REFLECTIONS AS I TAKE OVER AT ST. MARY’S (ICSE)
- Fr. Francis Swamy, S.J.
PRINCIPAL (from June 3, 2015)
It is barely a week since I took over the reins as Principal of this illustrious institution, widely known as one of the most reputed schools in Mumbai, and also renowned all over India. Hence, it is appropriate that my predecessor, Ms Alice Carvalho, read out the Annual Report for the last academic year. Nevertheless, I wish to share a few of my reflections as I assume this position of great
A school (any school) has become a very complex organization in the present global scenario. Many factors go into the smooth functioning of a school, more so in such a developed, urban setting, as Mumbai is. Firstly, there are the children, (gennext, as it is called) who are the products of an advanced technological age, and who are influenced by the media and television as never before. Years ago, children, especially boys, grew up with a ball in their hands; today, they grow up with a mobile or a gadget for video games in their hands. India is generally known as a people of tolerance, patience, kindness and hospitality. But many children today have grown up to be assertive, restless and tense, sometimes displaying severe symptoms of hypertension and stress.
Then there are the teachers and other staff members of a school. And it cannot be said that any one escapes entirely the impact of modern society and technological development. Thirdly, but equally importantly, there are the parents, who have the potential to mould their own children as no one else can. But they too can be affected by the onslaught of national as well as international media.
On to this scene comes the educationist, the Principal, (who, in my case, also happens to be a priest). What can I hope to achieve? What, if any, is my vision? There are several speeches this evening; and so, I can only be very brief. As I see it today, it is quite simple. It is to uphold and continue the glorious traditions of this fine school, St. Mary’s. It is to endeavour to adhere to time-tried ethical and social principles that underlie the sound, inner fibre and being of a school. It is to endorse and promote certain values, which a boy, when he has become a mature adult, will be happy to live by, and which his own family, and even the country, perhaps, will be proud to see in him.
The road may be long and arduous, especially in our troubled times. But the city of Rome was not built in a day! And neither can children, nor people, be built overnight! However, a start, we can all make. I am reminded of the famous lines of the poet, Robert Frost,
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep;
And miles to walk before I sleep,
And miles to walk before I sleep!
Staff members, parents and boys, I am sure that I can expect your cooperation in this undertaking. Thank you, and may God bless you!