BIS #6303 Don Bosco Matunga 'thanksgiving'

by Susan Philip for BISMumbai

Don Bosco High School Matunga's Annual Thanksgiving Day on 13 March 2021, though devoid of the trappings, was rich in character, displaying evocative memories and intense gratitude, succinctly articulated on the backdrop: ‘Memories laced with Silver and Gold’.

Rector-Father Crispino D’Souza introduced the Chief Guest-Father Aloysius Furtado, a distinguished alumnus of the school, who celebrated the golden jubilee of his ordination in December 2020. Fr D'Souza spoke of Fr Furtado's twin passions - music and sports - that define him as a man for others. A grateful Fr Furtado ‘loaded with wisdom gathered from fifty years of pastoral ministry and with deep love for the school’, in his address, transported the audience to the 1950s and walked them through the riveting sporting history of the school. He recalled the stellar coaches of the school and their contribution. He reminisced the year 1976 when newspapers in the city saluted Don Bosco’s golden era of sports.

The golden jubilarian Chandrika Rai, the silver jubilarians Cleffy D’Souza, Sushila D’ Britto, Christopher Cyril and Arokiaswamy, and the retiring staff Chinappan, were honoured by the members of the management with plaques, bouquets and addresses read. As the day unfolded, Rai mused, “One does not know how time flies when one is happy. If people want to understand the meaning of cooperation, they must come and spend some time at Don Bosco.” He marvelled at the ability of the institute to adapt winsomely to the rhythms of change.

The pandemic and the restrictions imposed, cajoled teachers and student representatives to transform into choreographers, along with Avit Dias, as they welcomed, sang, danced and urged the modest audience ‘to have faith’, ‘to come alive’, and ‘feel the magic in the air’. Cleffy D’Souza remarked, “The jubilee celebration made this Annual Day special for me. I have always been a part of this event, training the kids for the welcome song, and to watch the staff perform was heart warming. I thank the management and staff for making this day possible, with its meticulous execution, abiding by the covid protocol.”

The school brass band, played an Italian composition-overture Rusticanella and a German piece ‘Schwedische’ under the tutelage of band master Saby Franco. Pincipal-Father Bernard Fernandes, in his vote of thanks, observed that the school band showed an astounding passion and resilience to tide over the prevailing circumstances to practise and perform.

The annual school report outlined the digital embrace of the school as it grittily navigated uncharted territory of remote teaching and learning. The teaching fraternity made earnest efforts to arm themselves with the nuts and bolts of online teaching, lest learning outcomes should meet with setbacks. The school was able to conduct most of the activities listed in the school calendar, via virtual meets, and amassed plaudits along the way.

Provincial Secretary-Father Vinod Mascarenhas remarked, ”It was a warm and meaningful Thanksgiving day and felicitation ceremony. It was good to witness the staff of all sections take centre stage, instead of being at the wings under normal circumstances. The new normal does have its positives. You have added some more magical strokes to an evolving canvas.”

The entire event was live streamed for the benefit of students, parents and wellwishers.