5 December 2016

From the Director's Desk

Learning from Others
This weekend saw us host an inspiring initiative at Pathways School Noida.

The Swatchability run with 2,500 participants was held to mark the Day of Disability. Led by the iconic Major DP Singh, India’s first blade runner the event underlined the lesson that almost every handicap can be surmounted with a strong spirit and determination. Many participants were amputees with prosthetic limbs or in wheelchairs and their zest for life was a wonderful lesson for our students and parents who participated.

A couple of weeks ago we were delighted to host the celebrated nutritionist Rujuta Diwekar who spoke on healthy eating, breaking many myths and emphaszing the importance of natural and local food. Despite school being closed due to high pollution the event saw a packed room of parents, staff and students.

And finally primary school teachers were the audience for the celebrated theatre director and writer, Feisal Alkazi who spoke to us about Rabindranath Tagore on who he has written a book for teachers, leading an experiential writing session to convey his thoughts and inspiration.

Sharing and Giving
It is great to see the community spirit which characterises Pathways School Noida in the buzz of activity around the Christmas Carnival. All the food is home cooked and all parents are invited, so I do hope to see you there. Students across the school are planning games stalls as fund raisers. The proceeds of the carnival go to three charities chosen by the students of the Interact club. Students decided they will work to raise funds for the orphanage  Sai Bal Sansar, for Cansupport (many children have family members with Cancer and feel an emotive bond) and for SPCA (which this group of students feel strongly about).  The amount they hope to raise is 2.5 to 3 lacs. However the main thrust of the event remains community building – and the generosity both of spirit and financial is an amazing characteristic of our parent community.

On Friday 16th we have our annual Day of Sharing which focuses on the contributions and talents of the support staff.  There is a talent show of support staff members with our children as audience. This is designed to create a connection between students and these vital members of our school community. The show is followed by a langar lunch which is served by students of the senior school and is eaten together.

Making a Mark
We are proud of the successes of a number of our students and I would like to congratulate:

Shubhi Raghav of Grade 11 for her published poetry anthology  'The Golden Despair'

Kavya Gandhi of Grade 11 for entering the Badminton Nationals

Three middle school students – Vanshika Goel, Prachi Sharma, Samarth Modi who participated in the final round of the World Scholars Cup in Yale.  They won a silver medal in the debate, competing against 700 teams from around the world. Vanshika also won an individual gold and a silver medal for being in the top 200 scholars.

Our students will be participating in the CIS 4th Annual Interschool Golf Tournament, to Canadian International School 

Sharing Student Learning
Across the school in different ways students are sharing their learning progress and goals with parents. The Student Led conferences involve reflection, careful planning and some tension. It is always surprising to see how nervous students are as they plan what to share with their parents. The learning process is invaluable because the most effective way of students improving is when they identify their own areas of development – more effective than being told what to do by adults.

In contrast there is pride and excitement in our youngest students from Pre Nursery to Grade 1 who have Class Showcase events where they sing, recite or present their learning to parents.

Student Council
Ten days of lead up, campaigning, posters, speeches and politicking culminated in the secondary school student council elections.

Between the elected and the nominated positions, I am happy to report that we have a very good council in place who will I am sure, take up the baton of leadership. It is an important feature of the culture of Pathways to encourage student leadership and voice and the year ahead promises to be interesting.         

New Student Council 17-18
President Anya Lauria

And finally….
All good wishes to all of you for the festive season.  I hope you have a happy and safe family time together. We look forward to seeing all our students back in school on 12th January.  Please note that presence on this day is an expectation of all children. If for an exceptional and unavoidable reason your child will not be in school on that day, leave must be applied for in advance, from the Principal.

    As always, for the month of January, school will begin at 9.30 am.

Dr. Shalini Advani
School Director

From the Middle School Principal, Mrs. Sunanda Sandhir

The first semester of the school year is always interspersed with quite a few activities including Founder’s day. The semester appears to come to an end quickly as if time has been telescoped. One benefit it has for the students being involved in various activities is that it allows them to explore various interests that they might have. At the same time the pace in the classroom is also very quick, so it becomes essential to encourage the children to stay on top of their assignments and responsibilities so they don’t lag behind. Another great outcome of all this therefore is that the students learn to manage time by prioritizing! This learning comes in handy as one moves ahead in life.

Communication is an essential 21st century skills. Students are
always encouraged to build and better it. An inter-house debate on 'The right to free speech is the foundation of all society.’  showcased student’s oratory skills and arguments.  It was an interesting and impressive debate.

As a part of history unit, an intersection panel discussion was also organised where student’s shared their views on the importance of peace organisations and the role of Super nations in creating the UNO in bringing about peace in the world and resolving conflict.

Model UN is a motivational experience for the students. It’s fun to pretend being a world leader solving the world’s most important problems in 48 hours or less.
Model UN activates students’ imagination and creativity – activities that students are naturally inclined to do. Keeping this in mind the students are given opportunities to participate in Model UN .Ten of our students went to Oakridge Hyderabad to  participate in MUN and won accolades for their ideas .We also organised an inter-school Middle School MUN at Pathways .In February ,the students will be participating in MUN at Overseas Family School at Singapore World Scholar Cup is another event where our three students team participated in the final round at Yale University .This competition brings together many subjects, because before the students can begin to specialize, they need to see the big picture. It challenges teams to work together and deals with serious global issues.
Three students Vanshika Goel, Prachi Sharma and Samarth Modi won  the silver medal in the debate  and were placed in  the top 100 schools out of 700 teams that participated. Vanshika Goel of Grade 9 also won a gold medal for the debate in individual category and a silver medal for being in the top 200 scholars.

The students also participated enthusiastically in the inter-section Poetry competition on the theme of “Relationships”. The responses were diverse both in terms of content and style. They were able to engage deeply with the theme creating poetry that was rhythmic, expressive and captivating. It was indeed a difficult task for the senior school teachers to decide the final winners. Some of these poems will be published in the yearly school publications.

Student-led conference (SLC) empowers students and helps them to lead their own learning. It puts them in the centre. The conference for grade 9 was held where the students evaluated and shared their progress with their parents .They then set goals for themselves .Grade 6 to 8 students will be also sharing their strengths and areas they need to develop during student-led conference which will be held on 10th December. This is an essential activity for student development and parents are therefore encouraged to attend.

It is motivating and satisfying to see combined efforts of staff, students having positive outcome. We will continue with our efforts to provide our students with an enriching environment which facilitates their learning and equipping them with right skills to take on challenges thrown at them as they move ahead in life.

New Student Council

Positions Students
President Anya Lauria

Vice-President Chahana Baansal

Sports Captain Boys Shivesh Luthra

Sports Captain Girls Zahra Ali Khan

House Captain- Air Arjun Anand

House Captain- Earth Manav Khurana

House Captain- Fire Tanishq Mathur

House Captain- Water Mantika Singh

Vice-Sports Captain Boys Sahil Kumar

Vice-Sports Captain Girls Vanshika Goel

Vice-House Captain- Air Arav Narang

Vice-House Captain- Earth Udit Methi

Vice-House Captain- Fire Kris Nagdev

Vice- House Captain- Water Gaurang Lamba

Technology Coordinator Aryaman Dewan
Utkarsh Gupta

Magazine Editor Rishina Tyagi
Shubhi Raghav

Cultural Secretary Mehek Diwan
Srijan Mehrotra

Vice-Cultural Secretary Nishtha Rampuria
Snigdha Khurana

Environment Secretary
Vice Environment secretary
Anjali Gupta
Prachi Sharma

Reflections of the New Student Council President, Anya Lauria

The election process always starts with a flurry of words. Whispered rumors about who's standing for what, friendly banter asking for votes. You're nervous, excited, mostly terrified. You get to know the school in a way you haven't before, which has both its pros and cons. On one hand- new friends, support from people you never even knew before, little kids hugging you and announcing that you "deserve it". On the other hand, you might have to say goodbye to a few friendships. The worst part is asking yourself the question: "Am I worthy?".

To put yourself out there is scary. For many, we haven't faced rejection yet and - though this really isn't, when you fill out your application, you think- dealing with the possible rejection by the student body is something you're not sure you're ready for.

6 years ago I would never have imagined (except for the occasional daydream) that I would be in this position. A little bit because I doubted myself, and a little bit because I wasn't even sure if I wanted this. Do you have what it takes, to please the masses, to conduct an institute, to charm even those who stand against you? At the end of this experience, I learned- you don't have to be that girl who always knows what's next, who knows just how to walk and how to talk. You have to know why you're doing this and you have to believe in yourself.

It's not about being charismatic, it's not about creating aesthetically pleasing posters, and it's not about writing a witty speech. It's about challenging yourself, about being genuine, and about staying true to your word.

It doesn't end there. It doesn't end on Election Day, especially if you win. After the tantalising build up, the moment your name is announced is almost, funnily enough, anti-climactic.

Wait, hold on, no one told me what I'm supposed to do now?

Then it's a whole new journey, but it's a journey you can't wait for.

World Scholars’ Cup by Vanshika Goel- 9A Prachi Sharma-9B Samarth Modi- 8B

The Tournament of Champions, is an extension of the World
Scholars’ cup, for the select teams that achieved the required score (in the global round in Bangkok). Around 700 scholars form 40 countries were selected, and our team from Pathways was to be one of them.

There were 4 events in all. The challenge was the first event to take place, this required each one of us to answer 120 questions in 60 minutes. The questions were based on subjects like-Music, Art, Literature, Social Sciences and Special Area. The theme for this year’s event was “An Imperfect World”.

The next event debate, was one of the team events, and played a crucial role in our scores as a team, and individually. The event was comprised of 3 debates, with other teams from around the world, in Yale’s Rosenkranz hall. One of the topics we debated on was, “Teachers should follow the principles of wabi sabi. In the debate event, we secured a total of four medals, a silver was received by each of us, for our team debate, and a gold medal was won by Vanshika for debating.
The other events were collaborative writing and scholar’s bowl, each quite competitive and tough.

Since the event was held at Yale University, we were taken around the campus by Yale students, attended a lecture by a Yale professor, a keynote address by a professor from Stanford on Genome Engineering and spent most of our time there. We also went on a day trip to Boston, where we visited and took tours of Ivy League Yale’s infamous “rival” school, Harvard, along with MIT! The trip was cold, but inspirational, where each and every scholar was able to picture themselves in the halls of one of these brilliant universities. On the last day, we went to New York a few hours before our flight, and were able to walk around Times Square, before it was time to head back to India… and warmer weather.

It was amazing interacting with students and teachers from around the world. Our 5 days at Yale, reminded us of just how big our world is, and just how much we can do to positively change it.

Grade 6 Session on Understanding Stem Cells with Doctor Paramjit Dhot by Aanya Sharma Grade 6

In MYP science we are currently inquiring on cells and its
application to real – life.  During the course of our inquiry we encountered stem cell which has become our research topic and how stem cells can be used to cure various diseases. To get the first-hand information which is our primary resource we had a special session with Doctor Paramjit Dhot who serves as a Medical Director of Life Cell International Private Limited. Dr. Dhot is an eminent and renowned Pathologist, Haematologist and Transfusion Medicine Specialist with over 10 years of executive experience. Dr. Dhot also played a prominent role in setting up India’s first Haematopoietic Stem Cell Bank. He specializes in stem cell therapy, blood banking and transfusion medicine and bone marrow transplantation

The topic of the session was Stem Cells and its application.

We were taken through an interactive presentation on stem cells-what is a stem cell, collection of cord blood, storage of stem cell. It came as a big surprise when Dr. Dhot brought out real blood and plasma to show us!

Dr. Dhot told us that the two most important things when preserving stem cells were: the chemical mixed into the plasma is called Dimethyl Sulphoxide (or DMSO for short), and that they cool the stem cells in Liquid Nitrogen until they are -196°C cold. Sounds very scientific and complicated isn’t it? That’s just a bit of the science of it all and it was something we all loved and found so interesting.

This interaction was very helpful and all of us Sixth Graders understood so much more than what a textbook alone could share. I, personally, think that this was a very interesting session, and I would like to thank all the teachers who arranged it and to Doctor Paramjit Dhot for taking time out of his busy schedule to share his learning with us.

Lord Jeffrey Archer’s Book Launch by Rishina Tyagi Gr 11

“He is the only author ever to have been a number one bestseller in fiction eighteen times, four times for short stories and even in non-fiction.” This was the impressive introduction we were given for the renowned writer Jeffrey Archer, whose book launch we attended this week at Sri Ram School, Aravali. We had all come prepared with our research, read up all about his life, his works and his accomplishments; we thought we were prepared for what was to come.

When he walked on stage, he was greeted by the thunderous applause of all the awed students in the audience, and much like them, I couldn’t wait to hear what he would say. Imagine our surprise when his first words were, “India is going to lose the match”. His easygoing nature and casual but passionate tone shattered the British stereotype of formal and lofty behaviour we expected, considering his title of ‘Lord’.

In his speech he talked about his life, how writing had helped him after his financial crisis and how the women in his life, “[his] mother, wife and the former Prime Minister of UK, Margaret Thatcher”, have impacted his life. When asked questions by the students in the audience he elaborated on his style, his relation and inspiration for some characters and other very important things, like who was his favourite character in all of his books!

In the end, he gave a word of caution to all the aspiring writers in the audience, “Only one in a million can become a Sachin Tendulkar, Anil Kumble, Rahul Dravid or Virat Kohli. For every thousand writers, only one book gets published. Hard work and dedication is the key, regardless of talent and age.”

Guest Lecture by famous Nutritionist, Ms.Rujuta Diwekar at Pathways Noida by Ayona Sengupta Gr 12

On the 7th of November, 2016, numerous members of the faculty and student body attended a talk given by the famous nutritionist, Rujuta Diwekar, made famous by stars like Kareena Kapur, Shah Rukh Khan etc. This talk reached out specifically to parents of school-going children, urging them to rethink their choices, both in terms of nutrition and lifestyle. Ms. Diwekar talked of multiple activities that could replace the ones we resort to every day, in an effort to encourage a healthier lifestyle.

The most engaging segment of her talk was perhaps when she threw questions out to the audience, making us question the nutrition we had been resorting to for years. She broke numerous misconceptions that we had about the kind of food children should be eating. Her opening statement immediately took us aback as she declared that parents need not force their children to drink milk. She talked of how the old age adage about milk’s magical properties no longer rings as true as we’ve discovered other sources of calcium. This surprised several parents in the audience and sparked a flurry of queries. Other sections of her talk included tips such as avoiding drinks with high fructose corn syrup and remaining aware of a child’s strength to weight ratio.

As a student, I found her talk enlightening, though her material was aimed at parents. I gained a deeper understanding of the implications of the nutritional choices we make on a daily basis and also developed an appreciation for how ultimately simple yet worthwhile a healthy lifestyle can be.

Children's day Celebration by Ms. Pallavi Dhody and Ms. Pallavi Kukreti

Children have always been the reason for our smiles.  Children’s day was celebrated with much pomp and show at Pathways, Noida.
In Primary school Teachers enthusiastically organized a special assembly for students of Toddlers to Grade 5. Teachers celebrated the day in true spirits with a variety of performances and left no stones unturned to entertain children. The assembly commenced with the soulful song ‘We are the world’, reminding students that they are the future citizens who will be making informed choices to work towards a brighter world. Few teachers sang for them while others danced to the latest Bollywood songs. A thrilling performance by the dance teachers left the students mesmerized.

A surprise party awaited the pre-primary students after the assembly. The little ones enjoyed yummy goodies, enthusiastically danced to their favorite songs and were eagerly playing few games with their teachers. The celebrations made students feel special and reminded that they have people around them to care and nurture them.

In the secondary school too, Children's day was celebrated amidst much fanfare. The day began with Form tutors arranging class parties to the delight of their group. The teachers put up an exhilarating show to engage the students, to share a message of love and encouragement, and to inspire them to explore new possibilities. From dance performances to
skits around classroom scenarios to an acapella rendition, the students thoroughly enjoyed their teachers performing for them, and made for an enthusiastic audience. It proved to be a great learning experience for the teachers as well, many of whom stepped out of their comfort zones to perform on stage, so they could show the children how special, how valued they truly are.

The Open House at Shiv Nadar University by Stephen Abraham Grade 12

The Open House at Shiv Nadar University, was a unique experience not just being the first of the kind for many of us in grade 12, but it was an Open House wherein students got to meet with other students to discuss and learnt he brilliant opportunities that exist not outside the walls of our country, but rather lie in the heart of country. From open discussions to career speeches eloquently spoken by the esteemed professors, to interactive quiz sessions and innovative hands-on experiments in the technologized labs of the university:
we understood that the possibilities for an individual to grow at a university is almost a multitude. I know many of us have dreams that pertain to foreign lands and new territories, however discoveries aren’t limited to risk only but are rather discovered where one is comfortable at home. To me, that is a very important quality to be found; one which resonated with the atmosphere of the Shiv Nadar University.