LEXINGTON, MA–The Class of 2018, Shishu Bharati students from all three locations gathered with their families last month at Lexington High School in Lexington, MA to celebrate 30th graduation ceremony.
The graduating class kicked off the day at 9:00 AM, by presenting their language projects. The audience included fellow students, families, honored guests, Shishu Bharati teachers and volunteers. The audience could vividly see the relief, thrill and joy of the graduating students.
Then the students, wearing tricolored “sash”, with Indian flag and Shishu Bharati logo, lined up and proceeded to take the podium in the auditorium. They were joined by the teachers and all three Principals.
Raga Chilakamarri, an alumni student from class 2015, and Presidential Volunteer Service Award recipient was the MC for the event. She invited Shishu Bharati’s own Alumni Band to perform Indian National Anthem and American National Anthem.
Seshi Sompuram, president of Shishu Bharati, addressed the gathering. He welcomed and thanked all for being a part of the special 30th graduation, a unique gift to all the fathers in Shishu Bharati community. He congratulated the class and commended the students for their hard work, perseverance, enthusiasm and determination to graduate from Shishu Bharati.
He specially mentioned a student from California for her desire and spirit to continue Shishu Bharati by waking up 5 AM every Sunday, in spite of her family move to California and was proudly graduating on that day. He reminded and urged the class to continue to speak and communicate in their language and spread the wisdom from their culture classes. He also urged them to come back as student volunteers, and be proud members of ‘Presidential Volunteer Service Award.
Raga, then invited all three principals to address the students. First Ms. Renu Tiwarie, the Principal from Walpole emphasized the goal of Shishu Bharati to prepare the young minds with a better sense of their heritage, so they will grow to be the proud representation as parents and grandparents in future. They will also become the voice of the South Asian Community in this land of immigrants. Then Mr. Jay Pandit, Principal at Nashua location invited all of his education council to join him in congratulating the class of 2018. He highlighted the importance of putting in practice what they have learned and give back to the community, the respect and care to each other, to families and to the society.
Finally, Ms. Sulochana Devadas, the Principal from Lexington location, accentuated the power of “Kindness” to all students. She highlighted the need for extending kindness to three most important people – a close friend or family member, an unknown person, and finally our self. She exclaimed, Kindness is free-just like sunshine and when you spread it, you feel like a star.
Shishu Bharati’s veteran Principal, Ms. Sipra Shah, who was sitting in the audience was recognized and appreciated for her service with a loud applause.
Raga, invited the key note speaker of the day, Ms. Shefali Desai, a social worker, CEO and Founder at “We Care Charity”. Ms. Desai’s motto is “where there is a will there is a way”. Through her story, she reflected how “Compassion and Kindness”, when complemented with a dose of will power can make a difference in so many lives, here in the USA and back in India. She revealed that when kids living in the slum are given equal and right opportunity, they too can succeed, beyond all expectations. By doing so, there are 50-slum kids in private schools, and now some are engineers and doctors. Ms. Desai found innovative approaches such as “Grains for education program”, where by slum families are given grains, in exchange for the kids to go to school. To appease her quest to feed the hungry in MA and NH, her organization cooks and feeds about 3,000 people every month at 43-locations. Ms. Desai’s mission impressed and inspired the students and adults alike.
Followed by Ms. Desai, the alumni speaker Mr. Vijay Dariyani, took the stage and reminded people that, Shishu Bharati has grown so big and vibrant since he was student 29 years ago.
He emphasized the influence of Shishu Bharati in his own life and how grateful he is for such an experience.
Then one student from each location spoke about their time and experience at Shishu Bharati. Siven Pratap form Lexington location, expressed his thanks to Shishu Bharati teachers for giving him and his classmates the opportunity. They were all grateful to their parents, teachers, and volunteers for supporting and helping them to be a proud part of Indian Heritage. Ritivik Neti from Walpole location spoke on behalf of all 8th graders and thanked all parents for giving them this opportunity to study in Shishu Bharati and bringing them near to their roots. He was glad that he came to Shishu Bharati. From Nashua location, Manav Makhija has expressed that at times it felt hard to come very early on Sunday mornings to Shishu Bharati, but at the same time appreciated seeing his friends and how he is connected to his family, people, and places in India because of Shishu Bharati’s education. He concluded with Shishu Bharati’s mission statement, that is “Sarve Bhadrani Pashyantu”. This means “may all become happy, healthy, see what is auspicious and may no one suffer in any way”.
Finally, Mohan Kumar, Shishu Bharati’s secretary concluded the program with vote of thanks to all who made that day possible. The ceremony ended before time and all proceeded to enjoy the lunch served in cafeteria.
It was another great year for Shishu Bharati that added about 50 more students to the proud alumni.