|Twenty Year Celebration - Friday, 28 September 2012
Twenty Year Celebrations of The Swaminarayan School
On Friday 28 September 2012, The Swaminarayan School celebrated its twentieth anniversary at the BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir, London. The students of both the Prep and Senior schools performed on stage to an audience of some 2000 people – displaying some of the talents and hard work that has seen our school become one of Britain’s best.
The evening began with a warm welcome for Pujya Acharya Swami, Pujya Shrutiprakash Swami and Pujya Shukmuni Swami. The audience enjoyed a dramatic video which highlighted the history of the school and showcased the daily life of students, staff and the wider community. With a sense of the school’s firmly established ethos, the Deep Pragatya (lighting of the diva) was performed and the santos were garlanded. Pujya Shukmuni Swami read the blessings from His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the Founder of The Swaminarayan School, and Pujya Acharya Swami addressed the audience with gravitas and wisdom. The santos then took their leave and handed the stage over to the students.
The main proceedings were truly a reflection of the school, as the focus throughout was on the students’ abilities and accomplishments. The evening was compered by two senior students, Pooja Shah and Vishvam Desai, and they were ably helped by two prep school students, Panav Patel and Nidhi Ladhani. To open the show, prep and senior school students performed a choreographed welcome – an invocation of Lord Ganesh. Our long-serving Chair of Governors, Mr Piyush Amin, then spoke about the challenges the school faced in the early years before progressing to its current place as a genuine educational flagship. Mr Amin spoke with a clear sense of pride, having seen for himself all that has been accomplished. The senior school students followed with a bhajan, emphasising the importance of world peace.
Children from Year three and four performed a Sanskruti cultural dance based on the themes of culture and respect for Mother India. An innovative and creative performance entitled “Instrumental Fusion” followed, performed by both prep and senior students, combining musical influences from both Eastern and Western cultures. Following this, prep school pupils enjoyed the opportunity to deliver a Bhajan expressing their gratitude to the hard-working and caring parents of all our students.
The parents have played an instrumental role in the school’s success. This theme continued in the next act where Sahaj Kotecha recited a self-written speech entitled “Respecting My Parents”. To further exemplify the importance of our parents, students from both schools performed the story of Shravan from The Ramayan. The evening continued with speeches by Prem Vyas and Roshni Pattni, to highlight the school’s focus on public-speaking. These two students spoke eloquently about the importance of maintaining cultural roots in Britain. This sentiment was affirmed with a prep school performance of a Gujarati poem.
After a Vote of Thanks from the Principal of the school, Mr Savjani, the show finished strongly with an elaborate Rang Chaayo dance involving both prep and senior school girls. This lively dance expressed the ideals of Bhakti – devotion and adoration of the divine.
This celebration was a great opportunity to meet not only parents and friends of the school but also former teachers and students. The former students – almost a hundred of whom attended – are already planning to form an Alumni Group, to meet more frequently and to support the school.
This evening event to celebrate our twenty years, with the combined effort of students, staff, parents and volunteers, was a great success. Special thanks go to the Trustees, the Governors, the Mandir (for allowing us to use the facilities), and the Mandir AV, Catering and Cultural departments. The celebrations exemplified not only the ability of our students, but the strength of our community as a whole. Later in the year we are planning other activities including the publication of a souvenir magazine to keep as a memento of the school’s first twenty years.