Agartala: A Salesian Sisters’ school in northeast India has come up with a novel idea to stay connected with children during the Covid-19 lockdown times. The Sisters reach Monday school assembly to children’s homes through social media.
The idea was born, on the feast day of their foundress St. Mary Mazzarello, 13 May, 2020. Almost 50 days since the Lockdown due to Covid 19, and the Sisters missed the children – both boarders and day scholars, who used to be so much of their life.
“Our community and the entire environment used to be filled with joy and happiness, of fun and laughter and youthfulness,” recalls Sr. Albrida, Principal of Auxilium Girls School Agartala, capital of northeast India’s Tripura state.
Director of Auxilium Girls School Sr. Celine D’Cunha says enthusiastically, “Suddenly a desire came to me to send a festal message to all the students and so together with my community, a vibrant and youthful one, we planned a short assembly animation and sent it to all the classes through the WhatsApp groups.”
Giving the format of the special assembly Sr Celine says, “All eight Sisters in the Auxilium Convent community, prepared a 20 minute song, dance and recitation in honour of St Mary Mazzarello. Oh, it was so much fun putting it together.”
The feedback and comments given by parents and children were “so heart warming, expressing their nostalgia and longing to be back in school, missing the school, and missing the assembly.”
“Taking the clue from there,” Sr. Celine who was earlier six years principal of the school says, “we thought, why not send an assembly animation every week, with the intention to keep ourselves connected with the students and their parents, to communicate some cherished values of our society.”
“The experience has been more than what we expected,” says Sr. Celine listing 11 topics of the weekly assembly animation sent to the students so far.
“The assembly was full of fun and it made me feel fresh. I really like the hand exercises and I had lots of fun to do it with all the Sisters and their dance was very energetic,” says Jayanti Deb student of class 8C.
“The special feature of these assembly animations is that the entire family waits to watch them on every Monday morning,” says Mr. Dhiman Debbarma, whose two daughters are studying in the school.
Monday assembly topics included: St Mary Mazzarello, Saint of Joy and Happiness; Family – A Home we love; Care of Creation- our common Home; Empowered Auxilians – Strong Nation; Be the Light - Let your Light shine; Socially Committed Auxilians; Dad – a Son’s first Hero, a Daughter’s first Love. Celebrating International Father’s Day; Mother – Queen of every Home; Children – God’s Precious Gifts; Grandparents – Store House of Wisdom and Knowledge; and Education for Joy and Happiness is scheduled for 20 July.
“Every Monday all students and parents are eagerly waiting for the Assembly Animation and every week we receive hundreds of comments and feedback,” says Sr Celine.
“Our connections have been value based with the intention that together we will live those eternal values that have universal appeal,” Sr. Celine explains.
When everything seems to be crumbling down in these Covid 19 times, Sr. Celine says affirming her belief, “One thing that we can hold firm is our family bonds. We want the family bonds of our students to be very strong and lasting – parents and children, grandparents and grandchildren. We exhort them to enjoy some very warm, loving, caring moments as families. We educate our children to cultivate strong family bonds and learn beautiful family values.”
The 17 year-old school with a total strength of some 2,300 students offers courses in 3 streams: Science, Humanities and Commerce.