As we approach the end of 2016, we find ourselves taking a big breath, and reflecting on the year behind us and the goals we have ahead.
This year was particularly momentous for Village Community Schools. We have so much to celebrate. And so much to be grateful for.
As we shared in September, we finally – after many hurdles – opened the doors to a remarkable new building that will carry us into the future. The students and staff are thriving with a new energy that is indescribable. Seeing the school recently with my own eyes was truly one of the most awe-inspiring moments of my life. I wish you could all be there to see what we have built together.
But this year we want to leave you with an even more important message: what we have achieved inside those walls, and in the community around us, is even more significant.
What we are doing is working. Our students, who are 100% first generation English learners, speak English at a level competitive with some of the best schools in India. This year, Varshini, a Grade 8 student, placed third overall in the national Indian Talent Exams in English. Sri Hari, a Grade 7 student, placed 19th overall in Science. Our students are learning to think critically; they think about themselves as contributing members of society, with ambitious goals and big dreams. In many cases, our students will become the first members of their family to secure full-time employment and truly participate in India’s growing economy.
As part of a balanced, well-rounded education, we offer our students a range of co-curricular activities such as classical and folk dance, art, karate, yoga, sports, and music. Under the direction of our choirmaster, our 50-voice choir auditioned for a position in the prestigious Aachi Sing the Season choir competition being held in Chennai – and were accepted! For almost the entire choir, this will be the very first out-of-town overnight experience in their lives, and they are thrilled!
Importantly, our focus on the health of our students and their families has always been a top priority from the day we began. This year, we vaccinated 291 students, conducted annual physical exams (included dentistry), and provided de-worming, vitamin supplementation, growth monitoring, personal hygiene and sexual education, and screening for anemia, which has shown a marked improvement. The health and nourishment of our students, and their knowledge and awareness in this area, has improved significantly from when we first opened our doors.
And, we’ve continued our fantastic volunteer program which benefits the school immensely, including running our first full-day camp in May, which provides our students with valuable programing around team-building, leadership, and critical thinking – along with some fun!
What is next for Village Community Schools? Looking ahead, there is so much to be hopeful and optimistic about. We now have double cohorts up to Grade 2; curriculum from Grade 6 to 8 that will prepare the students for the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education; and our Grade 9 and 10 streams follow specialized areas in either math and science, or commerce and environmental studies. This is a tribute to our excellent calibre of teachers and their ongoing professional development and growth, under the leadership of our wonderful principal, Jim Brickell. Importantly, we are making connections in the community and abroad that will help our students succeed as they prepare to graduate our school. And, we’ll soon have the second phase of our building underway – the second floor and canteen – which we hope to finish by June. Much more to come – you can read more throughout the year here on our blog.
Thank you. For supporting us each year, for championing the success of the school, and for making a true, tangible difference.
Theresa and the Village Community Schools Board
We are so pleased to announce that we can now provide donation receipts for US donors through Charities Aid Foundation of America (CAF America).
Did you know? You can designate your United Way donation to Village Community Schools!
Simply fill out our name and Charitable Registration Number on the form: 845073410RR0001.