St. Therese’s School Padrauna is the synonym for an ideal school family that shines like a jewel in the educational sector of the Catholic Diocese of Gorakhpur. The school is the answer to the farsighted dream of every visionary parent in and around Kushinagar forimparting quality education to their children
His Holiness, Pope Paul VI in 1965, articulated the importance of schools in the Declaration on Christian Education, GravissimumEducationis. The document specifies, “A school is designed not only to develop with special care the intellectual faculties but also to form the ability to judge rightly, to hand on the cultural legacy of previous generations, to foster a sense of values, to prepare for professional life.” The teachers become foster-parents in nurturing the lives of the children placed under their care. “Beautiful indeed and of great importance is the vocation of all those who aid parents in fulfilling their duties and who, as representatives of the human community, undertake the task of education in schools” (GravissimumEducationis).
Rt. Rev. Dr. Dominic Kokkat, the first Bishop of Gorakhpur, founded St. Therese’s School Padruna. Guided by the heavenly patronage of St.Therese’s of Lisieux and the earthly patronage of Rt. Rev. Dr. Thomas Thuruthimattom, the Bishop of Gorakhpur, the school continues to remain faithful to its motto,
‘TO KNOW, TO LOVE, TO SERVE.’
John Dewey, the American philosopher and educational reformer believed that “educationis a process of living and not a preparation for future living.”Life in the 21stcentury makes demands on people to assume the role of multifaceted personalities. Typically, a person wears many hats - son/daughter, parent, citizen, leader, innovator, entrepreneur, educator, scientist, and visionary. One needs to apply one’s knowledge and skills effectively to steer through rapidly changing situations. Recognizing this need, business,political, and educational leaders are increasingly asking schools to teach students the competencies they need to navigate a changing world-skill such as problem-solving, critical thinking, and collaboration. Young Theresians are encouraged to inculcate such skills, often referred to as “21st Century skills”, “soft skills,” or “deeper learning”.
Teachers at St.Therese’s know that reluctant students quietly come to recognize that‘I don’t know’ is the Rosetta stone of work avoidance. Our teachers are prepared for thisgreat challenge and believe in ‘no opt-out policy.’ Everybody learns in a high performing classroom,and expectations are high even for students who do not have high expectations forthemselves.
What single factor best predicts the quality of thesurgeon one may select? It is not his/her reputation, northe place where he/she went to medical school, not even how smart he/she is. The best predictor is how many surgeries the surgeon has doneof the type one intends toundergo. It is muscle memory. It is repetition. This criterion applies to the faculty members of this premier educational institution of Kushinagar District. They have inspired and supported thousands of God-fearing citizens, hundreds of doctors, educators, and engineers, dozens ofJudicialand Indian civil servants for the nation and the world.
Educators at St. Therese’s believe that success, in the long run, is about a student’s consistent relationship with productive behaviours. Young Teachers trained in emotional constancy tread cautiously around much of the language that senior teachers use as a habit, thinking carefully about what they imply the goal of student decision to be. Emotionally constant teachers of our school earn the students’ trust by having them know he/she is always under control. The affect he/she requires is productive/respectful and orderly and his goal when emotions run out is to deescalate.
At the principal’s office, we give a balanced combination and proportion of warmth by being positive, enthusiastic, caring and thoughtful, and strict by being clear, consistent, firm, and unrelenting, which help students internalize apparent contradictions and overcome what Jim Collins rightly called in his seminal book “Built to Last” the tyranny of the ‘or.’It reminds the students that many of the either-or choices in their lives are false constructs: “ I can be trendy and successful; I can have fun and work hard; I can be happy and say no to self-indulgence.”
As the principal of St.Therese’s, I feelhappy and contented. I am impressed by the dedication and competence of the teachers and other staff. Education is broader than just what happens in the classroom, and learning is a lifelong process for everyone. Nevertheless, the formalities of curriculum development and enhancement of skills in all aspects need constant revitalization. I find that very much in evidence at St.Therese’s. We have been working together as a family, sharing our joys and sorrows. We shall continue to live by our convictions as we brace ourselves to face the inevitable challenges along the way.
We are proud of our school. We appreciate the families of Kushinagar for choosing our school. We acknowledge with gratitude all of those who have contributed to our history. We look forward with optimism to the future. Today our school is a place of discovery as it strives to educate and nurture the thinkers and leaders of tomorrow.
We shallmarch oninspired and encouraged by the words of Mahatma Gandhi, The Father of our Nation, who said, “ If we want to reach real peace in this world, we should start educating children.” May we, the torchbearers of imparting education, take solace from the words of Pope Francis, The Vicar of Christ, “Teaching is a beautiful job; as it allows you to see the growth day by day of people entrusted to your care. It is a little like being parents, at least spiritually. It is a great responsibility.”
God Bless you!
Fr. Joseph Kottukapally