Educational Trip to China as experienced by St. Lawrence High School
For the past 75 years St. Lawrence High School, has been the torch bearer in the field of education – transforming students into persons of competence, conscience, compassion, character and faith, in collaboration with teachers and parents, for building a better nation. Today, as we are confronted with a rapidly changing social and cultural environment, our focus, as always, is to mould students without compromising on the values of life. We have always encouraged our students to cross boundaries, explore new horizons and acquire enriching experiences, true to the Lawrencian Spirit and Moto – ‘For God and Country’.
It is an honour to mention that St. Lawrence High School is the first school in India where Lawrencians had the opportunity of a lifetime as they visited China for an esteemed Educational Trip sponsored by His Excellency Mr. Ma Zhanwu, the Hon'ble Consul General of People’s Republic of China in Kolkata from 21st June, 2016 to 27th June, 2016. This program is a small step towards building bridges of mutual respect with our neighbours marking the dawn of a new era between China and India. This provides an opportunity for our students to set sail, reach new shores so that they may unravel, understand and celebrate the commonalities and differences of the cultures.
Lawrencians are forever grateful to Mr. Ma Zhanwu, for opening this gateway that has strengthened the bond between the two nations India and China. The group was honoured to have Ms. Jing, the Hon'ble First Consul, with them during the trip. The role played by Fr. Sebastian James, SJ, Principal of St. Lawrence High School, can be termed as ‘pivotal’, without whom this trip would not have been possible.
A great deal of hard work had been put by the students who were selected for this trip. The criteria for selection were based on merit, academic excellence and overall performance irrespective of caste, creed and social backgrounds. Students selected for this Educational Trip attended classes in the campus and learnt ‘Chinese’ during the summer vacation. They also dedicated 30 hours to social service at the 'Little Sisters of the Poor" old age home. Daily practice sessions were held on songs, dance, recitation, yoga and Kung Fu for the performances to be held in China.
The day for our dream to come true finally arrived. It was the 21st June 2016 and began from the moment we landed at the Kunming Changshui International airport. We got an opportunity to visit two esteemed schools in Kunming namely, “Yunnan Nationalities High School” and “Kunming No.1 High School”. Our Chinese friends appreciated us with accolades which drove us into a state of ecstasy. The different elements of the Chinese Culture in all its richness came alive on this trip. The visit to The Western Hills, Green Lake Park and the Golden Temple did add a wonderful flavour to the entire trip. The scenic beauty of the city of spring was ecstatic. The group then made Beijing their second destination.
In Beijing the group experienced some amazing facts and events. We were astounded at the historical background, cultural varieties and the magnanimity of the nation with it’s never to be forgotten character. The performance at the “Beijing Fengtai Vocational and Technical Schools”, in Beijing instilled in us confidence, vigour and an uncompromising zeal. The Great Wall of China with its historic grandeur appealed to us greatly. Tian An Men Square, Forbidden City, Summer Palace, Temple of Heaven and shopping at the Silk Street were equally enthralling.
Overall the experience gathered by all of us on the trip was very enriching. We were very impressed with the politeness, hospitality, punctuality and zeal of our Chinese Friends. The accommodation provided to us was ‘heavenly’ and were taken care with utmost warmth and comfort.
The pivotal role played by Rev. Fr. Sebastian James, SJ during the regular and essential sessions culminated the values of life emphasizing Competence, Conscience, and Compassionate Commitment made the trip absolutely meaningful. The aim of the Jesuit organisation of preparing “Persons for and with others” was achieved through these feedback sessions to a certain extent. The students spontaneously talked about life experiences and focused on moral values namely Honesty, Integrity, Uprightness and Kindness. The action-reflection-action circle enabled the holistic development of each and every group member. We, the students earnestly thank and will remain ever grateful to Fr. Principal for his valuable insights and for this iconic platform given to us.
Last but not the least the incessant guidance of Ms. Jing helped us sail through the journey and enabled us to reach to the shore withno difficulty what so ever. We are extremely glad and fortunate to have such eminent personalities like Ms. Jing and our Principal, Rev. Fr. Principal Sebastian James, SJ. In the company of Ms. Jing, we were like her children and she was like our ‘Mother’. The Educational trip to China was an amazing journey whose memories we shall cherish forever.
FOR GOD AND COUNTRY
VISIT OF CONSUL GENERAL MR. MA ZHANWU OF THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA TO ST.LAWRENCE HIGH SCHOOL
Mr. Ma Zhanwu, Consul General of the People's Republic of China in Kolkata, visited St. Lawrence High School for the second time to attend the opening ceremony as the chief guest for the 3rd students' exchange program with Yunnan Nationalities High School in China on 13 May 2016. Consul Zhang Jing and Consular Attache Chen Ankai accompanied him. Including the other dignitaries who graced the occasion were Fr. Jerome Francis, SJ, Fr. Sebastian James, SJ (Principal), Fr. Joseph Toppo (Vice Principal, Higher Secondary Section) and Fr. Markus Hembrom (Vice Principal, Primary Section), Ms. Moon Ray and Ms.Chaitali Roy (Co-ordinators of the Chinese Exchange Programme).
It is worthwhile mentioning the role played by Fr. Jerome Francis, SJ, who is also the initiator of the Chinese Exchange Programme and has played a key role in opening a new chapter of India-China relations, where both countries can share and exchange rich cultural heritage.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Ma emphasized that China and India both have ancient civilizations and have had friendly exchanges and learned from each other for thousands of years. He cited examples of Xuanzang and Tagore, who are icons of the enduring friendship between the two countries. Mr. Ma also said that with the help of these Exchange Programmes, the bilateral relations have entered a new era of rapid development. He commended the exchange programme with Yunnan Nationalities High School, as initiated by Principal Fr. Sebastian James, SJ of St. Lawrence High School, and said it has also contributed greatly to the bilateral relations between the two nations.
As the group of the 3rd students' exchange programme (Fr. Markus Hembrom, SJ, Ms.Moon Ray, Ms. Chaitali Roy and selected students) will soon depart for Kunming, China, Mr. Ma hoped that the students engage themselves into knowing more about the Chinese language, culture and society through this visit, so as to get themselves prepared for their future career as well as to contribute to China-India friendship.
Mr. Ma also keenly observed the cultural performances and the auspicious Chinese tea ceremony performed by the students of St. Lawrence High School. Mr. Ma in turn performed Taiji for the teachers, students and their parents with tremendous zeal and energy, and received a standing ovation from the audience.