Tuesday, October 30, 2007

School Day by Ramesh (9th grade)

This year we celebrated the decade since the opening of our school. It was also the first time that Broadway performers trained us for such a performance. We were all excited, besides the Broadway performers were also performing for our guests and parents.

This was the day that all our hard work and our practices was to bear fruit. We did our best.

First of all the third graders were trained by Michael Shawn Louis to announce each program. I must say that they were quick, clear, and smart in their announcements.

For our first and welcoming program we had Bina (10th grade) dance a classical dance. All of us agreed that she truly had the talent for dancing.

The second item was from our pre-schoolers. They had an action song where they criticized the love and marriage of vegetables. They were very cute with their costumes of a vegetable as well as a marriage dress.

The first graders were heroic with their dance to a beautiful Hindi song.

The fourth graders were magnificent with their costumes of different animals and puppets. They showed us the different dances of some animals in our world. The fifth graders truly became Punjabi with their Punjabi dance. Through this dance we were able to get to know a lot about the Punjabi people.

We also had Dr. George's niece, who is a professional Opera singer, sing a solo for us. It was a memorable experience. Then there was solo piano piece by Praveen. He is a eighth grade student. He played very well and his timing was excellent.

School Day "Pre-show" by Sheeba (10th grade)

As a young child growing up, I have heard the saying "Practice is the key to Perfection", innumerable times from my elders. And this saying truly came into action as I, along with all the other students of Shanti Bhavan practiced for School Day that was to be held on the 26th of August, 2007.

We practiced very hard for the program. Everyday for an hour, the students accompanied with their caretakers, teachers, and Broadway artists worked on improving their performance. As the days came closer and closer to the final day the number of hours for practice increased. It was the most tiring experience for all the people in Shanti Bhavan. By the end of the day everybody fell dead on their beds.

As everyone was into making this show a success, I was engrossed in capturing the hard work going on behind scenes with my camera. While the students were concentrating on doing their best, I was always present in the background capturing images of their hard work and I believed deep inside that the 26th of August - our School Day was going to be a day like no other.

School Day by Praveen (8th Grade)

Click! Flash! Click! The school day had begun. Blue and red armchairs had been arranged in the school building, facing the stage. Thick red carpets weaved their way through the chairs. Beautiful paintings covered the walls depicting scenes of nature: lion, deer, ocean, sunset and so on. Thick red drawable curtains covered the stage and black curtains covered the wings. If you chanced to take a peep through the red curtains, you would see a picture of America and India and in between a beautiful phrase, "Art beyond Borders". To its right, gleaming bright, you would see the logo of Shanti Bhavan.

A shrill horn blast announced the arrival of the parents, the M.E.G band, and guests. The parents got down with enthusiasm. They were excited and were waiting to see their children. After having eaten, the parents streamed into the school building, waiting for the program to begin.

The curtains were drawn and the audience were astounded by the way, Bina of the 10th grade did her classical dance. Next the tiny tots of our school sang a Tamil song on vegetables. Next the KG toddlers taught us what each letter of "Shanti Bhavan" stands for. Next was a dance by the second, third, forth and fifth grades dancing trees, flowers, peacocks, and best of all the boys covered their heads while they painted a man's face on their stomachs. Next we had first grade dancing to a fast Hindi song. Next we had the higher grade children perform.

The nightlingales of Shanti Bhavan, the choir sang songs from Sound of Music and Rent. They were accompanied by the Broadway stars, Michael Shawn Louis and Michelle Miller in singing. Mary-Mitchell Campbell accompanied them on the piano. Next the tenth grade girls danced a Keralite dance. The girls were dressed in Kerala saris. Then the boys of the 8th, 9th and 10th grade did a dance combining all the folk dances of India. From time to time the piano students played littles pieces on the piano, varying from "Green Sleeves" to "Non But Andrai" to "Waltzing Matilda" to Fire Elisa". The best part of the program was the dance that Broadway star Beth Kanopka danced for us and a song Michael and Michelle sang. The program ended with much applause and the Broadway stars were thanked.

After having lunch the children and parents met and the teachers went around talking about the children. They were seated in the cherry garden. The red cherries were ripe, wanting someone to eat them. The granite stone benches were covered; the rocks too. Dry leaves crunched under the feet. Children played on the spiky grass. And wherever you look, you see smiles.

Click! Flash! Click! School Day is over.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Hemanth photographs art time in the dorm

“I took photo for them. Aunty Anjali is teaching the first-graders art. They are painting ducks and flowers.” –Hemanth, 1st Grade, 16/10/07

Dance class for older children

“Cindy and the tenth grade are having a dance class. They are dancing very well. They are the eldest children in Shanti Bhavan.” –Sujatha, 6th Grade, 16/10/07

Sujartha's fellow super racers

“Thangaraj, Aishawarya, Jayathri, Preetha, Aunth Aruna, Vijay, Babu and Manjula are getting ready for a super race.” –Sujatha, 6th Grade, 16/10/07

Francis and company pay their respects to a crow

“This is a picture of Shakti (8th) and Praveen (8th) burying a crow which Karthik (8th) found next to the extension dorm.” –Francis, 8th Grade, 16/10/07

Chetan's fellow dancers

“These are 4th grade children who are dancing in a holiday time. These children are very happy to dance so much. Aunty Chithra is teaching them classical Indian dance.” –Chetan, 4th Grade, 15/10/07

Some beautiful scenery through Gowtham's eyes

“The nature is very nice here. There is beautiful scenery at Shanti Bhavan. It is nice to see trees in rows.” –Gowtham, 5th Grade, 12/10/07

A quiet moment in Yesu's dorm

“This dorm is for 4th , 5th , and 6th grade boys. Their ages are 9, 10, and 11. This dorm was empty because the children went for P.T. The 9th bed is mine. In this picture there are beds and a cupboard.” –Yesu, 5th Grade, 8/10/07

A couple fellows important to Adhavan

“This is a picture of my friends. I took it because they are my friends.”
–Adhavan, 1st Grade, 12/10/07
[First-graders: Dinesh, Hemanth, Kumar]

Shrimati's friends with beautiful scenery

“This picture is of my friends, Sheeba (10th) and Catherine (7th), after class. They are going to their dorm to put away their books before lunch. The scenery was beautiful behind them and they were both beautiful when the trees and flowers were behind them, as a background.” –Shrimati, 6th Grade, 5/10/07

Catherine finds some Harry Potter fans

“Harry Potter fans! Kishori (7th) and Vinceya (7th) are really impressed by J.K. Rowling and her Harry Potter story. They have read the books a lot of times and yet they don’t get bored. Not only that, the whole school is behind this book (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows) – a lot of Harry Potter fans living at Shanti Bhavan.” –Catherine, 7th Grade, 4/10/07

Kishori photographs some smart girls

“Smart girls, getting ready for studying, after having a nice bath in the evening. They are my friends, Shrimati (6th) and Catherine (7th).” –Kishori, 7th Grade, 5/10/07

Vinceya's cool friends

“These girls are my friends. On the left is Kishori (7th) and on the right is Catherine (7th). They are on the grounds, enjoying themselves. They are cool friends. We were relaxing on the P.T. grounds when this picture was taken.” –Vinceya, 7th Grade, 4/10/07

Karthik the mehandi artist

“This is one of my hobbies which I love to do. It is called mehandi. Mehandi is a substance that people use to design and decorate their hands. I love doing them on the hand. I did this picture while I was sick and bored. I think this is one of the best talents God can give a person.” –Karthik, 8th Grade, 25/9/07

Leaping Prakash

“This is a picture of Prakash (10th) jumping off a pile of stones. He wants to show that he can jump the farthest.” –Poovarason, 9th Grade, 22/9/07

Poovarason's view of the new dorm under construction

“This is the view of our dorm under construction from our P.T. field. It is an amazing place to stay in and we are very lucky to stay there.” –Poovarason, 9th Grade, 22/9/07

Rajesh's Baby Scorpion!

“These are my friends who found a baby scorpion in the P.T. ground and we were excited to see it.” -Rajesh, 4th Grade, 22/9/07
[Richard (5th), Ashwath (5th), Clement Abilash (9th), Gowtham (5th), Lokesh (4th), Chetan (4th)]

Friends of Nagu

“I was happy to take the picture. I took the picture to remember my friends. My friends and Katie, a volunteer, were in the picture.” –Nagu, 5th Grade, 22/9/07
[Viji (5th), Janani (2nd), Annie (5th), Katie (Volunteer), Chetan (4th), Yesu (5th), Shrimati (6th)]

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

A Portrait of "Loving Shilpa" by Shrimati

“Loving Shilpa (9th), caring for young children. Shilpa is playing with the new preschoolers that have just arrived in June. They are cool children, happily playing in the P.T. ground.” - Shrimati, 6th Grade, 22/9/07
[Preschoolers: Sharmila, Nanda Kumar, Negigarsi, Arshitha]

Playing Chicks

“We are playing chicks. We are feeding the chicks and teaching them how to eat. These stones are the chicks.” -Shilpa and Marysheela, 2nd Grade, 22/9/07
[Photo by Katie]