When the school year started back in June 2016, teachers, staff, and students were all scrambling to make the best of a less than great situation. Construction on the ground floor of our new building hadn’t gone according to schedule and was far from being ready. There was no alternative but to find more space to create temporary classrooms and get on with it. The living room and a bedroom in the guest house were converted into tiny but usable spaces; boxes of supplies were unpacked, whiteboards and bulletin boards were hung, and books were distributed. Classes re-commenced on June 20.
Showing the grit and resilience that I truly admire about our school community, GPS managed for three months in those cramped quarters. Finally, in early September, the building was ready. We moved over a long weekend with help from students, parents, housekeeping staff, and teachers.
By mid October we were comfortably settled in our new home and held a wonderful Inauguration Ceremony to celebrate. Presentations of traditional and folk dances, yoga and karate displays, an art exhibit, and stirring performances by our choir were highlights of the day.
Since the Inauguration Ceremony in October, work has steadily progressed on the first and second floors as well as the canteen building, and a full perimeter wall. The prefabricated portable classroom we had been using previously as a classroom and resource room at the old campus, was dismantled and reassembled at our new home as the Music Studio and PT office. A playground donated almost a year earlier, was assembled. A flagpole and viewing stand for assemblies was installed. Many new routines and procedures were developed as well.
As this school year draws to a close, it gives me a great feeling of pride to reflect not only on the remarkable physical development and transformation of GPS, but more importantly, on how far the school has come in terms of fulfilling its vision. In thirteen classes from Lower Kindergarten to Grade Nine, three hundred disadvantaged children and youth have learned about themselves, their community, and the world beyond. From ancient civilizations to the solar system, logarithmic formulas to photosynthesis, atoms to elements, the school has brought ‘excellence in education to children who otherwise would not have the opportunity to progress and develop to their utmost ability’.
In addition to the teaching and learning that takes place in our classrooms, this year saw wonderful achievements by our school choir, track and field athletes, artists, quiz teams, and karate students. After school clubs including gardening, photography, bicycle repair, puzzles, electronics, and board games, met every Monday afternoon. Students in the Upper School presented a play. There were presentations at Monday Assembly by every class. The school held its first Career Information day and a Men’s Club of GPS fathers held its first meeting.
The school has become a source of pride and hope for our community. Recently, we were granted affiliation as a State Matriculation School by the government. By July the entire building will be completed. A great future lies ahead for us!
I would like to conclude by thanking the teachers and staff, who have worked so hard this year through some truly daunting challenges. I would like to thank the students and their families for their support and trust. Finally, I would like to thank the generous donors and volunteers without whom, none of this would be possible.