Tuesday, July 28, 2009

News from the Alumni office

We’ve just concluded our summer holidays. School has resumed..... another school year, another beginning, another calendar filled with the various activities and events that make KIS so special! I had a wonderful vacation … right here in Kodai! Our two big trips included a drive up Cloudland's Peak to spend the evening there under the stars at the side of the cliff, and an explore drive down the Addukum Ghat, stopping for lunch at Sapeeti and then driving back up Laws Ghat! It was a very restful vacation. Kodai was emptied of tourists, the cloud cover didn’t produce much rain (though, now we’re paying a high price for that), the weather was cool and we were able to avoid the hustle and bustle, crowds and heat of the plains where the temperatures soared to unbelievable levels! A few alumni visited and it was wonderful to see them … some after quite a few years.

Prior to the start of any semester, especially a new school year, a lot of preparation must be done and this summer was no exception. The Human Resources department was busily preparing staff housing for the incoming staff, as well as getting many staff homes ready for the numerous shifts that took place since school closed in May! Aruna was one step ahead of each move and has done a great job. The staff of the Maintenance department were never in the office - they were running from pillar to post and back again! The tasks on their “to do” list were never ending and the finishing touches are still going on at the Ganga campus in the dining hall area. So, although the campus was deserted for the most part, quiet and spacious, there were signs of activity. As the start date approached, working hours stretched longer for not only the managers, but also the operational staff. Their hard work is greatly appreciated.

After the dread of the first meeting, the change of timings and expectations, the rewards of starting up again were evident: meeting new people, reuniting with old friends, school provided lunches, colleagues on the job and also the stimulation of new projects and upcoming events. It is good to be underway again. Already routines have been established. The adding and dropping of subjects is coming to a close for returning students and this will lend to less disruption as individual schedules are changed. Spaces are being filled on the Ganga campus in the new classrooms. The Highclerc campus seems so much more spacious now it houses only grades 9 to 12. The Quad was outfitted with new grey colored lockers - project areas were cleaned, swept, painted and readied for the new student orientation.

The “Middle School” is no longer referred to as MS (except when an old timer slips) - it is now the Arts Block where English, RE, ESL, Home Economics, Journalism, Digital Photography and Art art classes are held. The “Elementary School” can no longer be termed ES as it now includes grades 7 and 8. The impact of shifting grades 7 and 8 to the Ganga campus has affected lots of areas, right down to the intercom list! It will take us all some time to get used to the changes. Some spots, people and routines have remained the same, others have had to change.

Already this semester (not yet ten days old), we have held another successful New Student Orientation for 163 students and their individual entourages, opening day with music played by a staff band enticed us to the covered courts for the opening assembly, staff volleyball has resumed, hike signups are posted in the staff lounge and in Ms Devi’s office, textbooks have been checked out, groups like the Ultimate Frisbee club are forming, formerly bewildered new students look very much at ease in the dining hall and around campus and the students got their first homework assignments on the very first day of classes!

On top of all of these “normal” start up activities, one of the candidates for the new KIS Principal position visited KIS last weekend. Three more candidates will be visiting Kodai next week, followed by formal interviews with the KIS Council of Directors in Chennai. As you can imagine, the KIS community is eager to learn who the new principal will be. Our prayers and thoughts are with those making the decision.

As I look to the year ahead, I’m excited about the great potential amongst our alumni, eager to start new initiatives and new chapters, hoping to hear from you with your thoughts and advice on how best to proceed, speculating whether visits by KIS staff accomplish the goals of the school while updating alumni on initiatives happening in Kodai and whether more visits are welcome, wondering who the next visitor might be rejoicing that I have the best job in the world! I hope our paths cross in the near future … in person, by email, via a telephone call … but preferably not by Facebook - I’m still scared to death of it!

Till next time,
Julie Nichol Stengele (Class of 1980), Alumni Officer
KISAA website / directory: http://alumni.kis.in