artist unlimited’ –a foundation established to unite artists for promotion of performing Arts with almost 200 members representing 5 countries.
I would be failing in my duty if I do not express my gratitude to those members of Carmel family who retired from this institution after having rendered yeoman’s service and many of them continue to support and inspire us. We will ever remember them with love and gratitude. As a tribute to the glorious past of this institution, students of Carmel Convent School are staging, for the first time in India, the Musical ‘Children of Eden’.
Therefore I would like to thank the entire team - the director Mr. George Pulinkala, the choreographer Mr. Chittaranjan Nayak and Mr. Andrew Hoffland, who has put their heart and soul in training and molding our children into such accomplished singers, dancers and actors. The grueling practice sessions and the hard work of the entire team will be appreciated as the curtain rises for the ‘Children of Eden’.
I am sure you will extend your wholehearted support and co-operation to the Carmel family in the years to come as we march ahead into a new dawn with renewed vigour and hope I would like to conclude with these lines
It’s in our hands
We cannot know what will occur,
Just make our journey worth the taking,
And pray we’re wiser than we were
In the beginning.
It’s the beginning.
Now we begin.