SPA Barkur-Mumbai's Generous Gift Brings Smiles to Maryknoll School Students

-Report and photographs  Mrs. Saritha Quadras – MHPS, Barkur.

BARKUR, KARNATAKA - In a heartwarming display of generosity and community solidarity, the St. Peters Association Barkur - Mumbai (SPA Barkur-Mumbai) once again extended its benevolent support to the students of Maryknoll Higher Primary School, Hosala Barkur. On Saturday, June 15, 2024, the school witnessed a joyous occasion as new uniforms and notebooks were distributed to the students from Class I to VII, courtesy of the esteemed association.

The event commenced at 10:00 a.m. sharp, with the arrival of Rev. Fr. Ronald Miranda, the School Correspondent, accompanied by members of the management team led by Mr. Josie Fernandes, the Vice President of the Parish Pastoral Council, and representatives from SPA Barkur-Mumbai, including old students of the institution. They were warmly welcomed by Mrs. Joyce Vandan D'Sa, the Head Mistress, and escorted to the beautifully decorated Maryknoll Hall.

SPA Barkur-Mumbai has consistently prioritized the needs and requirements of Maryknoll Higher Primary School, recognizing the institution's pivotal role in shaping the lives of countless students over the years. With many of its members having studied at this alma mater in their native Barkur, the association remains deeply connected to the school, driven by the belief that "whatever little done to the least in society is done to God himself."

Maryknoll School, renowned for its quality and value-based basic and primary education, has been catering to the educational needs of lower and middle-class families in Barkur for an impressive 84 years, spanning from 1940 to 2024. Despite the changing landscape and general downtrend in demand for Kannada medium schools, Maryknoll has weathered the challenges, thanks to the unwavering efforts of its Correspondent, Rev. Fr. Ronald Miranda, the management team, SPA, old students, and the parents' community. Together, they have ensured that the school continues to provide excellent physical facilities, a conducive learning atmosphere, and a team of well-qualified teachers.

As part of SPA's perennial support, the association sponsored the entire cost of new uniforms for all the students, covering both the material and stitching charges for the academic year 2024-2025. The distribution ceremony witnessed the presence of SPA's local representatives, including Mr. P. Archibald Furtado, the founder Secretary of SPA (established in 1988), Mr. Ivan Suares, a former office bearer and renowned philanthropist, Mr. Ralph Monteiro, an old student and well-wisher, and Mr. Joakim Mendonca, one of the founder members of SPCYA and SPA. The President of the PTA, Mr. Rama Poojary, and the Secretary, Mrs. Meenakshi, also joined in the joyous celebration.

The program commenced with an invocation by Class VII students, seeking the grace of the Almighty Lord and the Patroness Mother Mary. Head Mistress Mrs. Joyce Vandan D'Sa warmly welcomed Rev. Fr. Ronald Miranda and the distinguished dignitaries, setting the stage for a truly thrilled moment as the children received packets of new uniforms and books from the esteemed guests on the dais.

As a token of gratitude and reverence, the Head Mistress and teachers arranged a flex display showcasing the list of various donors and contributors for the academic year 2024-2025, which was unveiled by Rev. Fr. Ronald Miranda.

Mr. Ivan Suares conveyed compliments to the recipients on behalf of SPA President Mr. Boniface Sequeira and the association's members, assuring their continued support for the betterment of this great educational institution. In recognition of their unwavering commitment, the Correspondent, Fr. Miranda, honored Mr. Ivan Suares and Mr. Ralph Montero by draping them with traditional shawls and presenting fresh roses.

Mr. Archibald Furtado, speaking on behalf of the SPA President and office bearers, expressed his satisfaction in returning to his alma mater, which had taught him and his colleagues the fundamentals of education, morals, and discipline. He assured the school of SPA's continued cooperation and support for its needs. Wearing the dual hat of Secretary of the Old Students Association, Mr. Furtado suggested a few schemes for the improvement of the school, which caters to economically disadvantaged and middle-class families in Barkur, financed by generous past students and other well-wishers.

The distribution of notebooks to students of various classes was facilitated by Mr. Joseph Fernandes, Mr. Ralph Monthiero, and Mrs. Meenakshi. Mr. Rama Poojary, the PTA President, shared nostalgic memories and informed the gathering that the old students of this 84-year-old school are shining in various walks of life across the globe. He expressed his gratitude to all donors, especially SPA, and extended his well-wishes to the students, their parents, the Head Mistress, and all the teachers who are dedicatedly serving the institution.

In his presidential address, Fr. Ronald Miranda congratulated the students of Maryknoll and acknowledged SPA's contribution over the years, including providing notebooks, uniforms, and honorariums for teachers. He expressed his anticipation of visiting Mumbai soon to meet all the Barkurians under the banner of SPA, which has played an instrumental role in unifying the community and keeping the Barkurian spirit alive while lending a solid supporting hand to the needs of their native place.

Fr. Miranda had special praise for Head Teacher Joyce Vandan D'Sa, the sole paid teacher by the government, and all the honorary teachers, who, despite receiving minimal remuneration from the management, offer their maximum as a cohesive team, imparting education with passion. He invoked the Almighty Lord's blessings upon their selfless services at Maryknoll.

The program concluded with Ms. Sangeeta, a teacher, proposing a vote of thanks to all attendees who contributed to the event's success. The entire program was meticulously compeered by teacher Ms. Dimple D'Souza, while Mrs. Reema Lobo and Mrs. Shyamala D'Souza organized the systematic arrangements for the children's participation.

Following the distribution of sweets to all present and the singing of the National Anthem, the heartwarming event came to a close, leaving behind a trail of smiles and gratitude for the generosity of SPA Barkur-Mumbai and the enduring spirit of community solidarity.

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