Monday, May 17, 2010

Russel de Valois scholarship update

John Lalnunmawia - recipient of the Russell de Valois scholarship

John has lived in Lunglei, a small district in the state of Mizoram, for most of his life. He grew up in an insular environment and was exposed to little outside his home where he lived with his sister and parents. Internet was unknown to him until two years ago. His mother is a doctor who has recently taken over the position of Chief Medical Officer Alika, John and K-8 Coordinator Brian Nelsen The facilities at the K to 8 campus in the district. His father is a pastor in their church. John has been deeply influenced by both his parents in different, but positive, ways. His mother taught him to work hard and excel in academics, while sitting for hours helping him with his notes. His father taught him the importance of good values and morals, while reading bed-time stories revolving around these issues to John and his sister.

Recognizing that John had potential and the willingness to work hard, and realizing that he needed exposure and interaction with the outside world, his parents decided to send him to a small public school in Madurai where he spent two and a half years. It was while in Madurai that he learnt about Kodaikanal International School and voiced his desire to study at KIS. His parents applied for admission with financial aid which was granted and John moved to KIS less than a year ago with the knowledge that his parents could afford only a couple of years at KIS. John joined KIS in July 2009 in Grade 8.

When asked what drove him to apply for the scholarship, he said: “I am thirsty for knowledge; I want to be in an environment that gives me the chance to think and write on my own, to be in a school where I can build my self-confidence. KIS gives me all of this. I do not want to leave now and I knew if I got this scholarship I would be able to stay.”

As a child, John was a bundle of mischief and loved reading mystery and detective fiction from where he developed his ideas. He also learned early to work hard with his hands. “Part of growing up in Mizoram is about doing the hard stuff both at home and in the community.” Digging, cleaning, gardening and even doing the laundry come easily to him. He wants to work at safeguarding the school environment and moving out into projects which serve the community. “ “My favorite project was to make notebooks from waste paper for the local orphanage. I would love to do this for small schools in Mizoram as well, where good quality paper is not easy to get.”
John is an avid reader and dreams of becoming a doctor working in remote areas where infections are rampant and medical help unavailable. However, in the meantime, his parents await his homecoming so that they can celebrate with the entire family an achievement they are all so proud of: John’s successful application for the Russell de Valois Scholarship.

For more information about this prestigious scholarship, go to:


As we come to the end of the academic year and the day of graduation dawns, we look back proudly at the achievements and learning of the first recipient of the Russell de Valois scholarship,
Neema Tshering

It was just a year ago, when Neema was awarded the Russell de Valois Scholarship. She was selected based on her outstanding academic achievements during her Grade 11 year, coupled with her commitment to the KIS Social Experience Program. Encouraged by this honor, soft spoken Neema won many accolades and is a highly respected leader. She is on the Principal’s List for her excellent academic performance; Vice President of the Kodai Athletic Club representing KIS in inter-school sports events, was President of STUDCO - the student body council where she was loved and revered, has been awarded the best student in English, the three sciences and Spanish, mastering the art of speaking Spanish with confidence.

“Neema is an all rounder and I have really enjoyed interacting with her, whether it was her involvement with the Social Experience Green Team or as an excellent Theory of Knowledge student. Her involvement with sports meant that she was often traveling outside Kodai with one school team or another. Yet her academic commitments were never compromised and her assignments always came to me ahead of time.” - Bryan Plymale, Neema’s TOK and Social Experience teacher.

“A true role model. That’s Neema.” - Mr Sither, Head of the PE department.
“As her class 12 adviser, I must say Neema gives top importance to academics, plans her time well and achieves her targets.” - Advisor, Pramod Trivedi

Neema would like to become a doctor and is hoping to go to medical school in the US, which is dependent upon receiving a scholarship. She has also applied to medical schools in India. Her experience with SoEx where her trips to remote areas, work in villages, orphanages and small schools had a huge impact on Neema. She dreams of becoming a medical professional and working in her home town where she feels she can make a difference.

We wish Neema all the very best as she moves on to pursue her dreams. KIS is deeply grateful to the Class of 1943 for supporting a student like Neema, who has lived by example and upheld the spirit of the scholarship.

Alika Khosla
Development Officer