Rector's Report 2017

"Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and all my will – all that I have and possess. You, Lord have given all that to me. I now give it back to you, O Lord. All of it is yours. Dispose of it according to your will. Give me love of yourself along with your grace, for that is enough for me."
St Ignatius of Loyola.

This prayer is at the heart of every Jesuit. Jesuits contemplate, recite and sing it at the end of every activity. The sentiment expressed in this prayer is what comes to my mind as I write this year’s annual report. God has given us everything and we in turn must give everything back to God. Cataclysmic events of this year remind us that it we must always be grateful to God for everything and we have much to thank the Almighty God.

In the month of January North Point opened the Twin Towers for 700underprivileged children of the neighborhood forWinter Camp 2017. The Alumni Association was instrumental in coordinating different activities such as sessions onchild labour and legal issues pertaining to children, moral values, environment, career orientation, hygiene and first aid,a quiz show, introduction to classical violin recital,horse riding, singing and dancing.North Point students of classes 9 and 11 taught English and Mathematicsbesides coaching various games and other sporting events. Every day the students were treated with a sumptuous lunch. I want to thank MrDevenGurung and members of the Alumni Association for sparing their time and even financial resources to make the Winter School a memorable and a lasting experience. A special word of appreciation goes to Mr Rahul Pradhan and for all student volunteers who sacrificed their vacation and gave "…a hand to a faltering brother…a lift for the lame and the slow."

By the time students and teachers returned to the school after the Winter Vacation, the school had worked on several changes, modifications and innovations:a newly painted class rooms furnished with new desks and chairs conducive for modern teaching and learning;a new spacious library in Frazer Halllookinglike an ancient hall of learning yet equipped with digital books, videos and documentaries; an awe inspiring Archives containing the 1936,35 mm Movie Projector, 1939,Electric Organ, 1946, football, old crucifixes of Jesuit fathers and suchrare relics of the past; all the trophies and shields won by North point over her long history; the history of North Point in pictorial form and the portraits of former Rectors of North Point; new academic blocks for primary and ISC;language labs;a new water reservoir with a capacity of 1.25 million liters of waterand fences and walls around the entire campus.

North point crossed another milestone in innovation in setting up an Information Technology Lab, with a facility for high speed internet and where knowledge is imparted through online learning and Google Class rooms.St Joseph’s, Darjeeling is the first school in West Bengal to introduce Google Class for online learning.

Fr DivyanandamIrudayaraj joined the school as the Prefect replacing Fr DevenYonzen who besides teaching took charge of the Minister of the Campus.

The teaching faculty attended a refresher course on ‘Postmodern Learners’ given by professors from Loyola College of Education, Namchi led by its Principal Dr Sandhya Rai, Dr Francis George and DrSebastian. All participating teachers were presented certificates.A three-day Orientation was arranged for all students of classes 10 and 12 at the beginning of the academic year. Fr Santy Mathew, a former Rector conducted the orientation for class 12 boys. Fr Donatus and team from St Joseph’s College conducted the orientation for class 10 students. A group of Career Counsellors from the University of St Andrews, UK impressed upon the class 12 students study opportunities in UK. Consular staff from US Consulate, Kolkata visited the school and spoke onstudy opportunities in the US. North Point was privileged to have Mr Paul Dyer, a visiting teacher from UK, who taught here for a month. He enlightened the teaching faculty on the teaching methods followed in UK. Fr Geff Meagher SJ, a visiting Jesuit gave a seminar to our teachers on how to be a good teacher.

The Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Kolkata visited us with his delegates. He graciously invited North Point’s leadership team to China for an educational exchangeProgramme. Mr D.N. Pradhan, Mr Andre, six student leaders and I participated in the exchange program. We visited Kunming and Beijing. The focus of our program was visiting Chinese schools and learning from the system of education in China.

14 students from Smt Sulochanadevi Singhania school, Thane came to North Point for a student exchange program for ten days. The students stayed in the homes of our students while the accompanying teachers stayed in the school. They staged a cultural show in our auditorium. 12 our students accompanied by two teachers will reciprocate their visit in the month of January 2018.

North Point was privileged to host Fr AjitXess and 70 class 12 girls from St Xavier’s School, Ranchi. There was a special social organized on 28th March evening.

North Point proudly displayed a science and technology exhibition. The Primary department staged a wonderful concert in which each class showcased their talents.Mr Subroto Ghose taught acourse on movie making for our students and his sister Ms Supriya Ghose guided 25 students in a glass painting course.North Point hosted a book exhibition for all book lovers.

We had excellent results this year too. Ramon Mohora and Gaurav Sinha came first in ISC and ICSE. Gaurav’s 96.67% is the highest ever in our history. A total of 25 boys scored 90 % and above, again a new record for North Point.

Of the awards won this year Education Today has declared St Joseph’s School as the 6thRanked Boys’ Boarding School in India and Education World has ranked us 13th in India.

North Point had a fantastic first season in the sporting field. We won basketball in ISC category. We took all cups and shields in the field of volleyball, inter-school volleyball, district level HD Lama and HimaliInvitational Cup. The Volleyball team coached by Mr Parag Ekka is part of North Point’s lore as a‘Dream Team’ from which four boys were awarded blue coats. We won 117 years old Edinburgh shield in Cricket. North point won four out of five matches against St Paul’s in tennis which was revived thanks to the efforts of Mr Pema Tashi. North Point won the first quiz competition hosted by Himali School, Kurseong. Our badminton team won a State level badminton tournament in Sikkim.

North Point boys enjoyed a first ever food festival in which 60 continental and oriental dishes were lovingly cooked by Jesuits and teachers on Children’s day.Celebrations of PD, LD, UD and SD ‘nights’ were occasions of bonding for entire boarding community.

North Point bid farewell to Mr Peter Lepcha who served the institution for over 20 years. The school organized a colorful graduation ceremony for the outgoing class 12 batch. It was a proud moment for all the graduating students and their parents.

Early June the rumblings of an impending agitation for a separate state in Darjeeling were heard. The school was closed down on 1stand 2ndJune due to a general strike called by political parties. An indefinite general strike was declared on 15th June which was to last for the next 104 days. We were in the middle of the first semester exams. We continued with the exams for the boarders with the help of generous teachers who came walking to the school braving all odds. The day-scholars could not come to the School to write their exams. On 23rd the scheduled summer holidays began. North Point organized a convoy of 56 vehicles and reached all the boarders to St Xavier’s College, Siliguri to the anxiously waiting parents. Fr Kinley was waiting for all of us with breakfast, a gesture that will long be remembered.

The school could not reopen after the summer holidays due the indefinite strike. All activities of the school came to a standstill. Perhaps for the first time in our history, grass began to grow in the PD and UD flats. There were no children to play on those fields for 104 days.

We called back all the boarders of classes 10 and 12 to Loyola Pastoral Centre, Matigara on 1st August to begin classes.Our teachers who were in Siliguri at that time took classes for them. Classes were arranged for class 10 and 12 day-scholars at Hayden Hall, Darjeeling from 2nd August. As we couldn’t continue classes in Matigara due to the non-availability of the place, we brought the boarders of classes 10 and 12 in the middle of the night with a convoy of four of our buses, our truckwith provisions, led by our School jeep on 20th August. Generous and brave teachers of North Point took turns to go to Hayden Hall and the School to teach boarders and day-scholars separately.

We called back all boarders to Matigara on 22nd August. Boarders of classes 3-6 were sent to St Xavier’s Alipurduar and boarders of classes 7, 8, 9 and 11 were kept at Matigara for two days after which 7 and 8 were brought to Woodcot and 9 and 11 were brought to the School. On 4thSeptember boarders of classes 7 and 8 were also brought to the school, all done in the middle of the night.Classes continued at St Xavier’s, Alipurduar till puja vacation.Meanwhile we started classes for classes 9 and 11 day-scholars in Hayden hall from 4th September. We conducted exams for day-scholars from 26th to 28 September at Hayden Hall. The strike was called off on 26th September

I would like to place on record all the people who helped us during the upheavals, the teachers who walked all the way to Hayden hall and School, Fr Santy,Fr Sibyand Br John of Alipurduar, Br Gabriel and Fr John Tigga, all our drivers and assistants who took risks to drive in the night and help the school in the hour of need and especially our Boarding Staff and the brave supporting staff who reported for duty every day even in the thick of the agitation being always supportive of the Jesuit Community. May God bless you all.

We reopened the school on 3rd October. Most activities scheduled for the second semester were cancelled. Teaching and learning continued even on Saturdays. Holidays were cut short and academic year extended to 22nd December.

2017 was a difficult and a challenging year. But we have weathered the storm.I end this year’s report with a profound sense of gratitude to the Almighty God for keeping alive the spirit of North Point. Thank you Mother Mary for your blessings and St Joseph, our patron for your protective care. SursumCorda

May God Bless You All!

Fr.Shajumon C.K (SJ),
The Rector
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