Extracurricular activities have always been promoted amongst students by St. Andrews School. Students are often encouraged to join these activities as a way to find an outlet for self-expression, learn a new skill, be involved in the school’s repertoire of teams, develop a vocation and add to their lifelong learning. I got to know personally from two of our alumni that St. Andrews not only conducts a wide variety of co-curricular activities but they also ensure their students’ loyal participation.
You can take an Andrewite out of school but you cannot take the school out of an Andrewite. It has been a joy to speak to two ex-students, V. S. Grace and Sirisha Janampally. They have shared their memories of their time spent at the school, especially those carefree hours between three and four thirty when extracurricular activities were the happening thing to do.
Interviewer: Can you take me through a typical day practicing for a major school event?
Grace: We used to enjoy spending time with our classmates when practicing for events like the school play and, do you remember Lloyd, he was the Pied Piper in one of the plays.
Sirisha: Oh I remember Lloyd; he was in your class?! I was in the school band and also a member of the NCC with NCC practices every Saturday after school. I used to go off for ten days to the Gymkhana grounds for the NCC camp which taught me how to be independent.
Interviewer: When you were in school, how much time do you remember spending doing extracurricular activities?
Grace: I don’t remember how much time, but I do remember that we used to eagerly wait for the chance to stay back and take part in an activity just so that we could spend time with our friends.
Interviewer: What was your favourite activity to be involved in?
Grace: I remember winning the first prize in the Snowman Making Competition. I thoroughly enjoyed Art and Craft activities. The things I learned from these activities have stood the test of time as I am able to use the same skills in teaching pre-primary students right here at St. Andrews.
Sirisha: I would say my favourite was being part of the school band. It gave me more time to spend with my friends during class hours and we were always excited to learn new instruments.
Interviewer: Did your teachers encourage you to participate in extracurricular activities?
Grace: Mary D’Silva ma’am, who was our Vice Principal, encouraged me to take part in extracurricular activities. Shamita ma’am, the Principal of St. Andrews’ Bowenpally and Marredpally campuses, was also our English teacher at that time. Both she and K. Anuradha ma’am inspired me to speak and narrate plays on stage. This support has made me the person I am today, a courageous pre-primary teacher. Also, Gracy Rajan ma’am motivated me to participate in the Story Writing Competition and I won the first prize. My Class 2 teacher, Maria ma’am, taught me cursive handwriting for which I am appreciated even today. All my teachers at St. Andrews were sure to provide us with wisdom and discipline as well as encouragement for our creative abilities. They have had a lasting impact.
Sirisha: Gracy Rajan ma’am encouraged me too during my time in the school band.
Interviewer: Could you share your memories from one of your Sports Days?
Grace: We used to participate in many formations and drills, such as ‘Animal Drill’. It was a lot of fun as it involved moving to jungle themed music. At one event, the 2007 Military World Games, our then President and Chief Minister were the chief guests. We danced to the sounds of the Michael Jackson song ‘Heal the World’, during the event, and I got to wear a shimmering golden dress which I still have today. The rehearsals for this dance gave us many happy hours of being exempt from studies.
Interviewer: What skills/qualities/values did you gain from participating in extracurricular activities?
Grace: My teachers at St. Andrews have taught me to carry myself with dignity and speak with confidence. St. Andrews has also given me the discipline to manage my day-to-day routine.
Sirisha: We have also had a chance to develop our leadership qualities by being chosen as United Students Organisation officers several times during our school days. We now know how to manage a group, inculcate discipline in a large number of students, maintain cleanliness of our surroundings, and manage the punctuality and dressing standards of multiple students.
Interviewer: If you had a chance to relive your last year in school, which extracurricular club would be involved in and why?
Grace: I would join the Literary Club and narrate plays again because in our day there were no clubs or organizations to join.
Sirisha: I would go back to the school band and become their captain. I would love to give the special signal to my band mates when starting, changing or stopping the formations.
While reliving the past might not be an option, Sirisha and Grace have the opportunity to work at their alma mater and continue their association with the school. In fact, Grace has even enrolled her daughter at St. Andrews and says that every time she dresses her daughter for school she is reminded of the good old days. Both Grace and Sirisha cherish the moments they spent with school friends especially during the fruitful hours exploring St. Andrews’ range of co-curricular activities.
Like their counterparts in the top CBSE, ICSE and International schools in Hyderabad and Bangalore, the students of St. Andrews get to experience stimulating and competitive extracurricular activities that are designed to expand their horizons. The clubs and organizations offered at St. Andrews include – the Literary Club, the Quiz Club, the School Band, the School Choir, National Cadet Corps (NCC), Youth for Service (YFS) and the Student Council. The depth and range of our co-curricular activities allow our students to develop outstanding skills that stay with them throughout their lives.